Monday, December 13, 2021

Why Book Reviews Are Important and Where to Find Them

One of the most important aspects of a book is the reviews. They can make or break a new release. Reviews affect Amazon rankings. They affect findability on Goodreads and BookBub. They influence potential buyers and readers. And where they really shine is on the back cover, inside the eBook, in ads and promo materials such as bookmarks, and on retailer sites.

Traditional publishers are usually responsible for sending out review copies. Often smaller publishers will coordinate with their authors, sending ARCs to reviewers suggested by the author. If you are self-published, this task will fall squarely on your shoulders.

Prepublication reviewers such as Publishers Weekly and Library Journal require an ARC or galley many months prior to the book’s release date. These reviews are aimed at the industry (booksellers, libraries, and wholesalers) rather than the buying public.

Below are examples of prepublication reviewers:

• Publishers Weekly
• Kirkus Reviews
• Library Journal
• Booklist
• Foreword Magazine
• New York Times

There are many smaller reviewers as well, both in print and online. Magazines, small publications, genre fan sites, and book bloggers all review books. Some of these will review a title even after its publication.

Below is a selection of databases that list reviewers:

The Indie View
Book Sirens
Book Review Directory
100 Best Book Review Blogs
Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers
Publishing…and Other Forms of Insanity (sci-fi/fantasy)
The Reading Tub (middle grade/YA)
Through the Looking Glass

Look for any reviewer that accepts your genre. Read their submission guidelines and note when they like to receive copies and in what format. Many reviewers now accept eBooks. Be sure to make a list of those who could provide a blurb for your book, such as experts or celebrities. Most writers know other authors who write in their genre and that’s a good place to go for blurbs.

Understand that while a reviewer might accept a copy of your book, this in no way guarantees a review. It doesn’t guarantee a positive review, either. However, you won’t get any reviews if you don’t send out any books.

Reviews are probably the most important marketing tool for a book. Make sure you get your book into the hands of reviewers 3-6 months before publication date so you can use those reviews to promote your book. Remember, you can’t get any reviews if you don’t send out books!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a great list for finding reviews!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for your advice and list for finding reviewers for our books.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Reviews make me nervous, which I suppose says something huge about my confidence as a writer.

Sandra Cox said...

Right there with ya, Elizabeth. And it's all about timing too. If a bad one hits early its tough to come back from.

Thanks, Diane. This is very helpful.

Jemi Fraser said...

One of these days I need to do this!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you. I really need to get on yhis. You've inspired me!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Early reviews are SO important! Reviews are the best marketing tool, period. said...

This is very helpful and timely for me, Diane.
Kirkus is notoriously ruthless and uber pricey, as I'm guessing you know. I'll refer back to this list, though. It's a big one.
Thank you.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you for the resources.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great advice and links, Diane! Thanks for posting!

Rajani Rehana said...

Fabulous post

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you so much for these lists, Diane. Made my job much easier. Feliz Navidad.

Denise Covey said...

As an indie, this is one area waiting to be explored. Time, time, time. Thanks for the great list.