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.
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 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’ 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
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.
To request a review, see their get a review page.
Independent Book Review
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
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:
- A Love So True for romance.
- The Line Up for horror.
- The Archive for history.
- The Portalist for fantasy and sci-fi.
- Early Bird Books, where indie authors can promote free and discount deals.
Online Book Club
San Francisco Book Review
The Prairies Book Review
US Review of Books
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.
Book Review Yellow Pages publishes an annual catalog of reviewers.
The Indie View offers a searchable online catalog of bloggers and reviewers.
Indies Today maintains a list of paid editorial reviewers and active review bloggers.
Reedsy Book Review Blogs includes links to a number of high-quality, active review blogs.