If you publish a book review blog, one of the biggest obstacles you face is getting access to books you can review. Perhaps you started blogging – as I did – by reviewing books you already owned and now you want to expand the scope of your reviews to include forthcoming books or a wider variety of genres.
How do you establish relationships with authors and publishers so you can receive review copies? When I started my own book blog in 1997, I spent a lot of time researching and going to public readings at bookstores and libraries. I talked to writers and publishers at local book fairs. Gradually, I built a reputation and authors and publishers began to automatically add me to their press lists.
Nowadays, there are many more ways to reach out to authors and publishers. Before you start requesting review copies, you should have several reviews already posted to your blog as examples of your writing. You should be promoting your reviews on social media in order to start building a following. It’s tough to get review copies of books from major publishers if you only get one or two hits per month on your blog.
Once you have some clips and followers, here are ways to start building relationships.
1. Make a list of writers whose work interests you.
2. Follow those authors on Twitter or Facebook for news about forthcoming books.
3. If an author announces a new book coming out, find an email address or contact form on the author’s website and send a short request for a review copy. The introduction/request should include
4. After you write the review, send the author a link to the review, along with a note of thanks for the review copy.
5. Ask the author to include you on their press list, if they have one.
6. Bonus – Suggest an interview or Q&A with the author for your book blog.
1. Make a list of presses that publish books of interest to you.
2. Follow these publishers on Twitter or Facebook for news.
3. Find the section of the publisher’s website that lists contact information for reviewers requesting review copies.
4. Contact the publisher and ask to be put on a press list for information about forthcoming books and review copy availabilities. In your request, include
5. After publishing a review, send the publisher a link to it.
6. Bonus – Suggest an interview or Q&A with the author for your blog.
Almost always, authors and publishers will publicize reviews of their books on social media and their websites, which will gain your blog even more followers.
A word of warning: It is considered bad practice to request a review copy and never review it! Word will spread among small publishers and authors if you become known for requesting review copies simply so you can sell them at your local used book store.
Bernadette Geyer provides writing, copy editing, and translation services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers. She also leads online workshops on a variety of topics for small businesses and writers. Geyer likes being a small fish in a big pond, and enjoys helping others move to bigger ponds themselves. Subscribe to her monthly news from the big pond if you’re interested in professional growth.
Geyer’s No Time Guide series of online guides for small businesses offers simple, jargon-free guides to small business owners and nonprofits who want to grow, but don’t have a lot of time.