When I moved to the Portland area from Thailand, all the books I had in my library were those I had with me in my backpack. In the last four years this number of books has grown and grown until it now takes more than 20 sizable boxes to move my library. During this time I have read thousands of books and spent very little money doing it. This is fortunate, as the amount of money garnished from my paycheck to repay old college loans has put a major damper on my book-purchasing bud Yet this has barely hindered my efforts to become a subject matter expert my many areas of personal and professional interest. Even so, I have published book reviews in numerous scholarly forums and acquired a reputation as a prolific book reviewer for several publishers. I have also written enough book reviews that some friends of mine keep pestering me to turn those reviews into book projects. Nor am I alone in this, as a friend of mine who is a homeschooling housewife and mother has parlayed a love of reading into expertise in the subgenre of Amish romance novels. How can you achieve the success of being a recognized subject matter expert without spending a great deal of money in doing it? Today I would like to share some tips from my own experience as well as those I have known personally or professionally, in order of their ease of entry:
- Become a fan of your local library. Developing a familiarity with many books is easy when one checks them out of the library for free. Random browsing online for holds or in a branch library can be a source of new and exciting reads.
- Use one’s reading to spur further reading. Look at the bibliography sections of books to obtain information on what books to read next.
- Join blog reviewing programs. Committing to reading and reviewing books can help you become a recognized subject matter expert in genres one wants to read. This can help you develop your blog while also becoming recognized for your insights on current reading.
- Query scholarly journals for book review assignments. Many journals require books to be read and reviewed within 90 days of receipt. Even so, the rewards are worthwhile in developing a reputation for being a knowledgeable reader and writer.
- Join professional societies. Many professional societies have regular meetings where books and other materials are given away. Additionally, the costs for joining such societies may be paid for through your job.
Do any of these tips resonate with you? Are you already engaging in activities that can turn into opportunities for personal or professional development? If so, consider taking advantage of ways to become an expert in your areas of interest through asking for books or joining programs and societies in order to gain expertise and free research material. The results may exceed your wildest dreams.