Saturday, May 30, 2020

How I Get Free Books

Hello everyone! I've gotten questions here and there on my blog and Instagram about how I get free books (mainly regarding ARCs). I figured instead of doing brief comments here and there I'd do an entire post outlining how I get books for review to help upcoming bloggers. I do want to point out that how reviewers get books varies by person but these are the ways that work for me. 

First I wand to address what an ARC is. ARC stands for advanced reader's copy and is usually a paperback printed before a book's publication and strictly for publicity and marketing purposes. ARCs usually have a sentence, sticker, or something on the cover denoting that they are one of these advance copies. More often than not, ARCs will also include the marketing plan on the back cover and information about the published book such as price and ISBN. ARCs are not available to buy from publishers and they're not to be resold by bookstores or those who receive the ARCs. ARCs also can be called other things such as advanced reader's editions (ARE), uncorrected proofs, and galleys.

If you're a reviewer who receives free books for review and would like to share tips and tricks with upcoming reviewers, please leave a comment at the end of this post!  

The first and main way that I get books for review is by participating in blog and Instagram tours. These are usually run by blogs or companies in collaboration with a publisher or by the publisher themselves to promote a book before or during release. I've been very lucky in the past few years and especially in 2020 to have participated in a lot of amazing tours with different companies.

Blog tours are great because not only do you get to usually review a book, but you then get to engage with the community about it. One of my favorite things about blog tours I've been doing recently is curating playlists based on the books. To see some examples of what a blog tour post is, you can check out this page of all the blog tours I've participated in.
There are many different companies that offer blog and Instagram tours. Usually Instagram tours are more limited but often have more physical books, whereas I've found blog tours to be a mix of physical and e-books. Here are some of the blogs & companies that I've worked with in the past or are well-known tour hosts (though there are numerous others that you can find by Googling):
  • TBR and Beyond Tours
    • This is the main tour company I'm working with at the moment. I've noticed they primarily do YA and middle grade book tours but also book blitzes and bookstagram tours. Their tours are usually open to US and international reviewers with a mixture of physical and digital ARCs. 
  • Caffeine Book Tours
    • An amazing tour company focused on getting upcoming releases from many genres and age ranges into the hands of ownvoices reviewers. This is an especially wonderful company as a lot of their tours provide physical ARCs to international reviewers who usually wouldn't be able to get them. 
  • Book Terminal Tours
    • Another tour company that provides a mixture of genres and age ranges to US and international reviewers. They also provide adjacent bookstagram tours. Copies are either digital or physical. 
  • Jean Book Nerd
    • This is the first tour company that I worked with and I've enjoyed every tour with them. There is often a mix of my anticipated releases and some unknown books that also deserve the hype. They also host Nerd Blasts which are shorter, promotional posts about a book that doesn't necessarily include reviewing it. 
    • I've found that there's usually a mix of digital and physical copies for these blog tours. 
  • Storygram Tours
    • This is an Instagram-based tour company and you have to have an Instagram to participate. This is also one of the most well-known Instagram tour companies and is highly competitive to be a host for. They often have multiple books per sign-up session. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books but they do have to post about them on a specific day. 
    • These tours are usually done with physical copies. 
  • Indiegram Book Tours
    • Indiegram is another Instagram-based tour company so you also have to have an Instagram for this one. What is unique about this company is that they focused on independently published books and authors to promote. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books but it's often encouraged.
    • These tours are usually done with physical copies. 
  • MTMC Tours
    • This is another Instagram-based tour company and an Instagram account is required. This company is run by two book-lovers who I've followed for a long time and I've been lucky enough to work with MTMC tours in the past. Tour hosts aren't always required to review the books they're sent to post but there's usually a stronger chance of being picked for a tour if you sign up to review it.
    • These are also usually done with physical copies. 
  • Rockstar Book Tours
    • I haven't worked much with Rockstar Book Tours but it's one company that's been on my radar for over a year. They do many different types of tours and have been in work for over five years. 
    • I've found in most of the sign-ups for this company that it is hosted primarily with ebooks. 
  • YA Bound Book Tours
    • This is another company that I haven't personally worked with yet but has been on my radar for many years. I've noticed that this company features lesser-known books and authors rather than focusing on big name titles. 
    • I've noticed these are mostly ebook tours. 
  • Pride Book Tours
    • This is a new Instagram-based company that is focused on promoting LGBTQ+ books. They are very new but I've personally worked with the owner in the past on other tour companies and this is definitely a company worthy of being worked with.
    • As there haven't yet been tours, I can't say 100% if they offer physical or digital books but, as it's Instagram-based tours, I would assume they will offer physical books.  

