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How Do You Get Books to Review?

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Question: How Do You Get Books to Review?

Allena, I enjoyed your article on How to Be a Paid Book Reviewer. But I'm still confused about one aspect: where do the books come from? How do you get them? Since the books are new, I wonder how a person is privy to getting them in hand before they're actually published? Also, I know that publications only want new books reviewed. But how do reviewers find out the new titles that are coming up?

Answer:

Great question! Paid book reviewers get their books from a variety of places. First, let's recap what an Advanced Readers Copy is. It's a copy of the book that the publisher hands out specifically for reviewing purposes. It's close to its final form, but may not be perfect. It may have small proofreading errors, a plain cover without any cover art, or it may even be a bound paper copy of the text.

But, that's not to say that ARCs are the only review copies that float around. I've reviewed plenty of published books within their first month or two of life- and have therefore had a final copy of the book.

So, where does the reader get the book? They may be responsible for procuring it themselves, or they may be sent a copy from the publication that they're writing for (who likely got it directly from the publisher). A last source for writers is direct from the publisher themselves. Some experienced reviewers may have developed good contacts with publicists, who will float them new books based on their interests or the kind of magazines/websites that they write for.

How do you know who's responsible for getting the book? The easiest route is to simply ask (or listen to) your editor, who will likely answer such questions right up front in the negotiating process that goes on when you're assigned a piece. However, as a general rule, consider the book your responsibility if you've pitched the story. But, expect the editor to send the book along to you if you're assigned the book as part of the magazine's or newspaper's regular set of writers.

You are right in saying that most reviews are of fresh, new titles. You can find information on upcoming releases from the About.com Guide to Bestsellers, or via Amazon's New Releases page. In addition, social sites like Goodreads and Shelfari are also a great place to find out about upcoming releases.

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