My greatest discovery has been Net Galley – here are the badges I have earned reading books (FOR FREE) and then providing feedback. So yes, call me a book geek – I don’t care. Did I mention FREE books!!!
Here is how it works – you go to https://www.netgalley.com/ and create a FREE account. Basically the publishers use the site to get feedback and build “buzz” for their books before they are published. Publishers decide whether to grant you access to the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) based on how much exposure you can offer the book. There are different types of Reviewers, I selected Consumer Reviewer, meaning I add reviews to Goodreads, Amazon etc. I also added the link to this blog, just for good measure. So folks with well developed blogs with lots of followers, so called Influencers, will get approved for big name authors. However, I have received my fair share of great books like; Lost Roses and Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly, The Garden of Promises and Lies and The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston, and many others that were written by well known authors. And, I have discovered some truly wonderful books and authors like; The Library Book by Susan Orlean (the very first book I was approved for), Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts and Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Market.
Once you have an account you can select categories of books that you are interested in reading which helps to narrow down the selections, because there are A LOT of books out there. Then you can browse and select books you would like to read, submit the request and wait. Sometimes the request is processed quickly and sometimes not so fast. Occasionally you will think you you won’t get access then suddenly get approved. I have been approved for 122 books since I started, but declined for 45. At first it really kinda made me upset when I was declined and so I decided I simply would refuse to read the book when it was published – that would show them. But somehow saner thoughts prevailed and I just accepted that I am happy with the books I do get approved for, and diligently post my reviews for each one. As you build up your profile with more reviews you will start to get approved for more books. And if you select a few Favorite Publishers, request books from them and write a well thought out review for each one, they will start to give you more approvals.
One catch is that you have to read them on an e-reader, no real books. Bottom line, it is great to get access to the books before they are published and I think I mentioned they are FREE! FREE! FREE! Give it a try, you have nothing to lose.