You said in a recent question that you used to be a book reviewer. I was just wondering, how did you get into that? Did you start with a blog or something?
Yes, I started with a blog. Actually, I was a freelance writer. I've been freelancing articles, book chapters and other assorted online texts for people since I was 16. I had a decent web premise, a nice body of clientele and an impressive portfolio. When I got my first job at BYU I discovered that my coworker was one of the top book bloggers in Utah. She regularly coordinated book signings with authors and agents, received free books and enjoyed all of the perks of being a well known book blogger. We became good friends and when she stumbled across one of my more prominent freelanced articles she invited me to review books with her.
I ended up being a big hit on her blog and when she was finishing up her degree she left the site largely to me for a length of time. During that time I received lots of books, hung out with Shannon Hale and Veronica Roth and mostly just moonlighted as a book reviewer. I used a pseudonym, as many book reviewers do, so eventually when my friend came back to her site it was easy for me to step aside, hang up the mantle and focus on the million other things that started cropping up. I had enjoyed it, but in the end, despite all of the perks, the community and work weren't what I was passionate about.
I will say this though: it takes a TON of work to actually get free books from publishers. You must have a sizeable audience, a decent presence and some sway on several major websites (think Goodreads or Amazon) and you basically have to pester publishers politely (never get whiny!) and take what they first start sending you. I have plenty of absolutely awful ARC's cluttering my shelves that I had to read and review anyway, before I started getting nice things, like an ARC of Insurgent.