As authors what do we most want from the publishing of our books public recognition, skyrocketing sales, or simply spreading our message?
We may want all three and receiving a review can be reaching that pot of gold. A review in a prestigious print magazine can truly make an author’s name and multiply sales. Even a review in an online magazine can be archived and available to 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 brought to the favorable attention of the reviewer’s audience/readership. All books sent to a reviewer for review consideration, requested or unrequested, become the property of the reviewer to dispose of as he or she deems fit.
Before you begin sending books out to all possible magazines do your research. Despite Oprah’s popularity, O magazine isn’t right for every author. Maybe your book is a better fit with Prevention magazine or Popular Mechanics? Or maybe is your best bet. Read what books are reviewed in your magazines of choice. Then research who is the best person for you 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 diminishing number of publications that review books.
But first create 3 lists of possible review sites, magazines, and newspapers. This list is meant to offer a sampling of book review options, there are many other magazines and newspapers not listed here.
1. The “pot o 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 received by large numbers of people. All magazines and newspapers in this category require advanced reader copies sent at least 4 months in advance of the books launch. Prepublication magazines include Publishers Weekly, Booklist Reader and Library Journal. Post publication magazines in this category include People, New Yorker, Reader’s Digest, or Slate. To claim a little of the gold by submitting their books to Publishers Weekly PW select. For the small fee of $149 you have a better chance to reach that gold.
2. The “silver lining” list – We characterize these magazines or newspapers as silver because they have a great circulation and maybe a little less prestige. From the Los Angeles Times, to the Boston Globe, to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, to the Christian Science monitor all have a great deal of power to launch a book. Most magazines and newspapers in this category have both a print edition as well as an online edition, and they accept books that have already been launched. Landing a review in The Atlantic would be a huge boon to any author. The Bloomsbury review has eclectic tastes, has been around for decades and often prints authors who reside in the West. Regional magazines in your area like Virginia Quarterly Review tend to favor local authors. Online magazines in this category because of their huge 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 evergreen because they archive their reviews. Anyone can find the review months later and also having your review online will help build your overall SEO ranking. Getting reviewed on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com builds recognition as well as sales. Many of our authors have become Amazon.com best sellers. Goodreads is a social media network for authors to create a fan base. My personal 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 obtain an express review from Readers Favorite reviews –
Of course a review doesn’t guarantee that you will get a good review. Even a review that starts with “This is an amazing book” and finishes with criticizing the author’s purple prose can be useful.
You can go for reviews yourself or you can hire a publicist to make this task easier. A publicist has the contacts and skills to get your book in front of interested editors. There is a great deal of work involved in going for reviews, from research to query to follow up. But any review can be used to promote your book and improve your sales which is well worth the effort. And the possibility is always there that you will be fortunate enought to find your own pot of gold!