And is there a market for genuine, honest book reviewers?
Receiving unpublished books for free sounds like a dream for any avid book-lover. The best, most reliable place I’ve found when trawling through sites in an attempt to get a handful or two of books to review, was Goodreads.
Goodreads is an amazing app for anyone wanting to record the books they’ve read, want to read, or are currently in the process of reading.
There are huge amounts of competitions (or ‘giveaways’), offering unpublished copies of books from authors looking for a review in exchange for their most recent work. In this sense, however, there is more of an expectation that regardless, you will give a good review. How many authors are going to send you their books, free of charge, if they know you’re brutally honest when reading and talking about their work?
The honest answer, although many may say differently, is few. Unless the author has full confidence in their work, and doesn’t want to simply send the text off to those they know are reliable, you’ll soon find yourself out of the game before you’ve even truly stepped into it.
Goodreads seems to choose winners in a vaguely biased but generally understandable manner. They seem to pick those who are frequent users on the site, those who have reviewed other books they have read and show consistency. While this is great for anyone committed to building up an online reputation for a few months prior to receiving any books, there is much left to desire. There is also no promise of consistent success. I for one received around twenty books from the Goodreads competitions, and they started to wain before even my reviews did. However, build up enough of a reputation for writing reliable reviews, and you may find that you’re contacted directly, or have more success when asking authors directly for copies. This is especially prevalent if you’re comfortable reading e-books. This method of sending unpublished copies is becoming more and more popular with authors.
Either way, there will always be a market for unpaid book reviewers, especially with the vast amounts of individuals willing to give positive reviews purely in good grace after receiving the book for free. While this isn’t positive for those looking for genuine feedback, or for those desperate to stay on an honest path, it does give an opportunity for many to expand their knowledge and experience different genres and work of less notable authors that may have once been ignored.
- I am not affiliated with Goodreads in any sense.