“How can I get free books?” That’s a common question I hear on my Facebook page, The YA Gal. The easiest answer would be: Go to the library! Okay, that’s also the snarkiest answer. 😉 The truth is free books are hard to come by unless you have a social media presence that makes publishers think you have a big enough platform to help them sell books.
Many years ago when I signed up for BookLook bloggers, I had to give data about how many users I got on my blog: Teaching My Baby to Read. I also had to prove that I was an active reviewer on Amazon. Since then I’ve reviewed over sixty books for BookLook. If you click on the link below it will take you to that site.
Now that I am a soon-to-be traditionally published author (well, not that soon since my book doesn’t come out until fall of 2016) I am part of The Sweet Sixteens and Sixteen To Read. We mail advanced review copies (ARCs) of our books all across the country to help create early “buzz” for our books. When I receive an ARC from a friend I don’t get to keep it. I only borrow it for a little while and then mail it to the next person at $5.75 a pop.
But back to the question, “How can I get free books?” Here are some ways to get started:
- Build up a review history on Amazon. (here’s mine)
- Build up a review history on Goodreads. (here’s mine)
- Start a blog. Shoot for at least 500 visitors a month.
- Share book pictures on Instagram. Use the hashtags: #Bookstagram, #IReadYA, #Instabooks and more
- Start a Booktuber account on YouTube. (Note, I’ve never done this. I feel like I’m too old.)
Once you have a digital footprint to show that you have a following of people hungry for your reviews, start emailing publishers and asking to be considered for their ARC lists. Or, you could approach a book tour company like Rock Star Book Tours, Indie Sage, or Chapter By Chapter.
An important thing to mention is that when you do receive a free book in exchange for a review, by federal law you must disclose that your received that book for free in your review. Otherwise, heck I don’t know. But something bad would happen to you because you broke the law. So unless you’re into crime novels, I’d avoid that situation.
Next year my publisher, Month9Books, will be organizing a blog tour for BLANK SLATE. I’ll also offer special opportunities to my YA Gal friends to win free copies of my book. If you’d like to be on the list to receive more information about that, please sign up for my quarterly newsletter.