As I’m sure you’ve seen on here, I’m lucky to be someone who does get granted review copies and sometimes even gets to be part of book tours. It’s something that is still so exciting. Yet as I try to organise myself, I realise that I still make mistakes. I’m pretty sure that these are mistakes that we all make sometimes, so I wanted to write out a post sharing those things we should be keeping in mind.
Whether your review copies come from NetGalley, authors or tour companies, these are things you should keep in mind no matter where you’re getting your books from.
Do I Have Time?
I’m starting with the obvious one, but also my biggest problem. I write down every review copy I get, and I’ll always aim to get a review up before the book is published. Sometimes with tours, it might be a little after release, but I list posting dates for tours down separately. Do I check that list before requesting more books? Of course not!
All that means is that I have a useful guide to how many books I have to read that I do not use. That’s not smart. I have three ARCs I’ve been reading through at the moment that all publish on February 1st. They will all be read in time for sure, but I still should have thought.
You should ideally note down any tour dates and any publication dates for all other copies. That way, when you’re applying for a book or tour, you’ll know if particular dates will be too close or too stressful.
Where Am I Reviewing These Books?
Just a quick one here. I personally seem to get on both Instagram and Blog Tours. I like doing both and am happy to produce content for both. However, tour companies tend to focus on one or the other. I know some are opening up to TikTok tours too, which is great, but I don’t know much about that yet.
Whether you’re a blogger, bookstagrammer or on booktok, you should spend some time looking into what tour companies are open to you in your country. Some may be international if they mostly offer e-books, which can be awesome. I can pretty easily find bookstagram tour companies on Instagram. So, see if anyone in your company posts any tour posts, then follow their tags to the main account. Or you can just try searching for book tours and review lists.
See what’s available and either register or try to get into contact. It might take some time, but it’ll be worth it.
Can I Have That Format for This Site?
Okay, so e-books are great. I’m not gonna deny that. I love NetGalley and the number of books it’s given me a chance to read. As fancy as a physical proof is, I’ll usually take an e-book if it’s all they can offer me.
I personally can’t do e-books for Instagram tours. I’ve tried taking photos of e-books in the past, and I’ve only really been happy once. I don’t want to make a review graphic as some people do, as it’s not my sort of thing. So if an Instagram tour is e-book only, I won’t sign up for it.
When requesting books, you need to think of the format. It really doesn’t matter for blog posts, but if you’re doing something on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, you have to be happy with the content you can produce for it.
If you can only read e-books, you need to look at what content you can produce for them. If you’re happy, then great. You can produce it for any medium. The same is to be said about physical and audio proofs.
Know what you can and can’t do, then if a tour company will give you a chance to create stuff for these books. Then do it.
What if I Don’t Like The Book?
This can be complicated. If it’s just a standard review, you can choose whether to post anything or just leave it. With NetGalley ARCs, you’ll want to leave at least something there to say what you didn’t like. But the book doesn’t need to go on GoodReads, StoryGraph or your social media if you don’t want to.
Most tour companies however will ask that you give the book at least three stars. They’re often in contact with the author and publisher, and no one wants to offend anyone. So if you don’t like a book when you think you would? Message the tour company. If you can’t drop out entirely, they may just ask you to do a spotlight. That means you just post the book information with no opinions. It’s fair and an easy thing to do.
What that also means is that you should only request books if you genuinely think you’ll like them. I know it can be tempting to request every physical ARC you can get. I’ve been a little guilty of that in the past. Fortunately, I’ve only ever disliked one book I read for a tour, and I did a spotlight post for it on Instagram. It worked out alright.
You need to keep in mind how many books you need to review and what you’re going to be in a mood for. If you’re a mood reader, this could be a pain, but you’ll find a way to focus on the books you need to read.
So before you fill in your information and hit that request button stop – think – and check everything you have going on. Because when you really start getting into these tours and reviews, you’ll have a lot of fun.