You have an addiction. Slightly more socially acceptable than hard drugs but still looked down on as an isolating and time-wasting hobby by some: reading. Once you’ve had that first hit, it’s tough to go back, but who the hell wants to?
If you’re one of those people who’s always reading, you’re probably always looking for something new to put in your to-read pile (even if your to-read pile is already two storeys high.) No feeling compares to buying a new book you’re sure you’ll enjoy, but they can put a bit of a strain on your bank account after the fiftieth impulse buy.
Here’s the good news for all you serial readers out there: if you know where to look, you can fill up your personal e-library for free with some good quality works. Hallelujah! Read closely my lovely bookworms, here are four tried and tested ways of getting access to free e-books.
Become an Advanced Reader
There are hundreds of thousands of authors out there and many of them will look for “advanced readers” before the release of their books. The role of an advanced reader is to read a finished copy of a book and provide an unbiased review ahead of the book’s release. This way, the author can garner a few reviews to show off before the big day arrives.
The chances of becoming an advanced reader for John Grisham are about as good as a lottery win (what’s the
difference, really?) but there are still plenty of good books to read by talented, unknown authors looking to make a name for themselves.
Narrow down your favourite genres and follow authors online who write in those genres. When the time is right and release date is looming, offer your services as an advanced reader and hope for the best. Before long you’ll be rolling in free books and all in exchange for your honest opinion.
Become a Beta-Reader
Unlike advanced reading, beta-reading requires a bit more than an honest review. When an author asks for the services of a beta-reader, they are asking for fairly detailed criticism and advice as to how they can improve their manuscript. The book you receive to beta-read will be unpolished and possibly riddled with errors.
The fun part? You get to help finish the book and it will only be released into the world thanks to your efforts. If you’re writing your own book, beta-reading is hugely helpful to sharpen your editing skills and identifying plot holes and other manuscript issues. Although beta-reading isn’t quite the same as curling up and reading a finished book, it may be hugely helpful to the authors you read for and there’s every chance you learn a thing or two about how your favourite books became the masterpieces they are.
Go Holiday Hunting
Holidays are the best time to get free books. To celebrate Christmas, New Year and everything in between, many authors will either discount their books or rip the price tag off completely. Christmas, Easter, New Year and Thanksgiving tend to be the most popular holidays for discounts and freebies, but watch out for the authors’ birthdays and the anniversaries of their books release date – they’re often winners too.
Follow your favourite authors and join social media groups that promote books in your favourite genre. During the holidays, there’ll be a smorgasbord of books to choose from as authors lay out the promotions.
Join E-mail Lists
If there’s one thing authors love, it’s building their e-mail lists. Nothing gets a publisher’s attention like a nice, big following. To attract people to their e-mail lists authors may offer free novels or short story collections for signing up. Pick out authors from your favourite genre, find their website and sign up to their e-mail list: you’ll be sure to get some free goodies in your inbox before the day is out. FYI, I’ve got a free urban fantasy short story for you right here.
Free books are still judged a little harshly, and we come to expect quality issues with any literature given away for free (that isn’t 200 years old.) By using these tried and tested methods, you can help yourself to all the free reads you could ask for. Get ready to re-stock your Kindles!