Question: How can we get a review in a newspaper or magazine? Libraries rely on these reviews before choosing to order copies of my books.

 

Answer:

Book reviews are an essential element when trying to increase interest in your book, whether building awareness among readers, or getting libraries and bookstores to consider your book for placement. There are two main types of book reviews: consumer or reader reviews on websites like Amazon and Goodreads, and independent, professional reviews from reputable outlets like newspapers and trade magazines or online journals.Librarians rely on professional, independent book reviews when making their selections.

You are correct that librarians and other book buyers rely on professional book reviews to help make their purchasing decisions. Librarians in charge of collection development don't have the time to go through all of the catalogs of books available, so they look to well-known, trusted sources to guide their acquisitions. Below are five of their top book review sources, along with a link to several more, and some general tips on how to get your book reviewed by these outlets.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE! Before you try to acquire professional reviews, make sure your book meets all of the other requirements set forth by libraries. There are quite a few. The less work librarians have to do to bring your book in, the more likely they are to consider it for their collection. Having professional reviews may not be enough if your book doesn’t meet certain standards.


Booklist

Booklist is the official book review journal for the American Library Association and has been in publication for more than 100 years. It is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy. Booklist Online is the digital version of the print magazine where subscribers can gain full access to the database of content and reviews, including more than 180,000 reviews and 8,000 new reviews covering all genres. In addition to the premiere magazine, Booklist also publishes Booklist Reader, a new library patron–facing magazine, featuring diverse readers' advisory recommendations for readers of all ages.

Booklist is a pre-publication journal and only considers books submitted 15 weeks in advance of the release date. If you would like to submit your book for consideration in their selection process, you can visit their “Get Reviewed page. Booklist does accept submissions for self-published titles in all genres, but also encourages self-published authors to submit to their partner BlueInk Review, due to the volume of submissions they receive each year. BlueInk Review is a fee-for-review service that offers a guaranteed honest appraisal, written by professionals drawn largely from mainstream media outlets or editors who have worked at well-respected publishing houses. If your book is already self-published, this submission outlet might be a good option for you.

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews is one of the more widely recognized names in the book review world and has been in business since 1933. The Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit and is one of the most coveted designations in the book industry. A subscription to Kirkus Reviews includes two issues two per month with more than 8,000 book reviews per year. It offers both print and digital subscriptions to users.

Kirkus will accept review submissions for traditionally published titles that are four to five months in advance of the release date. Books from a hybrid publisher with national distribution may also be submitted.

Self-published and independently published authors are encouraged to submit through the Kirkus Indie fee-for-review program. Kirkus Indie reviewers are experienced professionals who honestly and impartially evaluate the books they receive. Participating authors are guaranteed a fair, unbiased assessment of the book and its potential in the marketplace. To learn more about Kirkus Indie submissions click here.

Library Journal

Library Journal was established 140 years ago to be an advocate, resource, and support system for libraries. The journal’s print publication is released monthly and features 250 – 350 reviews in each issue. It offers both a print and digital subscription option to users.

Library Journal reviews new general trade books, original paperbacks, e-originals, graphic novels, reference books, and professional development titles. It does not review books for teens and children, but its sister publication, School Library Journal, focuses on these categories of books. Review selections are based on national interest and submissions should be received six months prior to the release date. You can find out more about their submission process here.

To highlight independent and self-published titles, Library Journal has partnered with Indie Author Project to help libraries find the best indie books and share them with their patrons.

Book review journals like Publisher's Weekly are trusted by librarians and book sellers and guide their buying decisions..Publisher’s Weekly

Publisher’s Weekly is known in the book world as “the bible of the book business.” Celebrating its 150th anniversary, PW’s website offers feature articles and news on all aspects of the book business, bestsellers lists in a number of categories, and industry statistics, but its best-known service is book reviews, of which it publishes nearly 9,000 per year. It offers both a print and digital subscription option to users.

Publisher’s Weekly accepts review submissions from both traditionally published and self-published authors four months prior to the release date, but encourages self-published authors to submit through BookLife, their division that is dedicated to self-published authors and writers. In 2019, BookLife Reviews launched as a paid review service for self-published authors who want to guarantee receiving an objective review of their book.

Foreword Reviews

Foreword Reviews is an award-winning journal exclusively dedicated to reviewing books from independent publishers, university presses, and self-publishers for over 20 years. It is released bi-monthly and each issue features over 100 book reviews. It offers a print or digital subscription, but is free for librarians, booksellers, and agents.

To be considered for a review in Foreword Reviews, authors must submit their materials four months in advance of the release date. You can find out more about their submission and selection process here. If your book is already published, you can submit to their paid review service, Clarion Reviews, which is one of the trusted fee-for-review services in the industry.

For a list of additional, reputable book review outlets, you can visit New Shelves Books’ blog post, “Book Review Sites To Help You Get Into Libraries & Stores”.


Tips for Getting Professional Book Reviews

It can be challenging and very competitive to get a professional book review since only a small percent of book submissions are chosen each year by these outlets. For self-published or independently published books, it’s especially important to do your research and find the outlets that are more likely to consider a submission from an independent author. If you’ve already published your book, you will need to search to find outlets like the few mentioned above that accept previously published books. 

Once you’ve identified the outlets you wish to submit to, make sure you understand and follow ALL submission guidelines. These guidelines can differ greatly between outlets. It will be a big strike against you if your submission contains errors, unnecessary details, or missing information.

Be sure to follow the submission guidelines when submitting your book for review.

If an outlet requires a fee in exchange for a guaranteed review, do your research to make sure they are reputable and are a trusted source for libraries and other book buyers. Some lesser-known, paid review services are considered unreliable because the reviews are not believed to be objective. While we hope you never receive a discouraging review of your book, please be aware that reputable outlets will provide a completely honest, unbiased review, positive or negative.

Don’t Forget to Use the Reviews in Your Marketing!

Once you’ve acquired some positive professional reviews, be sure to use them to your advantage. Not only do libraries and bookstores give weight to these reviews, but many readers and other industry decision-makers do as well. These types of accolades may help you get media attention, speaking opportunities, additional distribution, and more sales! Here are eight ways to use these reviews in your marketing efforts:

  1.  Add to your book cover and/or inside front matter
  2.  Include on your author website
  3.  Share on social media
  4.  Use excerpts in promotions and advertising
  5.  Add a few to your author one sheet/sell sheet in your media kit
  6.  Include in the Description or Editorial sections of your Amazon book page
  7.  Add a snippet to your email signature
  8.  Include excerpts on marketing materials such as bookmarks and postcards

Industry professionals, readers, and even search engine algorithms find great value in book reviews. The more positive book reviews you have, the more attention and opportunities your book will receive, ultimately leading to more sales. If garnering both reader and professional book reviews isn’t a part of your current marketing strategy, it should be going forward!

 

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  • This article was very insightful and I so glad I found it. I'm about to move into the marketing phase of getting my book published at a self-publishing company and need to know everything I can about getting it ready for the real world. In my opinion, respected reviews are critical to launching a new writing career.

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