Book Promotion: How to Get Pre-Publication Book Reviews

NY Times Book Review: How to Get Book Reviews

Traditional publishing houses excel in securing pre-publication book reviews in the media.

They have the contacts, reputation and the clout to ensure that journalists and reviewers take note of their titles.

However, small presses and even self-published authors can secure pre-pub book reviews too.

Why it important to get pre-publication book reviews?

A book review from Publishers Weekly or the Library Journal can have a huge impact on your sales. Libraries, retail book buyers, Indie bookstore buyers and consumers still take note of these reviews and buy accordingly. The review gives your title credibility and when it comes from a trusted source gives the buyer confidence that the title is of a certain quality, meets industry standards and will be of interest to their own audience of readers and customers.

Pre-publication reviews, which are essential for fiction, and also beneficial for non-fiction (however, the latter can easily be pushed/promoted after publication through carefully targeted sites, magazines and partnerships) require considerable advance preparation to secure as most major reviewers ask you to submit galley copies or advance reader copies (ARC’s) at least 6 months prior to your publication date.

What that means is you need to have a mock-up version of your book created at least 7 months prior to the date you intend to make it available for sale. So, if your book is due out in early December, you will need to have the manuscript laid out in book form during April,  the pdf’s of the interiors and cover complete in May and sent off to print so you have received your galleys or ARC’s in early June ready to mail to your reviewers list in the same month.

Although you might send these copies out for review 6 months ahead of your pub-date, that doesn’t mean your reviews will necessarily appear anytime soon. Reviewers will try to tie the review in to the issue that relates to your pub-date. Therefore, waiting to see if your book has been covered can be a painfully slow waiting game. However, most reviewers will let you know in advance that your book is being featured, either by email, in a short letter, or they will send you a photocopy of the review shortly after it has been featured.

Now, some people will tell you that the major reviewers (listed below) will not cover self-pub or small press titles. But I can assure you this is not true. As both a small press and a self-published author, I have secured reviews in Publishers Weekly, Foreword Magazine, National newspapers, and the Midwest Book Review, as well as Readerviews and plenty of reader reviews at Amazon, Good Reads, Library Thing and from bloggers at their sites too.

The key, as always, is to have a book which is excellent and meets with all the criteria expected by the industry: compelling cover, quality content, ideal price point, categorized appropriately, and innovative.

What do you send to reviewers?

Most periodicals or websites have their own requirements which you will usually find under the term SUBMISSIONS in their menu bar, do check these as it will provide you valuable information on when to send as well as what to send. When you find an outlet that will review your book, pay close attention to its submission guidelines, as they can vary depending on the reviewer.

If you don’t submit in exactly the way their website directs, your submission will likely end up in the trash. Typically you will need to send a bound galley (uncorrected proof of the manuscript) or an advance reader copy (ARC). Most people use a print on demand or POD printer to create their galleys and ARC’s as the need for quality is less important. These versions of your book are generally uncorrected, which means they are yet to be proofed, or sometimes copy edited, and the content may be incomplete. You can easily get bound galleys or ARC’s printed through the following vendors:

    *  POD Wholesale

    * DeHart’s

    * Lulu

    * Crane Duplicating

    * DocuNet

    * Country Press Inc.

    * My Publisher

     * Lightning Source

What else should you include in your submission kit?

Here is the information that you should include, either on a sheet of paper stapled to the inside or outside cover of your ARC or galley, or printed on the cover:

*      book title

*      author

*      genre

*      publication date

*      brief synopsis (2 – 4 lines)

*      ISBN

*      publisher name and contact information

*      edition and language

*      price

*      number of pages

*      number of illustrations

*      trim size

*      distributor and contact

*      contact name and information for the publicist

You may, for magazines and websites, want to include a press release about the book/author, or any previews reviews you have secured. When targeting magazines you want to try and tie the release to something relevant such as a national holiday, current event or upcoming event that relates to the audience of the magazine. You can plan great press releases using this PR planner:

Where do you send your books for review?

The key traditional reviewers for pre-publication books reviews in the trade include the organizations listed below. Take a look at their websites, check their book review submission guidelines, and do yourself a favor, ONLY send books that really meet with the standard expected by the industry — otherwise you are wasting your own time, money and reputation! Remember, the key, as always, is to have a book which is excellent and meets with all the criteria expected by the industry: compelling cover, quality content, ideal price point, categorized appropriately, and innovative.

*      Publishers Weekly

*      BookList

*      Library Journal

*      Kirkus

*      New York Times

*      LA Times

*      Chicago Tribune

*      Midwest Book Review

*      Wall Street Journal

*      USA Book News

*      Foreword Magazine

*      School Library Journal

*      ALA Booklist

*      Quality Books Inc

*      Bloomsbury

*      Heartland Review

*      Barnes & Noble

*      Booksamillion

*      Amazon

*      Good Reads

What to do if your book has already been published or you don’t have 6 months to spare?

Don’t fret! Thanks to the internet there are now literally hundreds of bloggers and websites where you can get your titles reviewed after the pub-date. You can also get reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads and there are plenty of magazines who will review your book in the first-year after publication.  More on this in the next post!


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Categories: Book Marketing, Book Promotion, Book Reviews, Publishing, Self-Publishing, Traditional Publishing

Author:Gemini Adams

Multiple-award winning, bestselling author, artist and founder of the Finish Your Book educational program.

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  1. Book Promotion: How to Get Book Reviews After Publication | Finish Your Book - May 10, 2012

    […] And, if you are set-up to secure pre-publication reviews and are wondering how to do that, try this post for detailed […]

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