The number one way to impress librarians is reviews from established book review sites and periodicals. When we start working with new authors, they are (rightfully) focused on getting Amazon reviews. While that is a necessary and valid endeavor, don’t forget the OTHER kind of reviews necessary for the success of your book.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), “Librarians depend upon reviews, especially those found in the following professional review magazines, journals, and newspapers when making purchasing decisions.”
Book buyers, bookstores, librarians, and industry professionals all rely upon the opinion of a set number of third-party, independent, reviewers whose opinions are very hard to get. Thousands of books are submitted each month to the top reviewers. The books chosen for review are a very small percentage of those.
But for those chosen? A good review often means hundreds or even thousands of booksellers and librarians deciding to stock the book. There is no way to guarantee reviews, but there ARE things you can do to increase your chances of being the one reviewed.
Research Book Review Sites Who Match Your Genre
First, choose the book review sites that are most likely to review your book. Do your research and send to those sites that review your genre. Once you have a good list, the submission process for each reviewer is should be followed. Some reviewers ask for submissions 4 months in advance. Some ask for your book to be sent in electronic format. Others request that the books be submitted in printed and bound book form. (ARC's/Advance Readers Copies can be used for this)
Many reviewers ask to see your marketing plan and others only request a copy of the book. Whatever you send to the reviewers, a cover letter is a nice touch. The cover letter should include a VERY short description of the book along with your request that it be considered for review. Include the title, author name, ISBN, publication date, price and publisher name.
Top Book Review Sites & Magazines
Here are the top book review sites and publications that I suggest you consider petitioning for a review:
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/corp/submissionguidelines.html
BOOKLIST - https://www.booklistonline.com/get-reviewed
LA REVIEW OF BOOKS - https://lareviewofbooks.org/about/contact/
FOREWORD - https://publishers.forewordreviews.com/
THE NATION - https://www.thenation.com/about-us-and-contact/
NY BOOK REVIEW - http://www.nybooks.com/about/faq/ (click on EDITORIAL)
AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW - http://americanbookreview.org/FAQ.asp
SEATTLE TIMES - http://www.seattletimes.com/html/books/?from=stnv2
BOOK REPORTER - http://www.bookreporter.com/book-submission-inquiry
THE COMPULSIVE READER - http://www.compulsivereader.com/submissions/
CITY BOOK REVIEW - https://citybookreview.com/submission-guidelines/
ALA Recommended Reviewers
The ALA also recommends these book review sites:
- Choice Reviews print and online scholarly works recommended for college and university libraries. See the Choice Submission of Books and Electronic Media for Review (Guidelines for Publishers) webpage for more details.
- AudioFile reviews unabridged and abridged audiobooks, original audio programs, commentary, and dramatizations in the spoken-word format. See Contact AudioFile for further assistance.
- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviews new children's books. See the Bulletin Information for Publishers for further assistance.
- The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Magazine both review children's and young adult books that are published in the United States. The Horn Book Magazine also reviews audiobooks. Books produced by publishers that are not listed in Literary Market Place are not considered. See Horn Book Submissions for further assistance.
- School Library Journal reviews new children's and young adult general trade books, original paperbacks, and reference books from established publishers. In order to be considered for review, books must be of national interest and be readily available from national distributors at an institutional discount. Also reviewed are DVDs & audio recordings (audiobooks and CDs), and reference products and online resources. See the School Library Journal Submitting Review Materials for additional details and mailing addresses.
- Science Books & Films (SB&F) reviews science-based books, videos, software, and websites for all age groups (K-College, Teachers, and General Audience). See SB&F FAQ/Reviews & Reviewing (at the bottom of the page) for further assistance.
- Video Librarian reviews both theatrical and non-theatrical DVDs, including Blu-ray, that are new to the marketplace for public school, university, and special libraries. See How to Submit Titles for Review in Video Librarian or Video Librarian Online for further assistance.
So, to recap, decide which book review sites to approach, create your review request kit (print and electronic version), print your Advance Readers Copies (ARC's) and start submitting to each review venue.
ATTENTION AUTHORS! If you follow Amy on our blog, you've already benefited from her considerable experience in book retail and library acquisition. So how would you like to pick Amy's brain on a live call? On Weds, Oct 18th, we'll be hosting a FREE webinar with Amy: "Sell Your Book in Stores, Even If You're Self-Published" If you've ever dreamed of seeing your books on store shelves, you won't want to miss it. SIGN UP HERE to access the call and replay, and tell your friends. See you there!