4 Tips For Starting Your Own Book Review Blog

This is a collaborative post.  If you're a big fan of reading (and maybe if you enjoy my book reviews), you may be considering st...

This is a collaborative post. 

If you're a big fan of reading (and maybe if you enjoy my book reviews), you may be considering starting your own book blog or Bookstagram to review books. Especially in our current situation more and more folks are picking up books for pleasure again (I recently read book sales are up 400%!). Reviewing books is a great way to encourage yourself to read more and the book community online is a pretty great thing to be a part of. I wanted to share a few tips about how you may want to get started on a book blog of your own.

Read Other Reviews

Before you start writing your own reviews, you should spend some time reading other reviews to get a feel for the process and the kind of things that you should consider including in a review. You're a reader after all, so it's only natural to get started by reading. Hopefully my book reviews feel pretty inspiring to you, but make sure to check out other book blogs and Bookstagram accounts because everybody has their own style. By reading lots of different reviews, you can learn more about the format of a review, and start developing your own style when you start writing your own reviews. Some reviews are more formal (think: New York Times), but many (such as my own style) are more conversational. Find your own voice - I think that's the most important thing.

Start Listing Some Books

Next, you'll want to start listing some books you may want to review. In some cases, you may want to pick a specific genre, so you could write a fantasy or a horror book blog, for example. However, if you like to read a lot of different genres, it’s fine to review whatever you are enjoying right now. I really love thrillers, horror, and YA, but I'm kind of all over the place. I just love fiction (and the occasional memoir). And a lot of reviewers tend to only review brand new books, so you'll want to consider that as well. I read new books and backlist books. When you are picking your first books to review, you could totally choose a favorite book that you've read time and time again (hello, Harry Potter). Reviewing something that you are very familiar with may feel easier and be a good way to find your footing and share your favorite books with your readers. I also always encourage posting your reviews in multiple places - I tend to post a full review on my blog and Goodreads, and a smaller snippet on my Instagram. If I purchased the book from a particular website, I'll add a review there. But you don't want to post a review to Amazon (for example), if you didn't buy it from Amazon. It could get you banned from Amazon reviews, as it appears you're not a verified purchaser.

Promote Yourself

Once you have reviewed some books and written your first posts, you need to start promoting your new book blog. There is a great community of writers and book reviewers on Twitter and on Instagram, so those are great places to start. As I mentioned above, you also want to cross-post on sites like Goodreads (I always add a snippet that says something like "Originally posted at apaperarrow.com" and link back to my review.) Connect with people in the community and start posting links to your blog on there, and you can get some organic traffic that way. Once you start seeing more traffic on your site, it is important that you keep up with a pretty consistent posting schedule so people do not lose interest. I also encourage linking your blog to a feed like Bloglovin', so folks can subscribe to your content.

Once You're Established, Reach Out To New Authors

One of my biggest pet peeves in the bookish community is there are always groups of people who are just trying to get free books, but are brand new to the book reviewing world. When getting started, you'll want to review whatever books you read - these should be books you already have, books you've purchased, or even books you've checked out from the library. You may want to consider subscribing to Book of the Month so you can purchase a new book every single month for $15 - sometimes they even have early release options. You don't have to receive free books to be a book reviewer! This irks me to no end - start reviewing for at least six months to a year (if not longer) before you start requesting free books.

Once you do start requesting books, I'd encourage you to try new authors, who are always trying to get reviews so they can make a name for themselves. I'd definitely encourage working with them - this makes a name for them and few you, so it's mutually beneficial. If you don’t like the idea of giving out your address online, you can use a service like physicaladdress so you can get mail/packages sent to a different address and forwarded on to you. If you spend some time reaching out to recently published authors on social media, you may get a good response and find plenty of new books to review. I'd also encourage trying sites like Netgalley or Edelweiss, who will provide digital galleys (uncorrected proofs) that you can eread on your phone or tablet.

Starting a book review blog is such a great way to share your love of reading, and makes for a wonderful online community. Depending on your commitment and reach, it could maybe even help you make a little extra money on the side in the future.

What questions do you have about starting to review books? Do you already review books on a site or social channel? Drop your link below!

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