Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Get National Media Book Reviews

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The much needed book reviews... Before you start reading these tips: Be aware that big media reviewers do not even accept 10% of the submissions they receive - and as an independent author you are competing with well-known traditional publishers. So, to whom to you send your submission, when, how and what?
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Start with preparing an Excel data base or any kind of list, where you type in the title, name, address, phone/email of the recipient, the date of submission, their guidelines. Never, ever sent it: "to the editor" or "to whom it may concern..."
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Book review editors are not the only ones who might accept your books for review, try columnists as well, especially if you write non-fiction. If your book is about an adventurous bike tour in Jamaica, you can send your review submission to both, the travel section editor of a major newspaper or to the sport editor of this publication.
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Always check carefully their submission rules!
Most review sites want hard copies of the book at least 3 months prior to publication. Even if you have planned to publish an e-book, get 30-50 copies printed at a digital printer, at CreateSpace or use any of the new Espresso-Publishing machines that you can find in major cities, but who also deliver via mail or UPS. Having print copies is not only important for reviewers, but also for your book launch or book signings and to sell them to people who prefer print instead of e-books. Other reviewers, especially top book bloggers take books also after their release and more and more accept e-books.
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You may start sending out your review submission to your local newspapers and even weekly papers and test the waters first before you head out to the nationals. A review is serving your purpose as well as a feature article, mentioning your book.
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There are a tons of books and lots of writers seeking reviews, however, there is only so much space/time in a reviewer’s calendar. You may call or email a reviewer first to see if they have an interest in your book.

Don’t give reviewers a reason to disqualify your book right away. If they want a press release, make sure you send one. Don’t send galleys, if they want finished books. Verify that they review your genre of book before you submit. Follow their publication-date deadlines.
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When should you send out your review submission?
January & February for spring and July & August for fall, because there will be less competition from trade publishers.  Don't send it out to arrive at the editors office on a Monday. Best arrival days are Thursday or Friday.
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Make sure that you include all your contact info: name, mailing address, website address, phone number, and email address. Use http://about.me to create an appealing info site about yourself and include it in your contact info. Important: Don't forget all the book information: price, ISBN number, number of pages, and genre. Carefully pack your book in cushioned envelopes or boxes. You want them to look professional and brand new when they arrive at the editors office.
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Add a media kit, including your biography, high-resolution and professional (600 dpi) images, a book trailer link, a blurb and the synopsis of the book and contact information for you.
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Here a couple of useful links to reputable reviewers


  • Los Angeles Reviews 
  • Armchair Reviews 
  • ForeWord Reviews 
  • Library Journal 
  • Midwest Book Review 
  • NY Times Reviews 
  • Indie Reader 
  • USA TODAY

Paid Reviews:
  • Kirkus 
  • Publishers Weekly 


Most important: send a thank-you note/email to anyone who reviews your book. They took a long time reading and reviewing your work so take five minutes and write them a thank-you!
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