Whether you realize it or not, you likely use reviews in your day-to-day life. they can help you make decisions about the things you’re curious or unsure about. It’s why we listen to our friends when they recommend a movie, or why we scroll through Yelp before we try a new restaurant. Before you invest your hard-earned time and money, you want an idea of what you’re about to get yourself into. Book reviews are no different, and this is why the information we are covering here will help you find where to look.
Sure, you know your book is amazing, but what about everyone else? Readers are on the search for reliable and trustworthy people to review the books they may be interested in reading. Unfortunately, as the obviously biased author, they’re not interested in hearing from you. That means you need someone else (hint: you need a book reviewer!).
The fact is, book reviews are a necessity for every author looking for an unbiased opinion on their book baby.
So, if you don’t think you need book reviews, think again. Book reviews boost the credibility of your book. Not to mention that reviews are a great way to bring in new readers through word of mouth.
Often, the success of your book will depend on the reviews you receive. Think about it: if your friends keep recommending the latest book, TV show, or movie, aren’t you more likely to check it out? That’s why you can’t afford to ignore the power of getting reviews for your book.
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How to Find Book Reviews
As much as we’d love for readers to come flocking to our books on their own, the reality is that usually, we have to spread the word ourselves in order to bring in new readers.
Still, don’t stress too much about finding readers! In most cases, readers are more than happy to review your book and eager to read something new. If you scour the internet for reviewers, you will find that some of the best places to easily find book reviewers are on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, and different social media.
But here is a word of caution: most of the reviewers have stipulations when it comes to reviews so here are some dos and don’ts for you to be aware of:
Dos and Don’ts of Getting Reviews
There are a few rules when it comes to asking for and receiving book reviews. Think of these dos and don’ts as helpful guidelines that can make the process simpler for both the author and book reviewer.
Do understand the reviewer’s specifications. Learn what they accept and what does not interest them. This will save both you and the reviewer any future frustration.
Don’t waste their time. Reviewers are busy people, so get straight to the point in your query message. Don’t forget to share how your book can benefit them.
Do send a free book copy. It’s a courtesy to send the book to your reviewer for free!
Don’t be unprofessional. It’s okay to be friendly, but remember not to overstep your bounds. Instead, include your full name and your website and social media links.
Do be considerate. Learn about the reviewer by reading their website or past reviews. If you want them to make time for you, it helps to know a little about them.
Don’t request that the reviewer purchase your book. This looks bad and inconsiderate to the reviewer, who is already taking the time to read your book.
Don’t assume a reviewer will accept your book based on a quick conversation on social media. They may have liked your Instagram or Twitter post, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested in your book.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a promising relationship between author and book reviewer!
Where to Find Book Reviews
A few years ago, I wrote an article, where I discuss the dos and don’ts of requesting reviews in more detail. Having written several reviews and sent many requests to reviewers, I know how hard it can be to get them. As I worked on my first non-fiction, Book Reviews: Understanding the Psychology Behind Them and How to Get Readers to Leave a Review, I went deep to curate a list of legitimate ways to get book reviews (in the manuscript, you will get access to a bonus 200+ websites).
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
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. Here are Affaire de Coeur submission guidelines.
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. Here are ABR submission guidelines.
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. Here are the B&N submission guidelines.
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. Here are the Booklife submission guidelines.
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. Here are Compulsive Reader submission guidelines.
Rain Taxi Review of Book
A quarterly print committed to championing 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 audiobooks. This one is worth consideration. here are RTRB submission guidelines.
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 uploaded 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 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.
Here are Readers’ Favorite submission guidelines.
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.
Here are LARB submission guidelines.
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 it reviews books in multiple genres.
Here are NYRB submission guidelines.
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.
Here are The Rumpus submission guidelines.
Paid Review Sites
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 picture book review (7–9 weeks) starts at $350, a standard review (7–9 weeks) in other genres costs $425- $575, and an express review (4–6 weeks) runs between $425-$725.
Here are Kirkus submission guidelines.
YourNewBooks.com is a book marketing website (a network site of Choosy Bookworm), 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 YourNewBooks.com.
Once you sign up, you choose between standard ($149) and premium services ($299)—the packages include advertisement space on YourNewBooks.com’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.
Here are the YNB submission guidelines.
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), going 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.
Here are Reading Deals submission guidelines.
Enas Reviews offers a more affordable option for your review needs. For a maintenance and listing fee of $29.99, you will receive a thorough critique of 400-500 words written by professional writers. The site currently accepts all genres.
Here are Enas submission guidelines.
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 on 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.
Who doesn’t know Goodreads? This is might be one of the most obvious places.
According to Goodreads, its mission is “to help people find and share books they love.” In other words, it is almost a social network for books. There you find many readers, book lovers, and reviewers connecting with each other (and their favorite authors) and sharing their passion for books—through reviews, discussions, polls, and blogs.
Without mentioning that as an author, you not only have a platform to build relationships with readers and fellow writers but also receive plenty of tools to revamp your book marketing strategies.
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.
Writing & Book Bloggers Sites
Reaching out to book bloggers and writing services is 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.
Crime Scene Reviews
This site focuses mostly on mysteries, thrillers, crime novels, espionage, and contemporary and international fiction.
Here are CSR submission guidelines.
XterraWeb Books & More
It accepts most genres except comic books, graphic novels, and textbooks.
Here are XterraWeb submission guidelines.
Bonus Book Review Website
LitPick Book Reviews
LitPick is one of those hot book review sites I came to know and fell in love with. That is because the platform tries to get students involved with the literary world while improving their reading and writing skills.
As part of a mentoring program, students receive free copies of the books they want to read (middle grade, teen, and young adult) and write book reviews for free. Their work is evaluated by a staff of underwriters, who provide pupils with feedback. Once everything is set and done, the review is published on the website.
While in the beginning, LitPick used to review only kid lit, now it also reviews adult literature.
Isn’t it neat?
This is an excellent way for authors and publishers to get their books reviewed and out in the world through a wide unbiased audience—teachers and librarians also partake in the programs they offer.
LitPick Book Reviews offers packages ranging from $50-125, and some even include social media promotion. As an author of youth literature, it is so worth checking out.
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? What other places do you usually get book reviews? Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram.