For authors working with traditional publishing companies, a trade review offers a time-tested path to attaining book reviews that come with prestige and considerable reach, to boost your book’s profile within industry and trade circles.
This is helpful for all authors, but is especially essential for authors in certain genres that rely on attention from industry publications, to reach teachers, librarians, booksellers, and traditional media outlets. Certain genres, such as children’s literature, are still heavily reliant on this kind of coverage to reach their target audience. Non-genre literature is another example. If you are working with a major publishing company, chances are these reviewers will be your first stop for reviews.
Not so long ago, almost all professional book reviews came from trade publications like these. Despite the rise of non-trade reviewers for indie and self-publishing authors, many authors and publishers still rely on these sources for professional reviews.
But remember, if your book is not selected for review, many non-trade reviewers also provide reviews to authors whose traditionally published books were passed over by these trade reviewers. And those reviewers often accept books after they have already been published. So, if your book is not chosen for a review from one of these sources, don’t fret!
Trade Review Publications
Among the foremost trade reviewers, Kirkus Review offers reviews of that are posted in their magazine, email newsletter, and on their website. Kirkus provides about 10,000 reviews each year, and provides advertising services in addition to their review service. They ask for submissions 4 to 5 months before the publication date.
According to Kirkus, their reviews are “distributed to a targeted industry readership of librarians, booksellers and publishing professionals, our website audience is dominated by consumers actively searching for books to buy, and our email newsletter subscriber base is made up of both industry buyers and consumers.”
The submissions process varies for each genre, and more information can be found here, on their website.
Reviews from Kirkus are 300 words or more in length.
Another leading trade review publication is Publisher’s Weekly, which publishes reviews of roughly 9,000 books each year. Submissions should arrive ideally 4 months, but a minimum of 3 months, before the publication date. Submissions should come from publishers or freelance publicists.
Their reviews are posted on their website and in their magazine. As one of the most respected trade review publications, Publisher’s Weekly magazine circulates to publishers, libraries, booksellers, authors, and literary agents. It has been published continuously since 1872.
Submission guidelines can be found here.
BookPage is another trade-review service, which, like Kirkus, also offers 300-word reviews. These are printed first in their magazine before being posted online. They publish about 600 reviews annually, and also offer advertising services and magazine subscriptions. Submissions are expected 3 months before the publication date.
Their magazine is “distributed to 400,000 avid readers through subscribing bookstores and public libraries.”
As with most other trade reviewers, BookPage does not accept submissions of self-published books, print-on-demand books, or those that lack major distribution deals.
Information on the submissions process is available here. Submissions should include your galley, a letter with the name and contact information of a publicity contact, as well as the book’s publication date, price, number of pages, and ISBN number.
Library Journal selects books that are of interest to a “broad spectrum of libraries,” including a range of genres, with the notable exceptions of textbooks, children’s books, and highly specialized or technical books. Reviews from Library Journal are on the shorter side at 175 to 200 words, and are distributed via the Library Journal Magazine and their website. They review about 8000 books each year, and offer advertising services and magazine subscriptions.
Library Journal aims to receive submissions 3 to 4 months before publication, allowing them ample time to publish reviews before the books are published.
Reviews will include a thesis describing the content of the book, critique of both content and execution, a description of the reader’s experience with the book, and an indication of what audience of readers will most appreciate the book.
Submissions should include a letter with contact information for your publisher, your book’s publication date, price, number of pages, ISBN number, as well as an LC number if available, a brief description of the book and its intended audience, some information on the author, and an indication of whether illustrations, an index, or a bibliography are included in the submission.
More information, as well as an address to send submissions, is available here.
School Library Journal
School Library Journal is geared toward reviewing children’s and young adult literature and reference books, for an audience of educators and librarians. Reviews are between 200 and 250 words in length, are published in monthly magazine and online, and are also licensed to book vendors and distributors. They review 6000 or more titles annually, and offer advertising services and magazine subscriptions.
Reviews will focus on comparing new books to titles already available in most library collections for children and young adults, evaluating titles based on both literary and illustrative quality, as well as clarity of presentation, and appeal for its intended audience.
Submissions should be sent 3 months before their publication date, and should include two copies of the book, and information such as author name, title, publication date, price, bindings, and ISBN. You can learn more about the submission process here.
Foreword Reviews is another trade review option for authors working with major publishers. Reviews will be printed in Foreword’s magazine and website, and well-reviewed books will sometimes see their reviews published in USA Today and Huffington Post. Submission is free, but does not guarantee a review. Reviews will show up in their quarterly magazine as well as online. Submission guidelines are listed here, and submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Foreword requests that books be submitted 4 months before their publishing date.