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Editorial Reviews

Editorial reviews are written by professional book critics and reviewers. Traditionally-published authors usually get these for free in newspapers and in trade journals like Publishers Weekly.

As an indie author, you’ll have to pay for them. Some of the more expensive options, like Kirkus and Clarion, reach a broad audience of librarians and bookstore owners. These can be a good option for titles that have broad practical appeal.

They may not pay off as well for indie novelists who are competing in a flooded market. If you’re writing indie fiction, readers will most likely discover your book in an online bookstore, where they’ll see your book’s cover, summary, and reviews. They’ll skim excerpts from editorial reviews and move from there to the reader reviews.

In this scenario, expensive editorial reviews may not be more helpful than inexpensive ones. It’s up to you to consider who’s opinion matters to your audience.

The list below is in alphabetical order and includes reputable sources. Be sure to also check out the section on book bloggers below. They can be an invaluable resource.

Best Thrillers

BestThrillers specializes primarily in mystery, thriller and suspense fiction. They reach readers through their website and email list.

Blue Ink Review

Blue Ink Review covers books of all types. They’re one of the more expensive offerings, but their reviews reach book professionals in addition to common readers.


BookishFirst has a unique model of raffling free books to interested readers. It’s expensive, but if your book does well there, it can provide a huge boost. For more detailed info, see the BookishFirst write-up under Reader Reviews.

Booklife/PW Reviews

Booklife will review some selected titles for free, though only a small percentage of indie titles are selected. They also offer paid reviews. Booklife belongs to Publishers Weekly and has a fairly broad reach among readers, bookstore buyers and librarians.


Booklist has strigent submission guidelines, and you must submit your title months before the publication date to have a chance of being reviewed. They reach a broad audience of buyers and librarians.

Clarion Reviews

Clarion Reviews’ stated mission is “to help to help booksellers and librarians discover great books from indie presses.” Reviews cost $499 and take 4-6 weeks. You’ll find more info on their Get Your Book Reviewed page.

Crime Fiction Lover

Crime Fiction Lover bills itself as “the site for die hard crime and thriller fans.” This is more of a promotional site than a review site. See their promotion page for details.

Feathered Quill

Feathered Quill reviews all types of indie books. Prices range from $85 to $149. See their submissions page for details.

Foreword Reviews

Forword Reviews is related to Clarion and Blue Ink. You’ll find more info on their reviews page.

Independent Publisher

Independent Publisher reviews both fiction and non-ficton. They don’t charge for reviews. You simply mail them a copy of your book, and if they like it, they’ll write a review. Their submissions page has more info.


IndieReader is one of the more well establised and widely known review platforms. Check out their review page, and also note that they provide a number of marketing and promotional services.

Indies Today

To request a review, see their get a review page.

Independent Book Review

Independent Book Reviews offers review packages ranging from $99 to $200. They also offer additional author services, including editing, beta readers, proofing and cover design.

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews covers both indie and tradionally published authors. Librarians and bookstore buyers use their monthly magazine to choose which titles to stock. See their get reviewed page for info on how to get started. Kirkus also offers editorial, design and promotional services.

Library Journal Review

Librarians throughout the US use Library Journal to discover new titles. The journal does not charge for reviews, but your book will need to pass the selection process before they’ll review it. You also need to submit your title well before the release date. For more info, see their submissions page.

Midwest Book Review

Midwest Book Review and their affiliated sites and publications review all manner of indie titles. Their submissions page lays out their process and guidelines.

Murder and Mayhem

Murder and Mayhem specializes in crime, mystery, thriller and suspense. They don’t have a submissions page, but they will run ads if you contact them through email. Scroll down to the bottom of their home page and look for the “Advertise with Us” link.

Murder and Mayhem is part of Open Road Media’s portfolio of sites, which includes:

Online Book Club

Online Book Club is “a free online community for readers” and booklovers. You can request a review on their review request page.

Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine reviews books and other popular media. They don’t offer paid reviews. Your best bet is to contact them directly with questions.

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly is the major trade journal for commercial publishing in the US. They offer both free and paid reviews to indie authors through BookLife.

Readers Favorite

Readers Favorite offers inexpensive reviews with a two-week turnaround. See their reviews page for details.

San Francisco Book Review

San Francisco Book Review helps readers find their next favorite book. They offer both free and paid review options

Shelf Awareness

Shelf Awareness publishes reviews online and in their print magazine, whose readership includes professionals in the book trade. See their submission guidelines for info about how to submit a title.

The Millions

The Millions publishes book reviews and cultural features. You’ll have to contact them to request a review.

The Prairies Book Review

The Prairies reviews both fiction and non-fiction. Prices range from about $50 to $200. See their review page for details.

US Review of Books

The US Review of Books covers all genres, fiction and non. Prices range from $99 to $249. You’ll find more info on their reviews page.

Directories of Active Book Bloggers

Though most bloggers may have a smaller audience than Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, they tend to have dedicated followers with specific interests. The right blogger can help get your book in front of the right audience, which is invaluable.

Getting your book in front of the right audience is more important than getting your book in front of a big audience. The right audience will receive your book with enthusiasm, will recommend it through word-of-mouth, and will post glowing online reviews.

A few dozen strong reviews can drive sales much more effectively than a hundred tepid reviews.

You can find bloggers through the links below. Note that many of them prefer to receive advance copies through NetGalley rather than directly. You can learn more about NetGalley on the Reader Reviews page.

Last update: 2022-02-16