Book Reviews – Aiming for the Pot of Gold

As authors, what do we want most from the publication of our books, the public recognition, the skyrocketing sales, or simply the spread of our message?

We may want all three and receiving a review may hit that pot of gold. A review in a prestigious print magazine can really make an author’s name and multiply sales. Even an online magazine review can be archived and available on the Internet for years. But how to achieve this goal in a competitive market is tricky.

The quid-pro-quo is that publishers send reviewers a free copy of a book as part of their marketing plan, in the hope that it will be reviewed and presented to the favorable attention of the critic’s audience / readers. All books sent to a reviewer for review, requested or not, become the property of the reviewer to dispose of them as deemed appropriate.

Before you start submitting books to as many magazines as possible, do your research. Despite Oprah’s popularity, O magazine is not suitable for all authors. Maybe your book fits better with Prevention magazine or Popular Mechanics? Or maybe it’s your best bet. Read the books that are reviewed in the magazines of your choice. Then, research who is the best person to contact. Is it the feature editor or is there a book review editor? Keep in mind that you are competing with thousands of other authors for the decrease in the number of publications that review books.

But first create 3 lists of possible review sites, magazines and newspapers. This list is intended to provide a sample of book review options; there are many other magazines and newspapers that are not listed here.

1. The “pot of gold” list – We characterize these magazines as gold because any review or mention of your book in their print publications will result in more sales, more recognition, and your message will be received by a large number of people. All magazines and newspapers in this category require advanced reader copies sent at least 4 months before the book is released. Prepublication magazines include Publishers Weekly, Booklist Reader, and Library Journal. Publishing magazines in this category include People, New Yorker, Reader’s Digest, or Slate. To claim some of the gold by submitting your books to Publishers Weekly PW select. For the small fee of $ 149, you have a better chance of hitting that gold.

2. The “bright side” list – We characterize these magazines or newspapers as silver because they have a large circulation and perhaps a little less prestige. From the Los Angeles Times to the Boston Globe to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to the Christian Science monitor, everyone has great power to launch a book. Most magazines and newspapers in this category have both a print and an online edition and accept books that have already been released. Getting a review on The Atlantic would be a great help to any author. The Bloomsbury review has eclectic tastes, has been around for decades, and often prints authors residing in the West. Regional magazines in your area, such as the Virginia Quarterly Review, tend to favor local authors. Online magazines in this category due to their large circulation are Shelf Awareness and Huffington Post. Depending on the genre of your book, other magazines that review books are Crosscurrents magazine, Tricycle, Insight Retailers magazine, Psychology Today, and Utne Reader.

3. Evergreen List – I refer to these online magazines and review sites as perennial because they archive their reviews. Anyone can find the review months later and also having their review online will help build your overall SEO ranking. Receiving a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com generates recognition and sales. Many of our authors have become Amazon.com Bestsellers. Goodreads is a social network for authors to create a fan base. My favorite online review magazine is, of course, San Francisco Book Review. Other favorites include Midwest Book Review, Bellaonline, or Women’s Review of Books. For a small fee of $ 59, you can get an express review of readers’ favorite reviews: https://readersfavorite.com/book-reviews.htm

Of course, a review does not guarantee that you will get a good review. Even a review that begins with “This is an amazing book” and ends by critiquing the author’s violet prose can be helpful.

You can search for reviews yourself, or you can hire a publicist to make this task easier. A publicist has the contacts and skills to present your book to interested publishers. There is a great deal of work involved in seeking reviews, from research to consultation to follow-up. But any review can be used to promote your book and improve your sales, which is well worth the effort. And there is always the chance that you will be lucky enough to find your own pot of gold!

© January 2017

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