I just recently received a request in regards to how to get started as a book reviewer, and I remembered reading the below on a fellow book reviewer’s blog, the parchment girl, and think she does a great job! So check out the below and then let me know if you have any additional questions J
HOW TO GET REVIEW COPIES
My goal here is to outline the three primary methods of obtaining review copies and give all you bloggers out there a reference point that you can come back to. In the first part of this post I will focus specifically on getting review copies of books in the Christian market, then in the second part I will do the same for the secular market. The reason I separate the two is because Christian and larger mainstream publishers function a bit differently in their publicity practices, at least in my experience. Also, I know there are a lot of bloggers who have no interest in reviewing Christian books or vice versa.
Reviewer programs are an easy way for bloggers to get review copies without having to personally contact publicists or be under the pressure of a deadline. Bloggers simply sign up for the program, wait to be approved, and then request and review books on their own schedule. Reviewer programs seem to be especially popular among Christian publishers.
Bethany House Reviewers – Bloggers receive a list of available titles every so often via email. There is a link in the email for each book which allows reviewers to select which books they would like to review. Bloggers may request as many books from each email as they want. No giveaway copies are provided.
Blogging for Books – WaterBrook Multnomah’s reviewer program allows bloggers to request one book at a time. It is preferred that bloggers post their reviews within three months of requesting a book, but that deadline is not enforced. Bloggers cannot request a book until the review for the previous book has been posted. No giveaway copies are provided. There are incentives and prizes which reviewers can compete for with this program.
Booksneeze – Thomas Nelson’s blogger program allows reviewers to request one book at a time. There are no deadlines for reviews, but bloggers cannot request a book until the review for the previous book has been posted. No giveaway copies are provided.
NavPress Blogger Review Program – Bloggers may request one book at a time. Reviews are preferred within two months of requesting the book. No giveaway copies are provided.
Tyndale Blog Network – Bloggers may request one book at a time and there are no deadlines for reviews. No giveaway copies are provided.
Blog tours are usually run by publicity groups and involve many bloggers posting reviews of the same book within a certain set of dates to create buzz about a book. Reviewers sign up for the program, and then are able to choose whether or not they participate in individual tours.
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance – CFBA generally has a great selection of books on the calendar. Bloggers are not required to write a review of books they are touring for if they don’t want to, only post the standard CFBA book announcement.
Litfuse Publicity Group – Emails are sent out every time a new tour is available to sign up for.
Book bloggers can also contact publicists directly to ask for review copies. This is the method I most prefer because it gives me the opportunity to connect with publicists, the freedom to ask for additional giveaway copies, and control over the amount of time I have to read the book before it’s released and I have to post my review.
The first step to requesting a review copy directly from a publisher is figuring out which publicist to contact and how to contact him or her. Publishers like Thomas Nelson often include the email address of the publicist for a book next to its entry in their catalog. Zondervan puts out a newsletter–Linked to Lit–which announces upcoming releases and provides the contact information of the publicist working on each book. Others, like FaithWords, have the publicist’s contact information on their FAQ page. If you can’t find a contact email for the publicist of the book you want, try poking around the publisher’s website a little more. nine times out of ten it’s hiding there somewhere.
Some publishers also have forms which allow reviewers to request review copies without having to join a review program or personally contact a publicist. Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale, and Reformation Trust Publishing do this.
You can also request books from PR firms such as Glass Road Public Relations, The B&B Media Group, and C. Grant & Company.
Amazon Vine Program – Amazon Vine is a by-invitation-only review program where members receive review copies in exchange for an Amazon.com review. If you would like to be a part of this program, the best way to get invited is to write lots of great reviews on Amazon and hope that people vote for them as “helpful.”
Goodreads First Reads – Readers can pick from a huge selection of books, but there is a limited chance of actually obtaining an ARC because so many people request limited quantities of each book. Still, it’s worth a shot.
LibraryThing Early Reviewers – This is almost identical to Goodreads’ First Reads program. Huge selection of books, but limited chance of getting the one you want.
NetGalley – NetGalley allows members to download digital version of ARCs to read on a computer or e-reader.
Around the World ARC Tours – Around the World Tours specializes in YA literature.
Pump Up Your Book – Many of the authors toured by Pump Up Your Book are self-published, but there are some books that have been traditionally published.
TLC Book Tours – This is one of the best tour sites out there. Tons of bestsellers are toured every month.
Large publishing houses usually have many imprints, each with a different publicity contact. These contacts can usually be found on the parent publisher’s website. Below are a few of the contact lists for major publishers and their imprints.
§ Hachette (Imprints include Grand Central, Little Brown & Co., Orbit, FaithWords, and Center Street)
§ HarperCollins (Imprints include Amistad, Avon, HarperOne, HarperTeen, and William Morrow)
§ Penguin Group (Imprints include Alpha Books, Berkley, DK, Dutton, Gotham, Hudson Street, Plume, Riverhead, Sentinel, and Viking)
§ Random House (Imprints include Ballantine, Bantam, Crown, Doubleday, Knopf, Monacelli Press, Pantheon, Vintage Books, and Anchor Books)
§ Simon & Schuster (Imprints include Free Press, Howard Books, Scribner, Threshold Editions, and Touchstone)
Using a combination of the reviewer programs and tours listed here, and requesting books directly from publishers, you should be able to get a review copy of just about any recent or upcoming release you want.
If you know of any review programs or tour sites that are not included in this list, feel free to link to them in the comment section for others to see.