If you’re anything like us once you have finished a book that has left you with one heck of a major book hangover, you want to climb the tallest mountain and shout “OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!” Ok, maybe NOT climb the tallest mountain, more like drive to your local book store, tell a few strangers about the “must read” book that they need to buy or bore your non bookaholic friends into submission and tell them all about the incredible book you have just finished and once you’re done with that…… you tweet and Facebook the heck out of it and post your review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.
For us, we wanted to do more and take our reviews beyond those three main sites (Twitter, FB and Goodreads), we wanted to create a place where we could promote our love for books, give a shout out to talented authors and give other Bookaholic’s heads up on books that we have just read.
One of the most common questions that we hear from other bookaholics is, “How do I start reviewing books for authors?” and we rattle off a list of must haves:
You must have an insane love for books
Have a blog (or page on your blog) dedicated to book reviews
Have time to read as well as time to post a review
You must love books (I know I said that already)
NetGalley and Blogging for Books are just two sites (among many) that allow bloggers the chance to read and review books before they are published by approving an ARC (Authors Review Copy) and in return……you must write a review.
If you get denied an ARC don’t take it personally
Honestly, the first time I received an email that my request for an ARC was denied I took it personally. It seriously bummed me out so I spent the few days (and weeks) tweaking my blog. After awhile, I soon learned that there are several reasons why a request for an ARC could be denied. I soon found out that many authors or publishing companies only have a limited amount of copies to give so once they are gone there gone or your blog may not be up to par.
There are only two reasons I’ve ever denied a blogger an ARC. This first is rare. If I suspect some sort of indiscretion, like suspicion that the person feeds piracy sites, makes copies to give to their friends for free, or hordes books that they never review, I’ll say no. Authors are a tight knit community, so if something like that happens it gets around fast. The second reason is if I believe the book is a poor fit for the blogger. For example, if a blogger reviews mostly contemporary romance and their last several fantasy reviews were unfavorable, I’m probably not going to send them my fantasy book. ~ Author Genevieve Jack
More times than none, you will get approved for an ARC but word of warning, don’t take on more than you can chew….or in this case, read. I learned this the hard way….when I first joined NetGalley and saw all the books that were available I was in book heaven but it did become overwhelming…..soon I had 8 books on my shelf that needed to be read by a certain day…..and I found myself stretched beyond my limit, with work … family … and my desire to escape in all 8 books until they were completed was a bit tough, but I got it done.
Honesty is the best policy
Nine times out of ten you will love the book you have chosen to read or been asked to review, but then there are those rare occasions that you will be left disappointed because either you couldn’t get into the story, the plot was scattered or it was just not your cup of tea…..so then what?
You’re expected to write a review for the author or publishing company, you gave your word…… but you’re stuck. Honestly, I struggle with having to tell an author that I just couldn’t finish their book or I just didn’t enjoy it. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings ….. heck, it takes a lot to put out a book.
We have read some ruthless reviews, hurtful and unnecessary statements to the author about their book. Creative criticism is key but it doesn’t need to be filled with vile statements. So when we review a book that we couldn’t quite get into we focus on the good points, we keep it professional and send a brief review.
Readers aren’t going to enjoy every book that’s published. However, if a review is less than favorable, I personally don’t like it brought to my attention in any capacity. I had someone on my first blog tour way back when dislike my debut novella. She was gracious enough not to post the review until the end of my tour. As much as I was disappointed she didn’t enjoy the novella, it meant a great deal that she delayed the posting if only for a few days until my tour had finished. Life’s too short to surround myself with negativity. ~ Author Cecy Robson
You sign up, you show up
One of the best ways to promote a book that you have just read or one of your favorite authors is to take part in upcoming blog book tours, cover reveals, book promos or release parties that the author may be holding. This is also a way for you to establish yourself and your blog within the author community.
“What if my laptop breaks, I get sick or I have a family emergency ?”
Sure life happens and you are unable to take part in the tour on the day you signed up for. If you can, email the author or tour promoter. Believe me, they will understand…… they will not hold it against you.
Authors love bloggers who are genuinely excited about their work. Most of the time, they will never turn away someone who wants to be involved.
What you shouldn’t do is sign up and forget about it or promote another book for the same day that you had originally signed up for with author “A”. It doesn’t look good. I think I take it more personally then the author…..it’s the authors’ day or week to show off his/her work and they have counted on you to help.
“What if I didn’t finish the book and can’t meet my deadline?”
That’s easy. Contact the author or tour promoter. Ask if you can just post a promo or share an excerpt of the book and then post your review at a later time. It’s that simple.
My side of the closet may be a hot mess (ok it’s not that bad) but when it comes to my books, reviews and upcoming book tour events, I’m organized.
I make sure I never double book a review/cover reveal post.
When I start reading a book I have a notebook right beside me to keep track of characters, events, unexpected character deaths, plot twists, excerpts and my thoughts while reading it. I do this because once I finish the book, a couple of days may go by before I can get to the review or I know that in a month or two the big release for the book is coming out and being knowledgeable of the book helps.
Keep your blog organized as well. It’s always a good thing to preview your post before it goes out for all to see. Ask yourself these questions:
Does my page take forever to load? (Does it remind you of the day of dial up internet) if so, then your files are too large or you just have way too much on your page. When I come to a page like this, I don’t even bother to wait.
Is it too cluttered? Too much “stuff” takes away from what your overall goal is….which is to give the book that you just read the attention it deserves.
Again, PREVIEW YOUR POST. Do a quick spell check, sure no one is perfect but it only takes a minute. Remember the author and publishing company may read your review.
Trust me ….. being organized is the key.
Join a street team
No, I’m not talking about a gang ….. A “street team” is normally started by the author…. it’s a place where fans of the author can gather and gab about the recent book or upcoming book releases. It’s a bit more personal than the authors actual Facebook page.
Give credit where credit is due
Link the book that you are reviewing to the authors home page and include a link to their social media sites.
It also helps if you state where someone can purchase the book with links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble attached.
I also like to include an “About the Author” section to my book review post, it helps the reader identify with the author just a tad bit more.
One last piece of advice …..
Have fun with it