Booktubers Don’t Want Free Books?

Booktubers Don’t Want Free Books?

Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.

Today I need you to bear with me, because I’m going to complain about a very first-world problem. Okay? And I know it’s a first-world problem. I recognize that. But I want to talk about it anyway.

It is very difficult to give free books to Booktubers. And book bloggers. And bookblrs, which is apparently what people who run Tumblr book blogs are called.

I’m not overly fond of that word, tbh. Not enough vowels. But that’s just me.

So a good thing to do to promote your book is to send it out to people who read and review books. They have an audience who they share their reviews with, and if they like your book, some of those people might want to buy it.

Even if the reviewer doesn’t like your book, the good ones usually try to be objective and say, “Listen, I didn’t like this book, but YOU might like it if you like X, Y, and Z.”

So for a long time now, Meghan has been going through YouTube and finding Booktubers and offering to send them a copy of Nightblade to read and review on their channel.

And the vast—I mean the vast majority of them—say no. No, scratch that! The vast majority of them never answer in the first place. And the ones who do answer, usually turn her down.

Now, I have to clarify a couple of things. First of all, we’re offering them a paperback, not an ebook file.

I could understand turning down an ebook file. Like, any crappy self-published author can offer a Booktuber an ebook file for no cost, and more often than not, it’s going to be some terrible, poorly-edited trash heap of a book.

But we’re offering a paperback, and let’s be honest, it’s a pretty good-looking book!

And I also want to clarify that I know we don’t, like, deserve attention or reviews from Booktubers. Right? We’re not entitled to anybody’s time.

But I’m genuinely perplexed. Because I’m a reader myself. I know that book budgets can be limited. I wish I had more money to buy books, and I’ll always take a free one as a gift.

It makes sense to me that not all of them read fantasy. But Meg searches out people who do generally read and review fantasy, and the result is usually the same.

We’ve also tried offering a second copy of the book that the reviewer can use to do a giveaway to their audience. I thought that was a pretty awesome idea. But it hasn’t changed responses at all.

I guess I would love to hear, if you’re a Booktuber or run a book blog, what makes a submission appealing to you? Or do you not prefer submissions? And if so, why is that the case?

Yes, I’m obviously asking for myself. But I’m also thinking about other indie authors. Because there’s a lot of good indie books out there, and it’s very hard to get ourselves out there.

It seems like indie authors and Booktubers could have a really great relationship and help grow each other’s audiences.

Because let me tell you, when one of my books DOES get reviewed, I definitely share it everywhere I possibly can, which is not something traditional authors usually do.

Unless they’re Neil Gaiman, but he is an outlier and should not be counted.

Indie authors are often the ones out there trying things that traditional authors with traditional publishers won’t touch.

We aren’t restrained by an industry that still thinks women shouldn’t write fantasy, and we shouldn’t have protagonists of color.

And Booktubers are THE MAIN ONES right now who are talking about things like the need for diversity in characters AND authors, and problematic tropes in book relationships.

But at the same time, I recognize that a large number of indie books—maybe the majority?—are … very, very rough to read. Heck, my books were rough to read before I started getting, like, an actual editor.

I’d just love to figure out some way to connect high quality indie authors and books with good Booktubers who care about the same sort of stuff we do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments, especially if you’re a Booktuber or a fan of Booktube. I feel like there’s got to be a way to do all this stuff better.

That’s my first-worldy problem for the day, Rebel. Subscribe if you haven’t already, check out another video from the channel up there or check out my Patreon right over there to support the videos.

Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you on Friday. Byyye!

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at

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