We all know that reviews are an important factor in a reader’s decision to purchase a novel. They are particularly important for indie authors who are still establishing a name for themselves. Testimonials enhance your book description and offer credibility to your work. But where do these reviews come from, beyond Kobo? How do you get them? KWL has compiled a list of budget-friendly book review platforms that will help generate buzz for your novel. Continue reading, busy writing bees!
NetGalley is a service in which influential readers discover, review, and recommend books in electronic format. NetGalley reviewers are bloggers, librarians, booksellers, educators, journalists, and members of the media. Reviewers give your book a rating, offer feedback and can answer yes/no questions such as whether they would recommend the book to their friend. Every month, KWL selects 20 titles to upload to NetGalley. Once your title is accepted, the spot costs $39.99 USD for a one-month feature. Authors are notified by email upon each new review, and after the month is up, KWL sends you a report with insights into your title. More information on NetGalley features here.
Publisher’s Weekly has a companion publication for indie authors called PW Select. PW reviews for self-published authors are free! The condition is that your book must be on sale and available in the US market. Like virtually every review source, not every book submitted to PW Select makes the cut. There are just too many books out there! It’s certainly worth trying, since it costs nothing and PW reviews are connected to all major sales venues including Kobo, Amazon, iBooks, Google, and Barnes & Noble. To register your book for review, visit PW’s website for self-published authors, Booklife.
Midwest Book Review
Midwest Book Review is another respected and influential publication in the lit world. Midwest Book Review gives priority consideration to small publishers and self-published authors whenever possible. They charge a $50 USD “Reader Fee” for reviewing ebooks, pre-pup manuscripts, galleys, uncorrected proofs, ARCs or pdf files. If you’re selected, you’ll be notified about the review in 4-6 weeks. You’ll receive an email copy of the review along with the URL to the online newsletter in which it appears. As of 2014, MBR has a new policy to help authors/ publishers promote their book. Authors/publishers who passed the initial screening but did not make the final cut due to lack of reviewers may submit a review from any other review source, provided they have the permission to do so. This review will then be featured in MBR’s monthly book review publication Reviewer’s Bookwatch (the reviewer retains all copyright and ownership rights). For more information, visit Midwest Book Review.
GoodReads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. There are many free groups on the site that you can join to network and connect with potential readers, and hundreds more dedicated to helping authors garner reviews. Keep in mind, however, that GoodReads is a two-way street. You have to give if you want to get. In other words, you have to contribute to the site and add value to a group before you start asking for book reviews. Otherwise, you’ll likely be ignored or kicked out (ouch). Browse the Book Review Groups on GoodReads here.
Readers’ Favorite reviews manuscripts, published and unpublished books, ebooks, and more. Reviews are posted on their site, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Reviews are also recognized and indexed by search engines like Google. All 5-star reviews receive a “Five Star” digital seal for your website and book cover. All reviews come with a Readers’ Favorite Review Page, which includes free features that help promote your book and its review. Though there is no guarantee that your book will be reviewed, more than half of the books submitted for a free review receive one within 3 months. A Single Express Review costs $59 USD with a turnaround of 2 weeks. For review specifications and packages, refer here.
Self-Publishing Review has been recommended by The Guardian, The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and Publisher’s Weekly, offering editorial reviews for self-publishers and independent authors/presses. They accept both unpublished and published content. There are four review options to choose from, starting with their Editorial package for $79.00 USD. This includes a 70+ word professional review, a 7-working-day turnaround, editorial review copy for your book, a permanent listing on their Editorial Reviews Page, and social media sharing. For more on review packages and specifications, visit Self-Publishing Review.
Online Book Club
Online Book Club is a free online community for book lovers with over one million members. They offer reviews by a professional review team and have a variety of book and reading forums where you can connect with potential readers. They are multiple review packages available that vary in cost and turnaround time. A Level 1 Review is $97 USD and has an average turnaround time of 4 months. This includes a 1-week featured status on their site and entry into their Book of the Year Contest. You can also choose not to publish the review if it is unfavorable. This is a pricey option with a longer turnaround time, but the review is guaranteed and will reach a huge audience. More on the review and submission process here.
Book Blog Reviews
Never underestimate the power of a good review on a notable book blog. Reedsy has a carefully curated list of the best book review blogs. You can search by genre and filter out the sites that do not review indie authors.
Some Words to the Wise
Make sure to completely understand the specifications for each review platform before you submit your work. Not every site guarantees you a review, even if there is an application fee. Beware of shady or suspicious review sites that promise positive reviews. No reputable review source makes this claim, as reviewers with integrity evaluate books honestly, based on merit. Most importantly, do not let negative reviews send you into a downward spiral. Learn how to survive the dreaded bad book review here.