Nine Steps for Getting Started Writing Blog Book Reviews

Knowledge, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. Second ...

Bloggers are always looking for new and fresh ideas for keeping the content on their blog worthy of being read. Blogger, Gini Dietrich, has an excellent recent post on the topic. But readers are busy people and have an inordinate amount of content-bytes vying for their attention. 

Many have written about the need for blog content to demonstrate thought leadership. I think it’s fair to say that thought leaders aren’t born thought leaders. They’re knowledgeable in their fields because they continue to learn and question, read and listen. Their knowledge is acquired and shared.

So where do people learn? For one thing, face-to-face learning and online learning experiences are excellent sources. There are an ever-growing number of webinars and a tremendous amount of high quality free ones. Even so, one of my favorite ways to learn is still from books.

Industry books serve as excellent sources of content for high quality blog posts. There are many good resources on the web which provide guidelines for how to write a book review. After you read several it’s also good to read examples of reviews people have written on Amazon. No doubt you’ll find a formula which works for you.

So let’s say you’ve contemplated your first book review, even have written it and are feeling invigorated by the process of bringing a category book reviews to your blog, how can you keep the process going? That’s where review copies come in.

Nine Steps for Getting Started Writing Blog Book Reviews:


1. Check the list of new and noteworthy as well as upcoming books on a publisher’s website who publishes books you are interested in. e.g. If you write about computers, find a publisher who  publishes computer titles, If you write about business-related topics, find a publisher who publishes business  books.

2. Write to a publisher’s rep and request a review copy . Linda Formichelli put together a comprehensive list, Review Copy Helper, of publishers with contact information. Explain to the the rep that you are a blogger and that you’d like to read and review the book, and that not only will you write a post but that you’ll also promote online. From my experiences many publishers welcome the idea and are happy to fulfill your request.

3. After the review copy arrives take notes while you read the book and jot down a  list of questions and areas of interest

4. If you’re thinking about conducting an interview, contact the author on LinkedIn or on the author’s website to request a Q & A.

5. Write the post (approx. 500 words) and/or conduct a audio interview on a podcast.

6. Disclosure: Important to note that the Federal Trade Commission requires that bloggers disclose that the book was given to them as a review copy. So be sure to add a disclaimer in your post. (see Now in Blogs, Product Placement, NY Times, June 11, 2010)

7. Notify the publisher and author when the post is available online.

8. Get the word out about the post e.g. on your facebook page, twitter, delicious, stumbleupon, etc.

9. And the pièce de résistance–Write an online review on amazon and re-work a couple of paragraphs or take an excerpt and post the book review.

Have you been writing book reviews? Share your links here and any suggestions you would add to the nine steps.

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About Debbie Hemley

Social Media Blogger and Non-Fiction Writer http://debbiehemley.com
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4 Responses to Nine Steps for Getting Started Writing Blog Book Reviews

  1. Sidneyeve says:

    This is a great how-to post, and I can see it being really useful to teachers who are planning an online writing assignment.
    Thank you!

  2. Sidneyeve,

    Thanks for stopping by All the News. Glad you found the post helpful.

    –Debbie

  3. Well, crap. Just when I think I have it down, you come along and say, “Hey moron! Don’t forget to write a review for Amazon.”

    Really, really great ideas for adding content to your own blog. Thanks for the reminder!!

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