A few weeks ago, I wrote an article discussing the do’s and don’ts of requesting reviews. Having written several reviews and sent many requests to reviewers, I know how hard it can be to get them. As I work on promotional efforts for my third children’s book, Giggly Bear’s Fun Trip in The Yellow Bus, I went deep to curate a list of legitimate ways to get book reviews.
When researching the review outlets, I focused on places where indie publications have a voice—although this list may serve traditionally published books as well.
Some of these outlets may be familiar to you. Others may provide a broader perspective on how to approach reviews. The choices range from free editorial reviews to paid reviews and social media. Whatever the case, I hope this can be a starting point for you indie authors in different genres.
With that said, let’s get down to business.
Free Review Sites
1. Affaire de Coeur
Affaire de Coeur is a bi-monthly literary magazine that has been around for 34 years. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, it reviews works from a variety of genres, including historical, contemporary, paranormal, erotica, young adults, non-fiction novels and more. Accepted reviews might be featured in the next available print issue based upon the book release date. Keep in mind, though, that availability is limited.
Submission guidelines: http://affairedecoeur.com/contact.html
2. American Book Review
The American Book Review is a bimonthly publication that has been around for more than 30 years. It reviews disregarded works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction from small presses. It gives strong emphasis to literary and cultural pieces. And although it critiques non-fiction pieces, it does not review self-help and how-to books.
Submission guidelines: http://americanbookreview.org/FAQ.asp
3. Barnes & Noble Review
The Barnes & Noble Review is an online magazine that evaluates works of fiction and non-fiction and gives voice to a wide range of essays, interviews, and other topics.
Submission guidelines: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/about
4. Booklife by Publishers Weekly
The “Booklife” is the section of Publishers Weekly dedicated to self-published authors. Submission is competitive because it evaluates submissions for traditional and self-published books following the same standards.
Submission guidelines: https://booklife.com/about-us/review-submission-guidelines.html
5. Compulsive Reader
This is a must-check. The Compulsive Reader has been around the block since 2001 and counts on an extensive portfolio of prolific reviewers. For the most part, it emphasizes works of poetry and literary fiction, but also features in-depth reviews on a variety of book genres and music.
Submission guidelines: http://www.compulsivereader.com/submissions/
6. Rain Taxi Review of Book
A quarterly print committed to champion high-quality literature, Rain Taxi Review of Books reviews work neglected by the main media, including fiction, poetry, nonfiction (except self-help, business), art, graphic novels, and on occasion, children, young adult and audio books. This one is worth consideration.
Submission guidelines: http://www.raintaxi.com/submitadvertise/rain-taxi-submission-guidelines/
7. Readers’ Favorite Book Review and Award Contest
Readers’ Favorite is another must-see resource. With more than 1,000 reviewers, it reviews published and unpublished books, ebooks, and other manuscripts in more than 100 genres. Once you submit your book, it is upload to a database where reviewers can choose what they want to read. There is no guarantee that all books will be picked for review, but for the author that needs a guarantee, it offers a service called “expedited review,” for a fee. Authors also have a chance to participate in the book giveaway program and other neat and exclusive features from the site. Furthermore, different from other services, Readers’ Favorite doesn’t give reviews below 4 and 5 stars. If reviewers read a book they feel it is not worth an outstanding rate, they write a constructive note to the author. The idea is to help the author improve their craft, instead of bringing down the book.
Submission guidelines: https://readersfavorite.com/book-reviews.htm
8. The Los Angeles Review of Books
The Los Angeles Review of Books is a non-profit organization, with a mission to recreate a new concept of book reviews for the digital era. It welcomes any long-form of authoritative, captivating writing and accepts works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
Submission guidelines: https://lareviewofbooks.org/about/contact/
9. The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is an independent literary magazine that has been around since 1963. Highly regarded for bringing a critical and substantial perspective of the arts, the journal counts on a diversified roster of writers and reviews book in multiple genres.
Submission guidelines: http://www.nybooks.com/contact/
10. The Rumpus
Celebrating art and authenticity, The Rumpus showcase reviews of the most diverse genres as well as essays, interviews, music, film, and comics. It also champions the work of unknown authors or those overlooked by the mainstream media.
