Obviously, good reviews can help increase sales… but other than paying someone to write a favorable review, there is no way to ensure a good review for your book. Likewise, as a practical matter, major publications such as Publisher’s Weekly or the New York Times Book Review are not interested in publishing reviews for books from small press organizations to begin with — and they often require a 4-6 month lead time to even consider a title for review.
However, there are many other publications, blogs and websites that do review books from small press publishers. The Midwest Book Review, for example, specializes in small press and independent publishers, and some of our authors have been able to get reviews there. Local newspapers and magazines are also interested in writing about local authors, and some of our authors have had feature articles and book reviews published by their local media. There are a wide variety of Internet review sites and blogs that have provided reviews for most of our books at this point.
Shelfari and Library Thing book groups have also reviewed our titles, and most of our books have had write-ups by reviewers on Amazon.com. If you, as a Barking Rain Press author, have a particular review place or publication in mind for your book, we would be happy to do what we can to assist you in getting a review there. But keep in mind that it is “reviewer’s choice” — they select the titles they want to review. And even if they choose to review your book, you have absolutely no control over what they will say about your book, be it good, bad or indifferent.
In the end, good reviews for your book will come largely as a result of your own efforts to identify and persuade suitable reviewers to look at your book. For example, if you are writing a mystery novel, you would not want to query a SciFi reviewer to read your book (unless your mystery has SciFi content). Our authors have worked with a number of reviewers and publications over the years, and we will gladly share this information with you so that you can query them about reviewing your book.
Why is it better for YOU to make that query? Angela Hoy of Writer’s Weekly wrote an excellent article on this topic entitled Throwing Away Your Money on Review Copies? Here is a small excerpt that sums it up:
“The best way to get book reviews is to approach a potential reviewer up front, addressing them by name, via email, and asking them point-blank if you can send them a copy of your book. You should also ask them if they want to receive the print version or the eBook version.”
The reviewers want most to hear from YOU, the author. It’s that one-on-one contact with the creator of a work that makes writing book reviews exciting to the reviewer. They often expect and require direct access to the author — and the publisher can be seen as an unnecessary middleman in these kinds of queries.
But once you have secured a good review, we can re-post it to the Barking Rain Press website, newsletter and your email information list to continue to build word-of-mouth excitement for your novel. And if a reviewer does want to ask the publisher some questions, or needs to get copies of artwork or other information, of course we will provide them with whatever they need.
Posted in: Manuscript Submission FAQ