What I Didn’t Know About Book Reviews


In getting ready for the launch of The Footloose Killer, I researched book review sites. I have done a few for Tidewater Women Magazine, and for my blog, but didn’t know the business of book reviews.

There are a few things that I was not aware of that will hurt me this time around. One is that the big review sites will only accept books to review four months prior to release. And they will not accept an electronic file – only an ARC copy.

Why, you ask? Well, self-publishers and smaller indie presses often don’t have an ARC until weeks (or sometimes even days) before release, if they ever have one. Most print on demand publishers don’t do an ARC, and once the book is ready for printing it goes to print.

So I have deduced that the big reviewers (The New York Times, Barnes & Noble reviews, bookreview.com, RT Magazine) are using the four-month/ARC guideline to keep out the ‘riff-raff’ – the smaller publishing houses, the self-published and the indie publishers.

There are, of course, ways around some of them. RT Magazine informed me that if I buy an ad space for my book, they would consider reviewing it. That ad space starts around $500. I believe there was a similar way into the NYT, though their rates begin at $2,500. Bookreview.com will ‘allow’ you into their reviews if you pay a $175 fee.

If you, like me, are with a very small publishing house, and don’t have an ARC to hand out 4 months prior to publication and also don’t have the big advance to draw from in order to pay your way in, you are left high and dry.

I have to believe that with the evolution of the publishing world will come the evolution of the review sites. In the meantime, is anyone doing an e-book review site that is non-elitist? Do you know of any book review publications that are willing to take a look at something from a small publisher?

Because if this service does not exist, then we need to make this happen.

Please leave a comment with a review site link if you know one! I would love to compile a list for all the new and indie authors out there.

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9 comments on “What I Didn’t Know About Book Reviews

  1. Charlotte Jones says:

    Great information, Michelle. Thanks. I’ve been doing some of the same kind of research in anticipation of launching my ebook of essays on Amazon and B&N later this year. When I’m not making myself stay OFF the computer so I can get some writing done, I tweet and I see that you do too. I’d be interested to know what you think about the reviewers’ network on Twitter.

  2. 😦
    But you’re right. The authors can make it happen!

  3. I review books, mostly tradional print but I do accept book attachments I can read in Word as I do not own an e-reader. Here is my blog http://eternallovebooks.blogspot.com/
    Isabella

    • Thank you, Isabella. I will check out your blog – and recommend it to others. My book is published under a traditional book deal, but by a small publishing house who uses a print on demand system. So the four month, ARC copy rule is a tough one.

  4. The reviews you get thru paid advertising are also put in a different spot or otherwise differentiated, so not necessarily the best option. I think that such practices may change–but it will require some kind of content filtering, perhaps done by indie authors banding together, so that reviewers don’t have to look through tens of thousands of entries. To my mind that is one big task of the future for this new wave of talent.

    The book I would recommend to help you find review sites is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Book-Reviewer-Yellow-Pages/dp/1935664131/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330562144&sr=8-1

    Good luck! And if you would like to appear on my blog, I don’t do reviews, but I do get the word out and feature your work, and I love hosting indie authors.

    • It’s funny, Holly, I subscribe to your blog and saw that post today. Great review and good questions to the Author. How do you find authors to review, do you have a submissions process?

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