Getting Book Reviews

Beneath the Cover, publishing, marketing, writing a book, platform, gravity wellBook reviews are hard to get. Harder than ever, in fact, since so few newspapers run book reviews (or employ book reviewers). Most magazines only pay passing attention to books, and you can forget television, unless you’re already a celebrity author, and your book won’t be reviewed as much as perhaps mentioned, if you happen to get some air time. Still, book reviews are good marketing tools, especially for later editions of your book, where you can use a positive review as a blurb to help promote it.

Even though fewer books are reviewed, it doesn’t mean that no books get reviewed. But those periodicals that actually continue to review books are highly selective. You might hope to get your book reviewed in industry publications such as Publishers Weekly. Reviews in a journal targeted toward booksellers have some clout. Bookstores and libraries read these publications an base many of their decisions on whether to stock books on these reviews and articles. (They also weigh your previous book sales if you’re an already-published author.)

Reviewers need time to consider your book, to read it, write a review and submit it for editing t the publishing industry journals. The journals themselves need review material weeks in advance of their periodicals’ going to press. And with space at a premium (even online sometimes) book-industry journals may also delay reviews of your book until they can fit them in.

You’ll need to send out your galleys (or e-galleys) and press kits (generally also in electronic form) at least four months before the publication date of your book. If your book is specialized in a particular industry, you’ll want to get in touch with magazines in that industry too. You might offer to have your book excerpted (this is something your publisher, if you’re using a traditional publisher, would work with you on effecting).

The thing, is, however, you can’t really count on reviews from periodicals. Most books are review proof today, because most books aren’t reviewed (and most book reviews are unread). Reviews have less and less weight for readers. What often counts are the ratings or reviews from other readers, or articles that talk about your book. For better or worse, we live in an age where critical commentary isn’t given much importance – especially compared to the opinions of so-called peers, that is, other buyers of books.

We’ll talk about this in our next post.

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