Okay, so I get quite a lot of comments and DMs asking me how I get free books from publishers/authors, and products from this and that company. But before you get excited about this, I have to personally restrain you if you are planning to do this for the rest of your social media-ing life.😝 Yes, it is definitely nice to receive awesome things that you do not need to pay for, but it can sometimes appear less credible if it is happening ALL THE TIME. Others will see the bias in there when you promote stuffs that you got for free on your EVERY.SINGLE. blog post, or Tweet or Instagram photos. Worst, they would think you just do that to get MORE free stuffs, and would not believe you when you say you REALLY love the product. So my advice, is to consider promoting things that you only genuinely love and believe in. 🙂 And NO. I don’t get paid to promote books and stuffs.
So with all these things in mind, here are a few points that I can share with you as to how I get free books (and other stuffs) through Instagram.
Post honest reviews regularly and come up with a review policy
This is to consider if you want to receive books in particular. Publishers and even authors will directly contact you if they see you post reviews of books that you have read recently. On my part though, I don’t say yes to every free book/ARCs offer – and that is something that you should also consider. You wouldn’t want to be reading erotica thingys if you are greatly uncomfortable with that. So I have a review and rating policy specified on my blog that I only consider particular genres and the time constraint is really something that matters to me. I do not like to compete with other reviewers to get a hundred free books but only skim read most of them. As much as possible, I’d like to take my time with the book. So if time is of a matter to a publisher or an author then I would have to nicely say no.
Work on your feed
Before I even had my blog, I am a regular Instagrammer. And in time, I’ve managed to work on my feed. That should be one of your main goal. Get a theme and work your way on it. Okay, I won’t be sh*tt*ng on you and say follower count isn’t important, but I would like to believe (based on experience) that companies consider feed more than your follower base. It doesn’t hurt their reputation to give out their products to people who work hard to develop their own feeds. They can repost your picture without worrying if it looks off because well, your feed speaks for itself. So that is really an advantage point. I always consider my own feed a work in progress. I don’t like to settle. I’d love to discover ways on how to make it more interesting and appealing, and yet at the same time, it still speaks to who I am and what I love. That should be a key point.
Interact with your followers
I also believe that companies/publishers admire accounts that interact with their followers. Interacting can be as simple as saying “thank you” to a word of kindness, or answering their questions about the what brand of pen you used, etc. It means that you value them enough to spare a minute of your attention and that for me is really important. These companies will see, that should they ever consider to collaborate with you, they’ll know that you will answer to inquiries of your followers about their products/books. Although I can personally attest that replying to every single comment is nearly impossible (and well yeah sometimes annoying if it’s repetitive) so address your followers to also make it a habit to read your captions (because most of the time, all their asking for is in the caption already).
Be bold enough to ask
Okay, there goes a saying that if you really want it, then go for it. This one takes guts but well – no guts, no glory 🙂 I don’t particularly do this much often but I don’t discourage you to do it if you want to. If there is a book that you are dying to get but you don’t have enough savings then professionally and nicely ask for if you can have it reviewed. If there is a product that you are itching to try out but have no means of getting it all by yourself (because your wallet is done with it) then request if you could collaborate. But of course you have to work hard on your account first and guys, it won’t happen magically over night. Publishers and companies will diplomatically reject you if they do not deem you fit to sponsor with, but you don’t need to take it personally. Take it as a challenge for you to improve what you have. 🙂
And there you have it. I don’t do that much to be honest, just remember to
Always be genuine.
Consider that and people will believe you. Also remember that your feed is yours. Yes it’s sweet that people recommend things that they’d like to see with what you do or post but it’s your thing and that should not be forgotten. Be yourself and do not be a robotic people pleaser. If you love a book or a product so much and you want to talk about them from time to time (sponsored or not); or saying the opposite like you freaking hate them, and some people are annoyed then don’t stress yourself too much and let them be. What’s important is that you are true to your word and people will know, believe me. You’ll lose a few of your followers along the way but the ones who likes you truly for who you are – free stuffs or whatever – will stay:)
These are my thoughts about this topic and there are a lot of other bloggers out there who also have different approaches. There are others who sign up for sites who gives out free books in exchange for reviews (like Goodreads and NetGalley), others participate in blog tours, and join book clubs, etc. Should you have any more insights about this then leave a comment, i’d also love to hear about it!
Till next time!