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Instead of singing for your supper, how about blogging for books?

Sorry, there’s no illegal whiskey involved.

This post is aimed at people who blog, or have a podcast, or in some other way like to express themselves online. If you are not such a person, feel free to skip this, unless you’d like a peek into how book marketing works…

My irrepressible friend Mike Morrell is a publicist who promotes progressive Christian books. One of the ways he does this is by seeking bloggers who would be willing to read his client’s books and write reviews on their blogs. He did this kind of thing for a number of years under the aegis of a prominent progressive Christian website, but recently he has formed his own venture called The Speakeasy. He’s asked me to help get the word out, and so here I go.

It’s a very straightforward deal. Publishers want bloggers to write about their books. Bloggers are always looking for topics to write about. And anyone who loves books would, I suppose, be up for getting some books for free. This is the calculus which drives this program.

If you are approved for membership in The Speakeasy, you will be given access to Mike’s database of books. You pick the one(s) you want, and he sends you a copy (either hard copy or ebook). In exchange, he asks you to read it and write an honest review/response on your blog within thirty days. The honest part is important: this whole program rests on credibility; your readers/listeners need you to be candid with them, and the publishers understand that even a bad review is better than no review.

It’s a pretty sweet deal: there’s no cost to the blogger/podcaster other than your time. You choose what books are sent to you, and you can get as many, or as few, books as you want (I think to stay in the program you need to review at least one a year, and of course, you need to actually review the books you get in order to keep getting new ones). The only catch (which is really an FTC requirement) is that you would need to disclose on the blog that you were supplied a free review copy of the book.

The Speakeasy promotes a wide variety of books, from serious theology to social justice to fiction, although the center of gravity is definitely progressive Christian. Part of why I’m willing to publicly promote this is because Mike is committed to promoting contemplative books, as well as titles related to Celtic spirituality. Full disclosure: he’s promoted two books of mine previously, and we’re negotiating to see if he’ll do my new one as well. Aside from me, he has had some big name authors on his client list, like Brian McLaren, N. T. Wright, and Wm. Paul Young. So this really is a great way for bloggers to have access to some really exciting new books.

Anyway, if you think this might work for you, here’s the link to apply for the program: http://thespeakeasy.info. And even if you are not a blogger, but know someone who is, please pass this on.

Thanks!

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