People often ask me how I got started in book reviewing. My first experience with reviewing Christian books began in 2005 when I launched my first book review blog. At that time, book review blogging was in its infancy. The phrase “book review blog tour” was yet to be coined and to my knowledge there were no formal blogger book review programs in existence. In the years since much has changed, with literary publicity transitioning away from traditional print mediums to the web and social media, leveraging the influence of crowd-sourced reviews. This is good news for bloggers who are interested in reviewing books.
If you’d like to throw your hat in the ring and become a full-fledged book review blogger, here are a few first steps:
- Create your own blog (I recommend WordPress.)
- Learn the basics by reading other book reviews (For example, see my reviews, Bob Hayton’s reviews, and Tim Challies’ reviews)
Once you have your blog up and running and have an idea of the general look and feel of a book review, it’s time to get some books. Here are a few places to begin:
- Review books you already have in you personal library
- Review books from your public or church library
- Get review books from a publisher
If this is the beginning of your book review journey, I’d recommend getting your feet wet by joining some of the book review blogger programs offered by various Christian publishers. Here are a few suggestions:
- BookSneeze.com (Thomas Nelson)
- Blogging for Books (Waterbrook/Multnomah
- Book Reviewers for NLPG (New Leaf Publishing Group)
- Kregel Academic & Ministry Blog Reviews
- Kregel Blog Tours
- Tyndale Blog Network
- Blog for a Free Book (Reformation Trust)
- Bethany House Book Reviewers
- Cross Focused Reviews (multiple publishers)
If you haven’t done so already, begin following your favorite publishers on the web. Many publishers regularly offer opportunities to join a book review blog tour via their blog, twitter, and facebook feeds.
Finally, be sure to communicate, communicate, communicate! You’ve put a lot of hard work into your book review, so be sure to let people know. In addition to my blog, here are a few of the places I post my reviews:
Once you’ve gotten the word out via your social media channels, be sure to let your contact at the publisher know about your review too. They will likely link back to your review from their social media channels, which will help boost your site traffic. The other benefit is that having a good relationship with the marketing and publicity staff at each publisher will often lead exciting new book review opportunities.
I hope my little FAQ on getting started with book reviews proves helpful. Please contact me if I can answer further questions.
*photo by: ginnerobot
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