Reviewing books: What it means to me and how you can become a reviewer
Please note that the above picture is not mine. The text is inserted.
Hi guys! Welcome to this blog post. You are probably here to figure out what reviewing means to me or how you can become one. I'm guessing this is going to be a long post so welcome and let's get into it.
What Being A Reviewer Means To Me
I will literally just be listing a couple of words that come to mind and then underneath each of them, I'll explain exactly why I associate the points to being a reviewer
Oh gosh. This word is super important to me, especially when it comes to reviewing books. Being a reviewer allows me the opportunity to receive books for free in exchange for an honest review. It also allows me to look at a book critically which in turn makes me a more active reader.
Being an active reader has made me a much better learner. By reading actively during a leisure read, it allows my mind to critically analyze the story and pick up on grammar mistakes or plot holes and so on. (I know it sounds like super cool and logical and stuff but it actually isn't.) By creating this habit during my fun reading, my mind has been taught to read like this in every circumstance. This has allowed me to view my work more critically and has allowed me to remember more information than before.
In terms of opportunity for an author, their books gain more visibility. This means that people who would previously not have seen the book will now see it and possibly pick it up. The author is now able to reach a bigger audience than prior. And if the reader really likes their book (like how much I love VINYL by Sophia Elaine Hanson (Should totally check it out!)) then the reader will feature the book more than once.Thus putting an emphasis on both the author and that particular book.
As a reviewer, books are super important because what else would you be reviewing? Well other things like shoes and stuff but if you are a book reviewer, you will need to read books.
Free books. Look I am a reader. A collector of books, if you will indulge me for a moment. I love collecting books. The good, the bad and the ugly. I like any other person love free books. But do not get me wrong, if I saw this book in the bookstore and it's cover intrigued me and the synopsis persuaded me, I would probably pick it up if I had money on me. Yes this isn't always the case but for me, at this moment, it happens more often than not. And besides I am a sucker for both physical and digital books.
If I happen to have a physical copy of the book and my best friend or another friend is interested in it, I will lend it to them. But only if I can trust them.
Receiving books also makes me happy which in turn makes a fueled reviewer. By receiving books, I am more likely to review them or at the least mention in a post on Instagram or on my YouTube channel. Receiving books also allows me to diversify the books I read. Whilst I love supporting big authors, they tend to fall in the norm of having white protagonist and very few POC. Which is a huge thing these days, just as it should be.
Indie authors are more likely to write about marginalized voices, although it is not common, they are more likely.
Oh my potatoes do I love supporting them. In this year alone, I have found more of my favorite reads in self-published authors than in big-5 published authors. (I think imprints of big-5 companies are a lie, they are all the same company)
Yes some indie books are absolute trash but I have found that more often than not, the indie books that I read are just amazing. I've met some amazing new authors because they are indie authors.
Okay, here's what you must be thinking right now. How does indie authors relate to being a book reviewer. Well the answer is actually really simple, I feel like my reviews make a difference and that makes me want to better myself as a reviewer. And whilst they appreciate that people read their books because of the promotional boost, I appreciate that they choose me to review their books.
I have met so many friends through being a reviewer and just a person who posts online about books. I have met one of my favorite people (Nette) because I joined a bookclub that was an idea someone had. I have also met some incredible people I probably never would've spoken to.
Friends are super important to me because their support means the world to me. Because in the end, I write my reviews for them. (P.S. Family fits into this as well)
How you can become a reviewer
It is super important that you start. Just grab one of your favorite reads and start reviewing it.
find your style
This is not going to happen in two seconds. It can take a week or a year to find your style. Look for what you want to know about a book and write about it because that might be what someone wants to know as well.
I like to know how many pages there are, what format was read, how was the writing, the plot and the characters. So these are things that I write about. It's also about finding what makes you feel happy
create an online space
You need people to see you. It is one thing to post your review in a newspaper where there isn't a large audience anymore and it's another thing to post it on a blog.
By posting on a blog (or on a social media platform like Goodreads or Instagram) you allow more people to have access to your thoughts. If a person wants to know something specific about a book or they want to know people's thoughts, then they will google it and your post might show up.
I recommend starting a primary space and a secondary space. Your primary space will be where all your followers reside. I would personally choose Instagram. And then your blog should be your secondary space. Your primary space will attract a bunch of people and then by using your primary space, you will advertise your secondary space. This will attract views and then later followers to the actual blog.
find places to put your name
What I mean by this is find places such as a book review site to put your "brand" name on. For instance a guest post or to the IndieView which allows authors to see you. (The IndieView is mainly for indie authors)
Or another thing you can do is look for small publishing companies that need reviewers to boost their books. A great example of this is Blaze Publishing who is actually looking for more reviewers. You can use the following link which will lead you to a form. The form will allow you apply for a position as one of their reps. I would recommend looking at the books they publish first before applying.
Here's the link: subscribepage.com/ReviewforBlaze
Use it wisely.
Another place to put your name is NetGalley or galley sites. I personally use NetGalley and have recieved over a hundred books from them. On this site you can request a book or be approached by a publishing company. Have a look at this site because this is how I actually started.
don't just be in it for the free books
That is exactly how it sounds. Don't expect that you will get books if you have really horrible reviews. You need to be in it for reading experience and to help others. The free book should be a great add on.
I know I sound like I am but I'm not. I just like free books a lot. I love reviewing books because whenever I write a review or a blog post, I can see myself doing this for a very long time.
don't expect to be famous the moment you start
Unless you already have an amazing following on a different social media, then don't expect the free books to fall in your lap.
Those people who get books to review worked hard to get where they are. They too were small and unnoticed. Just put in the effort you think your bookish career deserves and you will get what you deserve from that.
That is the end of my blog post! I hope this helps you in one way or another and be sure to check out Blaze Publishing! They really are incredible. I love working with them! Thank you for reading my long post. (I almost gave up halfway because I just couldn't do it any more)
Yours in Reading,