I have been asked many times how I get access to review copies of so many great books. I wanted to share a few of the ways.
First, you need some sort of blog/website where you will be posting your reviews. You also need to plan to post reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. You should start by reviewing books you already have or books from the library. Places won’t just give you free books without seeing proof that you already have reviews and that your reviews are good quality. Some websites/publishers might also require you to have a fanbase and subscribers before they will send to anything you.
Another thing to note, if you do receive free books, you should be timely in reading and posting your review. They usually are sending out new releases that they want a lot of buzz about (good or bad). I also recommend sending them a link to your review and at that point you can request the next book or two. If you don't review the books they send you, then you might blow your chance at receiving any more.
You will want to get signed up on here as soon as possible. You will start getting a flood of self-published and less popular authors looking for reviews. This is risky since you won’t know what the book quality will be like, but it is a good place to start. Most have only ebook copies, but some may have a few paperbacks they are willing to part with. Note: It may take a month or two for them to process your request to be added to the list.
This site allows you to request one book at a time. Once you finish a review, then you can request the next one. You are not required to have a certain audience in order to review for them. However, you do see more books if you have higher traffic to your website. And there are limited numbers of print and ebooks available, so you have to be quick to get one you want; check back often. This is only books that are published by Penguin Random House.
Penguin Random House also offers access to ebooks. I prefer print books, so I no longer use this site. These are all galleys, so that means they are not available for purchase yet. They only post them once a month and the good ones go fast! So check as soon as they are posted. The more points you have, the better books you can request. You earn points in a variety of ways, such as writing reviews and visiting certain pages.
If you sign up for their email list, you will get notified of a giveaway every week. I enter every week and have yet to win anything…but this is all by chance and you don’t need a website to win. This is also owned by Penguin Random House.
This is probably the easiest way to start requesting and getting free books to review. They only have ebooks, so I moved away from this site once I started getting print books from publishers. But the best part about this site is that there is a huge variety of publishers and genres. You are very likely to get books this way. You are more likely to keep getting more as you publish reviews on their site. Like First to Read, these are uncorrected proofs that are sent out to create buzz before a book is actually released for sale.
This is more like a sweepstakes. You can request print or ebook copies of books that interest you. Winners are “randomly” selected each month. They post new books the first week of every month. I have received only three this way over three years (and I post a lot of reviews). There are some books from bigger publishers, but most are from smaller, less-known publishers.
Goodreads has tons of giveaways going on all the time. They have some very popular books, and some books that self-published authors have put up on their own. They say you have better luck if you post reviews, but I am very active on Goodreads and have only won one copy in three years. Some people are strategic and enter the ones that are about to end and have very little entries. But you have to ask yourself what quality of book you are looking for…
I follow a lot of my favorite publishers and authors on social media. Some post a lot of giveaways and contests to win free books. Some smaller authors may respond to your messages if you ask for a review copy directly.
Email Publishers Directly
Once you have established yourself in the reviewing community, you can start to look through upcoming catalogs and email publishers directly. You should be able to find the correct contact people on the publishers’ websites. Keep in mind that some of the bigger publishers will not send out review copies to individual people, especially if they already run their own website, such as the ones listed above (Penguin Random House does not send out review copies, so don't waste time emailing them about it). When you email them, you will want to include 2-3 books you are interested in and info about your website (link, how many visitors you have a day, how many followers/subscribers, where you post reviews). I also will include reviews of books they have published, even if they didn't send me those ones. It shows that I like their books and their authors. You should also include your mailing address since a lot of publishers don’t have time to email back and forth. A lot of the time it is a surprise what books show up at my door!