How to Start a Book Blog: Proof Copies, Part 1

Whether you’re familiar with the blogging community via Instagram, Twitter or the blogs themselves you’ll have seen bloggers getting giddy over their book post. Proof copies, early finished copies, and e-galleys are everywhere, and they’re incredibly exciting. But where do you start?

i don't know what this means

We’ve got a very important PSA before we continue: don’t start blogging just to get free books.

Okay, and now that’s out of the way, let’s go!

Establish Yourself

Before you even start thinking about proof copies, you need to have found your feet with your blog. We recommend having been a consistent book blogger for at least three months before approaching anyone for books.

This allows you to find your feet, work out your schedule and figure out if book blogging is really for you. Read and review the books on your shelves, the books you buy and borrow from the library.

This time also lets you to start mix with other bloggers and publishers on Twitter, Instagram etc. Nothing will get you books faster than just engaging with people and sharing your excitement.

But I don’t mean tagging authors and publishers begging for books or proofs, just get involved. Then when your name pops up in a NetGalley request or an email, they recognise you as a friendly, enthusiastic blogger.

hello from the outside

The Lingo

Proof copies = books printed especially for reviewers. They’re an earlier draft of the book you find in a bookshop so sometimes have spelling errors, formatting quirks or are missing acknowledgements, a dedication etc.

E-galleys = these are exactly the same as proof copies, but they’re digital editions. So PDFs, e-mobi or Kindle files that are usually an even earlier draft than a physical proof.


When you’re starting out, e-galleys should be your first stop.

It’s a lot easier to get e-galleys as there are more of them and there are no shipping or printing costs, and there are three brilliant websites that publishers use to let bloggers and other reviewers request them.


NetGalley is the biggest and most popular platform for requesting e-galleys. NetGalley features thousands of galleys from hundreds of publishers all over the world that anyone who reads and recommends books can request. Publishers grant requests based on your review percentage (how many books you’ve downloaded vs how many you’ve reviewed on the site), your location, and whether it fits the categories you’ve said you’re interested in.

Top Tips

  1. Don’t get too click-happy. Your percentage will get too low for you to bring it back up and then no more approvals for you :(
  2. Try and link back your reviews to NetGalley around the month of release.
  3. You’ve got a much better chance of being approved if you request books from the publishers based in your country. Foreign rights sometimes mean foreign publishers can’t approve you even if they want to!


bookbridgr is a UK-based e-galley website that is run by the publishers, Headline, specifically for UK and ROI reviewers. bookbridgr allows you to request both digital and physical versions of books across loads of genres, though the selection isn’t as wide as on NetGalley. But what’s really cool about bookbridgr is that you can actually request extra content – blog tours, guest posts, author interviews – when you request the book. Snazzy, huh?


Edelweiss is largely a US-only version of NetGalley and bookbridgr, but we have been known to be approved for a few books on there! Edelweiss tends to focus on smaller, independent publishers as well as those with focuses outside of fiction. But every so often, a book will pop up on there that isn’t on NetGalley…

MP! Books You Review

We’re really good to you here at MP! Books and give you plenty of opportunities to win amazing books before they’re published. We also give away copies of books that you then get to review on the site. Make sure you look out for You Review on Twitter and the books channel – they look like this!



MP! isn’t the only place to win books! Publishers, authors, bloggers and other bookish sites have lots of competitions happening on Twitter, Instagram and their blogs – you’ve just got to keep your eyes peeled!

i want you to win

Requesting Proof Copies

Here comes the tricksy stuff!

Requesting proof copies from publishers is something that needs to happen with care. As we said earlier, make sure you’ve established yourself and been blogging for at least 3 months before you approach publicists about review copies.

On the website of every publisher you’ll find an email address for the publicity department. That’s the one you want. Send them an email introducing yourself and explaining to them that you’d love to be put on their mailing list. Make sure you state:

  • what genres/age ranges you read
  • maybe include a few of your favourite books that they publish
  • include your monthly blog stats
  • your URL
  • your postal address
  • your social media links

Give those poor, overworked publicists nothing to do except add you to their email list and send you some books!

You’ll quickly build relationships with publicists this way and it’s a tight knit community so you’ll soon find yourself getting emails from people and companies you yourself haven’t contacted. Then comes the surprise book post.


  1. Don’t ask authors for proofs! We can’t emphasise this one enough. Authors usually only get a few proofs of their novel, if they get any at all, and it’s really not fair to ask them to pay for shipping or to give their precious babies to you instead of their friends and family.
  2. Make sure you genuinely want to read it.
  3. Don’t nag anyone on Twitter/Instagram/blog comments.
  4. Will you actually review it?

Now you know everything you need to start your journey into proof copies. Go forth and read!

bookshop dance

Previous Posts in the Series

How to Start a Book Blog: The Basics

Coming Up!

How to Start a Book Blog: Proof Copies Part 2
How to Start a Book Blog: What Should I Write?
How to Start a Book Blog: Getting Author Content
How to Start a Book Blog: Blog Tours
How to Start a Book Blog: Running a Giveaway
and much more!

Is there anything about blogging you’d like explained? Let us know @maximumpopbooks!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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