Sunday, June 09, 2024

How To Get Free Books

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I love books--whether they are brand new, forthcoming or older books. Ive been in publishing for decades but Ive not written in these articles about the details of how to get free books and what to do with them when you receive them.

Authors and publishers need reviews yet you dont have to buy those books to get them. I write reviews about books that Ive purchased or checked out from my local library. If you love a print copy of the book in this article, Im going to give you the details about how to get these books. This process is a basic because Ive been in publishing for decades, I assumed others know this basic. Im going to correct this assumption with this article. Through the years, I’ve written over 1,000 Amazon reviews and over 800 reviews on Goodreads. Also I’ve written many print magazine book reviews. 

My title for this article includes an exaggerated word (Free). The books are not really free whether they come from the author, a publicist or a publisher because they have been sent to you with a spoken or unspoken commitment. Because you requested this book, you are promising to write an honest book review about it.

You Ask For The Book

Within the world of book promotion, a print copy of the book from the author or publisher is one of the least expensive promotion tools--especially compared to other promotions like paid ads, print materials and other promotions. The easiest way to get a copy of the book is to ask the author or the publisher. Some people read electronic books on NetGalley. I have rarely used this system. I spend hours looking at my computer and phone. I do not like to read ebooks and prefer to receive a print copy. I can mark key passages and quotes in the print book. Your preference may be different.

As a writer, you want to be known as someone who does what they say they will do--i.e. write a review because many people who receive the book dont post their reviews. If you do write then post your review, you will be the exception and easily stand out to the author and the publisher. 

Join Launch Teams

Another way to read new books before they release is to join a launch team. You will help other authors in this process and learn some of the behind the scenes details about book promotion. There is one caveat with launch teams. In recent years since the pandemic, publishers do not print as many advance reading copies nor sent out print copies to launch teams. You will likely get an ebook version or access to NetGalley and have to read the electronic version. I like and appreciate launch teams and do participate in a few of these efforts.

The Importance of The Release Date

I encourage you to be aware of the release date for a book you are going to review. Books launch on a Tuesday whether online or brick and mortar bookstores. You can write your review on Goodreads but not before the release date on Amazon or another online website (unless you are a part of a special group within those websites). 

In general, the closer you can write and post your review to this release date, the more positive attention you will get from the author and the publisher. These early reviews are important and appreciated. Ive read that 90% of people who purchase a product online have read a review before they buy it. This fact is one of the critical reasons you want to encourage and gather reviews for your book as well as others. I have a free teleseminar about book reviews. Follow this link to have access

When You Get The Book

I have written the details about how to write a book review. I encourage you to develop your own pattern and style for these reviews. If you havent written reviews, then use a template to get going on your review.     
After You Read The Book

In general, I write my reviews in a Word file. Then I cut and paste this review on Goodreads as well as Amazon. At times I review it a third time on BarnesAndNoble.com but not every time. As Ive written in these articles, I use MockUp Shots where I have a lifetime access with my reviews to create a unique image and add that image to my review. Also I use the image on social media when I promote my review (and the book). Finally I show the author or the publisher or the publicist, my published review on Goodreads and Amazon or anywhere else. I send the permanent link along with a sample of my promotion of my review. This final process shows this professional that I have completed what I promised and builds integrity and trust that I will do it in the future.

Just so you know, no one pays me to write these reviews and I do it on my free time. I receive many more books to read than there are hours in the day (even if I was doing it fulltime). In some cases, I dont get the book read or reviewed. In general I have a good track record in this area. You can develop the same sort of reputation, if you do it consistently. 

What process do you use to get books for reviews? Am I missing something from the process? Let me know in the comments. 


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