Submission guidelines: http://therumpus.net/about/#contact
Paid Review Sites
11. Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews has been around since 1933, and it is possibly one of the most regarded review services around. This magazine covers reviews from big houses to small presses and indie authors in all genres and gets millions of impressions a month on its website. The best about Kirkus’ process is it gives the same attention, respect, and unbiased review regardless of which way you published your book. The reviews are done by professional reviewers and writers in diverse industries including librarians, journalists, and literature experts, among others. Reviews get an extra boost when editors choose 40 of them to be featured in the bi-monthly issue of the magazine and one to the weekly email newsletter—potentially reaching more than 50,000 readers. All of this comes at a price, though. A standard review (7–9 weeks) costs $425 and express reviews (4–6 weeks), comes at $575.
Submission guidelines: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie-reviews/how-it-works/
12. Choosy Bookworm
Choosy Bookworm is a book marketing website, providing a range of tools for authors. Among the services, it offers a popular reading and review program that abides by Amazon review standards. The books are reviewed by readers/subscribers of Choosy Bookworm. Once you sign up, you choose between standard ($149) and premium services ($299)—the packages include advertisement space on Choosy Bookworm’s site and newsletter—and submit your ebook file. Depending on the package you choose, your book is submitted to a certain number of “interested readers,” who will leave their honest opinion about the material. The program is so popular that some of the features are fully booked for months. It is worth checking out because some genres are more popular than others, so your book might have a better shot of getting a fast turnaround. Also, it accepts both published and pre-released books.
Submission guidelines: https://www.choosybookworm.com/book-reviews/
13. Reading Deals
ReadingDeals.com is another popular book-promotions site, and it is operated by Book Marketing Tools. It offers a book-review service starting at $79 (Classic) and goes up to $129 (Featured). Both packages include promotion add-ons through social media and/or special placement. The books are reviewed by members of its Review Club, and reviews comply with Amazon and FCC guidelines.
Submission guidelines: https://readingdeals.com/reviews
14. Enas Reviews
Enas Reviews offers a more affordable option for your review needs. For a maintenance and listing fee of $29, you will receive a thorough critique of 400-500 words written by professional writers. The site currently accepts all genres.
Submission guidelines: http://enasreviews.com/get-book-reviews/
Additional Review Outlets (Free)
Looking for Amazon top reviewers is a smart way to get reviews for your book. Why? Because Amazon incentivizes reviewers who write quality, helpful reviews to customers—top reviewers receive special badges and Hall of Fame placement. The higher the rank, the better for the reviewer. And this will depend on the number of “upvotes” the reviewer receives. In other words, the more quality reviews they write, the higher the chances of upvoting.
When you go to the Amazon top reviewers page, you scroll through the list and look for the reviewers’ requirements. Many will have their information, including email or website and what they review at the page. Although some only review products, many review books as well. As a side note, it is beneficial to focus on genre-specific reviewers.
As I mentioned in a previous post, get familiar with their requirements and reach out. Although it might be tiresome to navigate the list, you may find people who are sincerely interested in your genre who will become a fan and be willing to review your future releases.
Writing & Book Bloggers Sites
Reaching out to book bloggers and writing services are also an excellent way to get your book reviewed. Still, keep in mind that those people also receive a lot of requests and might have limitations with time (as happened to me). So follow their requirements closely and be patient with response time.
16. Crime Scene Reviews
This site focuses mostly on mysteries, thrillers, crime novels, espionage, and contemporary and international fiction.
Submission guidelines: http://crimescenereviews.com/about-reviewer/review-policy/
17. Masquerade Crew
It currently reviews most genres, but as a requirement, authors must have a Twitter account. Submission guidelines:
18. XterraWeb Books & More
It accepts most genres except comic books, graphic novels, and textbooks.
Submission guidelines: http://editing.xterraweb.com/book-reviews
19. Social Media
Social media is another powerful way to get book reviews because there are all types of readers interacting and discussing the latest on their readings or favorite authors.
I particularly find LinkedIn valuable to reach out to book reviewers and receive a quick response. Maybe because of the nature of the network (business-like), the probability of finding professional reviewers increases.
At the same time, you can be successful at finding reviewers in Facebook groups. There are groups where not only writers can promote their work, but there are also readers willing to give authors feedback. The more active groups you participate in, the better.
Twitter is another helpful source. If you go to the search toolbar and enter the hashtag for #bookreview or #bookreviewer, a list of entries will come up. You click on “people” and there you can find many to choose from, according to your genre.
The same principle you used on Twitter, you apply for Instagram. The difference is that on Instagram, you will have to click on each image that pops up in order to reach the user profile.
Please note that some of these places have distinct submission guidelines and given the high volume of requests, you might or might not get a response.
The silver lining is the selection is broad enough for every taste and some venues crave your craft.
What are your thoughts about this list? Is there any book review service you don’t see on this list and would like to add? Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram. I’ll be happy to update or add to the resource section.
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