So you want to read and review books?
The world of book reviewing has grown pretty large, especially with so many people working from home and looking to turn their personal passions into something more rewarding for themselves. Those that love to read come across the beautiful Instagram photos, the hilarious TikTok videos and see all the reviewers getting free books in exchange for reviews. I can do that too! They all say. But I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I spent the first few years burying myself with books I didn’t really enjoy and fighting deadlines to get reviews in because I didn’t know what all I was getting myself into.
Becoming a reviewer
One of things no one tells you is that it’s HARD to get your foot in the door with legitimate services. Most PR companies want to see that you have an actively engaged Instagram, website or twitter where people will care that you read the book and what you have to say about it. This means you have to get your foot in the door somehow.
Start with what you know
The best place to start is to make sure you have an account on GoodReads with a nice profile pic and start reviewing books you’ve read and reviewing new ones as you finish them. This will build your credibility and doesn’t really invest a lot of time other than writing up your review.
I went into everything fast and hard with creating a website, an aesthetic Instagram account and the whole other nine yards because I thought I had to. Now I’ve had to make choices on social media accounts I know I cannot manage because it gets really burdensome trying to keep up with everything.
As you get your feet wet and start playing around with other outlets, you’ll start to see what works for you. Only do the things you enjoy – otherwise you’ll hit that burn out point too fast.
Where can I find books to review?
I always tell new reviewers to start out on NetGalley – it’s really easy to use and their platform provides a nice assortment of genres to choose from and keeps all your books pending reviews in one location so you can stay organized with due dates. This is a really good starting point for new reviewers because it allows you to choose what you want to read and gives you access to big titles as well. But keep in mind that the larger publishers will “review your request” to read one of their upcoming releases and if you haven’t established a nice base of reviews, your request will be denied.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Reading and reviewing books is supposed to be fun. It’s why you decided thinking about this in the first place. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. Take your time, enjoy the books you’re reading and engage in the large reading community that’s out there. There are reading groups on Instagram, Discord and all through the internet.
I’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments below! What worked well for you and what didn’t?