Esmé's Mommy here.
I have a phobia of not having anything to read. I am paranoid that I will have a free moment someday without a book to occupy it. This phobia makes for fun (think heavy) traveling experiences...
My book phobia (is there a name for it?) is mildly tempered by the phobia of ending up one of those old ladies with yellowed books stacked ceiling-high everywhere in the house and only a few paths clear to get from the door to the fridge, bathroom, and bedroom. With a few cats thrown in.
Anyway, I am getting all kinds of nice fuzzy warm feelings as the "free" books and ARCs have started coming in and the stack of unread books on my shelf gets larger. In the last eight days, I've gotten 12 books. A bit of an anomaly; I think if I keep up requesting through my usual sources, I should average about 2-3 books a week.
I am still very much a novice at this, but several people have asked, so I'll share some of my sources here. Keep in mind that my preference is family-friendly: children's books, parenting or family books, Christian, inspirational...
1. Goodreads. A social networking site for people who like to read. Once you've signed up with them, you can enter to win pre-release books on their giveaway page. You're requested (but not required) to review the books. You can do this on their site - no blog necessary.
I've included this site as it is so popular, but I'm a little disappointed in the "free books" result. I've won only one book so far, and have spent by far the most time on this site. It's a little like winning the lottery with so many people competing for each ARC. Quite frankly, I've had better results from entering book giveaways (see items 11-13), and you don't have to do reviews on those.
If you join, be a friend!
2. LibraryThing. Another social networking site similar to Goodreads. After you've signed up, you can enter to win advance copies on their Early Reviewers page. And they also have a Member Giveaways page where members can give away new or used books. Once again, in most cases they do request that you review the books. You can do this on their site - no blog necessary.
I've not spent much time here, but have won FIVE books on the Member Giveaways page in less than a month. You can find me as janemaritz.
3. Review the Book. My favorite source so far. The premise is simple - you request up to 5 books, and as you review them (and post your reviews on at least 10 sites), you can request additional books, so you have up to 5 books to review at a time. No blog necessary.
The site is easy to navigate, and you get the books you request - no lottery. It seems to be efficient, too - I got the first 4 books I requested within a week from signing up.
The catch? A $75 deposit. I'm trusting I'll get this back after a year of good behavior! And I do have 5 books already...
4. Net Galley. I'm not a huge fan of ebooks. Maybe if someone gave me an ebook reader...
However, I AM including Net Galley on this list because they have a great selection of Christian books available for book reviewers. Because they are eBooks, you're more likely to get a copy. And for those of you who don't have US addresses, this route may make a lot of sense...
For options 5-10, you MUST have an established blog on which you are willing to post reviews.
5. FIRST (or Fiction in Rather Short Takes) Blog Tours. Specializing in Christian books, they send emails letting you know when books are available for review and how to request them. If you are chosen for a review, you must post it, along with obligatory content they provide, on a specified day.
It takes a while to get into their review cycle, but I'm expecting a book any day now that is scheduled for a September tour.
6. Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers. Once you're approved as a blogger, you can request one book at a time for review. The selection is not large, but it fits the Christian genre I'm looking for perfectly...
I've been approved and am told the first book is in the mail.
7. Tyndale Blog Network. A few more books available here than on the previous site, and you can request multiple books for review once you've been approved. Once again, the Christian genre I'm looking for is a great match for this site.
I'm approved, and I requested multiple books on Monday. Still waiting for confirmation that these will be sent.
8. KidzBookBuzz.com. A blog tour site specializing in children's books.
I haven't been successful in signing up with them yet, but would really like the opportunity, since I'm looking for more books Esmé can help review.
9. Pump Up Your Book Promotion. You can sign up to be a tour host and then select which books you want to host. All subject to approval, of course. The options aren't huge, but they are diverse.
My first two review books came from here, so of course I am a big fan!
10. Book Blogs. A social networking site for people who blog about books.
I wasn't really expecting much when I signed up this week, but I've had several authors contact me already, and one review book on the way.
Now for some general giveaways - no reviews or blogs required!
11. Brimful Curiosities. Check in here for a roundup of children's book giveaways on Mondays and Fridays.
12. Book Giveaways. I like this blog since it is focused on giveaways only. No other posts to filter through.
13. My Right Sidebar. There are tons of book giveaways out there. I've started a list of what seem to be family-friendly book giveaways on my right sidebar - take a look!
If you would be interested in a weekly post of family-friendly giveaways that don't require you to do a lot of research before entering (which mom has the time, really?), leave a comment and let me know. I just might start this if there is interest...
There you have it in 13! Everything it's taken me a month to figure out... And if you've got additional sources you'd recommend, please let me know!
I've been told you can just ask the publisher for a specific book to review, but I haven't been brave enough to try this yet. If you want to do so, here's a list of publisher information.
And of course, if you don't mind giving the books back, don't forget the local library for a great source of free reading!
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Thanks to Samulli for the Thursday 13 header...