In my previous post, How I find books to review, I introduced you to the methods in which I find books to review here on the blog and on my social channels.
Before we go any further, I think you should know, I may have been that kid that had her book report turned in early and may have written far more about the book than the teacher needed to know. (Allegedly. I will neither confirm nor deny this.) This may explain any questions you might have in relation to what it was like to be in elementary school with me.
(note: Once again, from this point on, you may find affiliate links for places I earn a small commission from when you make a purchase.)
My favorite genres to read are literary fiction, dramatic fiction, humor, and memoirs. Sometimes I will read a mystery but it has to have really good characters and a plot. It can’t be your typical detective mystery or cop mystery – and I don’t normally like books that come in a series. I think the only exception to that was when I read The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. She did such a wonderful job with the characters, I had to read all three books.
Amazon Prime Reading
A perk of having an Amazon prime account is the monthly First Reads newsletter. You can sign up for the Kindle First newsletter to get suggestions for new releases of ebooks. Amazon usually promotes their own publishing houses (bet you didn’t know Amazon had a publishing house, let alone several) so the books that will be suggested are often from Amazon’s publishing houses. I get the newsletter every month with about six ebook suggestions, I can choose one or none. There are many times I don’t see anything I like but every now and then, I get a winner.
Even if you don’t want the newsletter, Amazon still has thousands (and thousands) of ebooks available through their Prime Reading option. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on your tablet or smartphone and an Amazon Prime account, you are all set. Browse the Prime Reading selections and choose the books you want. Once again, I’ve found many books, I couldn’t get through my local bookstore or library this way.
I’m going to share a secret with you – the method I use THE MOST to find new books to review is through digital lending libraries. It’s another e-book platform that works in conjunction with your local library. The secret is that you don’t necessarily need to live close to the library of the card you’re using. Many libraries offer access to only their digital libraries with an account you can sign up for online. Before I moved to Alaska, I got a library account for another Ohio library that I didn’t live close to. I received a card in the mail and use that account for digital/e-book loans. If I ever visit the area, the card will still be good in the library but since I signed up for it online, it’s primary use is to borrow ebooks and magazines.
I have another library card from the library I did live close to in Ohio. When that one expired, I contacted the library and asked if I could renew it just for the purpose of receiving ebooks. They looked in my account, saw that’s how I was using it for the last year and happily renewed my card. And of course, I have a card for my local library. That’s three libraries to cross-reference when I’m looking for a particular book.
Just like your local library, you can recommend books for the digital library to purchase. If they take your suggestion and purchase the book, you often get first dibs on borrowing the ebook before anyone else. You get a notice via email that the book was purchased, and it’s automatically borrowed for you. Cool Right?!
Before you ask, yes, you can even recommend books that haven’t been released yet. So if you know your favorite author is coming out with a new book, you can do a search for it in the digital library and if it comes up in the results, you can recommend it. If it gets purchased… TA-DA!
PR and Publishing Houses
One way to do this is to get on the mailing lists for the publishers you love. You can send an email if you can locate the direct contact for the marketing/press department of that publishing house. If they offer newsletters, sign up for them. Most publishers have their own in-house marketing and PR for upcoming releases and many have imprint publishing houses (these are smaller publishing companies that are owned by the larger ones). This is helpful information to know if you can’t find a certain author or book through the main publisher’s website.
The key is to know what’s coming out. You can check the publisher’s websites to see what’s coming, read the newsletters, or better yet, follow your favorite authors and the publishers on social media.
The next option is to reach out directly. Send the press contact for that book an email letting them know your interest in the book, who you are, and why they should send you an advanced reader copy. Share all the reasons why YOU are the perfect reviewer for the book. Publishers want reviewers who are enthusiastic and voracious. If you have links to past book reviews, send them a link or two so they can get to know you.
Used Books and Sales
I would be a fool if I didn’t include used bookstores as a resource for finding books to review. It’s where I discovered there is no such thing as too many books. Plus, I am pretty sure my grandmother is quietly “ahem-ing” me from beyond the grave.
Unfortunately, it’s harder to find a good used bookstore than it used to be. I will drive 100 miles to a used bookstore if I love it. And I will spend $50 or more in one trip with NO SHAME. The problem I’m having lately is finding a good used bookstore. I thought I had one here where I live but it looks as though they have closed up.
When I visit a used bookstore, I feel like I’m at a shelter, but for books, not animals. Each book longs to be loved and have a home of their own. If the book and I click, it becomes mine. Forever.
The alternative to a used bookstore would be used book sales. These are usually held a couple of times a year through the local library. I once had to make two trips to my car after shopping at the library’s used book sale. And let me repeat… NO SHAME.
Now that you know all my secrets, let me tell you one last thing; it is amazingly easy to bite off more than you can chew. You may find yourself with too many books to read (but is that really a problem?). Some publishers will want a book read and ready for review when the book drops in stores. If you haven’t gotten to that book yet, let them know. This is why I sometimes use resources that don’t require a deadline. My library, bookstores, Amazon, and Kindle.
This way, the only person in that relationship who gets mad if a book doesn’t get finished is me and it’s due to my own self-imposed timelines.
Have any questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments!