Everyone LOVES a free book, right? We've been running Toppsta for four years (eek!) and since day one we have run giveaways where anyone in the UK and Ireland, can enter to win and review a free book for us. As new users join each day, I'm often asked how you can improve your chances of winning a giveaway.
You can see all our giveaways here and it's easy to enter. Just register and then enter each one you're interested in reviewing. You will need to enter your delivery address each time, we do not store addresses. I'm often asked if we allow schools, teachers and librarians to enter giveaways and it's a big YES from us because we love getting multiple reviews from children or class reviews. We also have also have a KS1 and KS2 book review template you can use in class.
New giveaways usually go live on a Monday and close at midnight on a Tuesday, meaning we choose winners on a Wednesday. Choosing winners is an extremely important and time-consuming task for us, we really take care to try and choose children who we think will really enjoy each book. We look at previous books you've read and try to work out if this is something you might enjoy, even if it's very different to what you've read previously. Some book giveaways have hundreds of entries, so I thought it was time we shared some of the ways you can increase your chances of winning one of our books.
1. Publishers, authors and illustrators give away these books because they love reading the reviews and want to be able to share the reviews you write, to encourage other readers to try the book too. So if you win a giveaway it's really important that you review the book. If you don't intend to provide a review please don't enter a giveaway.
2. Make your reviews as helpful as possible and give as many details as you can (without just telling the story of the book). Why did you like it? How did it make you feel? Was it exciting or funny or sad? You can see top tips for writing a book review here. The quality of the review is really important to us, writing lots of short reviews will not increase your chances of winning giveaways. The review doesn't need to be pages and pages long and if a child is writing the review we take that into account, but it does need to be helpful for other readers.
3. Write reviews of other books you're reading. Though it's important to review the books you've won via Toppsta, we're looking for reviewers who share their other recommendations with the community. We love hearing about books we're not familiar with and with over 10,000 new children's books published each year (just in the UK!) we rely on you to help us discover new books too. You can add a book review here: https://toppsta.com/books/revi... (login required)
4. Don't worry if you didn't like the book. As long as your review is constructive (ie you tell us why you didn't like it) it will be helpful to the author/illustrator/publisher and other readers. We're looking for honest reviews not just positive reviews. If you win a book and don't review it at all, it will impact how likely you are to win other books. A couple of lines on why it wasn't for you (and perhaps who might enjoy it?) is all we need.
5. Like many adults I LOVE reading children's books. We really enjoy reading reviews of books by parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians. However, the giveaways are really meant for children. If you win a giveaway we ask that you pass it on to a child to get their opinion. We do make some exceptions (if you're writing lots of reviews of other books or write particularly good reviews) but our priority is to get the books into the hands of children.
6. Though we're looking for a child's opinion on the book, it doesn't matter if you read the book to a child or if the child reads the book themselves. I love reading to my children and I encourage everyone to read to children as often as you can, whether the children can read independently or not.
7. It doesn't matter who actually writes the review. If a child is reluctant to write a review, feel free to ask their opinion and you can add it to the website. Just make sure you choose the correct options in the review page, ie did the child read the book themselves or did someone read it to them? If you write a review as if an adult read and reviewed the book, it may impact your chances of winning a giveaway.
8. If you win a giveaway and the book hasn't arrived, please don't add a review just so that you can win another giveaway. This is not in the spirit of Toppsta and it may impact your chances of winning another giveaway.
And please be patient. Publishers give these books away for free, so we ask that you always allow two weeks for them to send you the book (that's two weeks after you've received your email notification to say that you've won). If, after two weeks, the book still hasn't arrived, please email with i) the title of the book, ii) the date when you were notified of your win and iii) the address you submitted for the giveaway. Or if you've reviewed a book but it's still showing as "Review Missing" or the book never turned up, email us [email protected] and we'll help if we can.
9. Make sure your profile is complete ie you have added the ages of your children so we can see if your children are approximately the right age. We don't stick too rigidly to the ages provided by the publisher but we do use it as a guide. If you don't provide children's ages we may assume you won't be reading it to a child.
10. This is your opportunity to share the books you love (or hate!). There is no judgement here and no rush. There is no "Like" button because I want everyone to feel that their opinion is valid. And there is no rush to finish a book, just enjoy it in your own time. Our children's books by age pages shows that picture books are enjoyed well into teenage years (and beyond!) so whichever books you enjoy reading we want to hear about them. Thank you for helping other readers discover new authors, new series and hidden gems.