The next way that I get books for review is through Netgalley. Netgalley is a digital review platform where you can request digital ARCs across all genres prior to their release date. In return, you're expected to read and review the book. You also have a review ratio of the number of books you've been approved for compared to the number of books you've reviewed.

This is one of the easiest ways for newer bloggers to get involved in reviewing books. In the upcoming weeks, I will be writing a post specifically focused around Netgalley. I'll be discussing how to get started on Netgalley, some tips and tricks, and offer advice for fellow reviewers. When that is posted, it will be available here. Until then, you can check out Netgalley for more information. 

Another way I get books for review is through authors and publishers directly. Sometimes this is through me reaching out requesting a review copy (though that is hit-or-miss) but most times it is through authors, publishers, and publicity services reaching out to me. I've gotten the chance to work with a lot of amazing authors and publishers to promote books that I've loved this way.

There aren't many clear ways to start working with publishers and authors directly. The first tip I have would be to build a base on your blog or Instagram. It took me a few years before I was receiving review or collaboration requests and a couple years more before I was receiving them on any regular basis. I would also recommend that all book blogs create their own Review Policy (you can see mine here) with what books they're willing to read and how to contact the reviewer. This way, it's easy for publishers, authors, and publicity services to reach out. 

The next way I get books for free is through numerous types of giveaways. While it's not required to review books that you win in a giveaway, if I receive an ARC in a giveaway I will always try to review it before it is released since the purpose of ARCs is pre-publication publicity. There are also many different types of giveaways that I will list here:
  • Goodreads Giveaways
    • I've had hit-or-miss experiences with Goodreads giveaways. I've been entering giveaways on Goodreads for years and have probably entered a few hundred by now but I've only won 1 ebook and 1 ARC. That being said, Goodreads giveaways are easy to enter and they have hundreds of books up for giveaway at any given time. FYI: you will need a Goodreads account to enter these!
  • Conventions
    • Conventions are a wonderful way to get ARCs and connect with publishers, authors, and other book lovers. Not all conventions are open to non-professionals/plain book lovers, but there are some awesome ones that are. Conventions are hosted all over the world and there are a lot held in the US across the year. Not only can you get ARCs to review, but you can meet authors and get books signed, you can attend panel discussions, and get free goodies. 
  • Publisher & Author Hosted
    • The next giveaways that I've entered are ones hosted specifically by the publisher or author of a book. A lot of times, authors might giveaway their extra ARC copies or even finished copies of their book when they have extras. Publishers also can host giveaways and I've seen a lot of publishers partner with tour companies to include giveaways with blog/Instagram tours. For these types of giveaways, you really just have to be on the lookout.
  • Independently Hosted
    • The last type of giveaway that I'm going to talk about is independently-hosted giveaways. These are giveaways hosted by reviewers or bookstagrammers (or even just regular book-lovers) on their own and not through a publisher, author, or tour company. These are quite popular for milestone numbers, such as reaching a certain number of followers, and for holidays and birthdays. I, myself, have hosted quite a few giveaways on my own. For current and past giveaways I've hosted, you can check out this page

The last way that I get free ARCs is through trading books. There are a few tags (#arcsfortrade & #booksfortrade) that people use in order to find ARCs, special editions, and just regular books they are looking to trade for. Trading is great because it's cost-effective and you get the chance to get ARCs and special editions you've been looking for. A downside to trading is that sometimes you'll see something you want but don't have anything to offer that person.

Additionally, it's important to be on the lookout for scammers (people who use false pictures of books or who don't send their side of the trade even if you've sent yours). Trading isn't for everyone, and I haven't trading much in the past couple of years, but if it is something you are interested in then I would recommend scrolling through the tag on Twitter to get started. There are also numerous Facebook groups (usually with B/S/T in the title) where trading can be facilitated as well!

Thanks for reading!

You can follow my bookstagram here for more bookish content!

To get more awesome posts like this post, click the follow button to the right!

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link

No comments:

Post a Comment