Professional Book Reviews
How do you get book reviews so you are ready to begin marketing your book to readers and retailers?
One key step for self-publishing authors in their marketing efforts is to get professional book reviews. Professional reviews are important to attracting potential readers – they will feature prominently on your Amazon page, and brick and mortar retailers are more likely to stock your book if it comes with at least one professional review.
However, many professional markets do not review self-published books. The traditional book industry has the advantage of access to networks of professional reviewers, many of whom write for well-respected trade publications. These kinds of reviews offer significant advantages.
Independent, self-publishing authors may have to work a little harder to get trusted, professional reviews for their books – but it is well worth the effort.
Paid services are an option, but there are also free and inexpensive options for getting book reviews. To get the most out of these services, make you’re your writing is high quality (a good policy in any case) and make sure to allow time for your book review, especially if you’re hoping to use one of the free services.
Publishers Weekly, well known for their reviews of traditionally published books, also reviews self-published authors. These books are normally reviewed in the magazine’s companion, PW Select. While these reviews had been a paid service, they are now free to self-publishing authors. Unlike their reviews of books from big publishers, PS Select will review your book after its been published. To qualify, your book must be already available in the US.
To get your book reviewed in PW Select, go to their website and register your book. Not every book will be selected for a review – there are too many submissions to review them all. But it is worth trying, as the free PW reviews are syndicated to Amazon, iBooks, Google, and Barnes & Noble. A good review from PW Select offers your book a great deal of exposure and credibility.
Readers’ Favorite offers free reviews, as well as paid “Express Reviews” for authors. They provide hundreds, and sometimes thousands of reviews each month, many of them at no charge. Reviews are posted on their site, as well as on Google Books, Barnes & Noble, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Only 4 and 5 star reviews are posted – if your book receives a poor review, they will instead provide you with constructive criticism for your writing. According to their website, they were the first company to offer this service, as part of their focus on helping independent authors.
Foreword Magazine has a 15-year history of independent book reviews, including for self-publishing authors. However, they only include 150 reviews per issue, and issues are only published four times each year. This means you will truly have to play your cards right to get your book reviewed by Foreword for free. Besides the golden rule of making sure your writing, editing, and design are as good as they can be, submit your book four months ahead of its publication and include title, category, author, ISBN, format, page count, price, publication date, and description, along with publicity information such as author bio. To be reviewed by Foreword, your book must have a print edition available, although they will accept digital copies for reviews.
Digital copies can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and an address to send print copies is available here.
Foreword’s editors and reviewers also offer paid Clarion Reviews. For a fee of 499 dollars, you can be sure to receive a 450 word review, including a quote for marketing, within 4 to 6 weeks.
Midwest Book Review
Another highly-regarded publication that offers free reviews of self-published books is Midwest Book Review. After publication, send two print copies of your book, with a cover sheet that includes price, ISBN, description, title, and other important information. Also try to include a press kit or publicity letter with information on you as an author, along with contact information.
For a 50-dollar fee, they will also review digital copies. For this service, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with “Reader Fee Request” as the subject line, and offer details on your book.
For a paid review that is still about half as expensive as many other services, try Indiereader.com. For 225 dollars, Indiereader will review your book with a 7 to 9 week turnaround. If your book is given a 4 or 5 star review, they will include it in a monthly “Best Of” list, which is featured in Huffington Post. You will also be invited to do an “All About the Book” interview, offering increased visibility. Reviews from Indiereader are between 350 and 400 words.
Get Your Book Reviewed
For some authors, it will be worth a fee for quicker turnaround and the certainty of getting your book reviewed. For authors on a tighter budget, it could be worth trying your luck with free services. In any case, getting professional reviews for your book is one of the key steps to marketing your book in an increasingly flooded market of self-published material.