I’ve recently set up a book club called the Bailiwick Book Bunch, or the BBB for short. It’s a no rules club apart from the focus being books, whether they are read, reviewed or written by people either living in, or expats of The Bailiwick (and Jersey, our honour nearest neighbours unless sport is involved of course 😘) If you fit the bill please consider joining in 😆
But it also got me thinking about my own writing journey and why I went down the hybrid route of both writer and reviewer, sometimes a hard path to follow.
I’ve been blogging for years, about twenty in all but only latterly in relation to books. I love reading, I always have and I have literally thousands of books. There’s 400 on my Kindle in addition to about 500 paperbacks by my bed and that doesn’t include the built in bookshelves I got for one of my milestone birthdays. Writing is a more recent pursuit but nearly ten years of scribbling all the same and now, with book 7 well under way I find again I’ve downloaded a whole pile of books that will need to be reviewed in the near future. There honestly aren’t enough hours in the day for us writers.
Here’s a link to a very frank post from one of my favourite book reviewers, Jo Robertson from My Chestnut Reading Tree where she discusses a day in the life of… it’s not all fun and unexpected book packages believe me! Read it here.
So what do you need to become a book blogger?
- Time to read
- The enthusiasm to write about what you’ve read. It doesn’t have to be long, or indeed Shakespeare. You don’t need to be able to spell or even understand the role of the comma or full stop. Enthusiasm is key.
- Somewhere to share your thoughts. This can be on Amazon (writers do love reviews on Amazon, preferably 5 or 4 ⭐ but an honest book will have a smattering across the spectrum because simply put not all readers will like all books.
- You can also set up a blog, the ones I’ve used are WordPress and Blogspot. This has the additional advantage of providing somewhere where writers can offer their books for you – review policies are a whole post in their own right!
- NetGalley is another option. A writer, publisher driven vehicle for pre book launch promotions of their, their clients books
What the publishers want from you as reviewer
Ah, the million dollar question. You’ve done all the above but you don’t have any books to read.
- Start reviewing the books that you’ve read and copy them on to your blog
- Cross promote on both Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook you can also post on book review sites.
- Publishing houses like bloggers with some experience under their belts. They also like them to have a few followers. This takes time, so better start now…
Free books, but when books are cheap anyway? Having your review quoted in the inside of a book? Walking past WH Smith on Guernsey’s High Street and find you’ve read all the 6 books in their window, books chosen by you before they became best sellers? True and very satisfying! Creeping up that top reviewing slot to become an Amazon top reviewer? Being invited to book launches? I’ve recently been invited to one in the States but don’t tell anyone…
Give it a go, it’s fun