Top Trade Review Journals

Why Trade Reviews Matter

By Nancy Hellekson

Why should you spend $500+ for a trade review? I wondered the same thing until I attended an IBPA Conference session on reviews. (That’s the Independent Book Publishers Association). Two experts, Michelle Schingler and Victoria Sutherland of Foreword Reviews/Clarion, convinced me that I should take out my checkbook.

Having a book reviewed on Amazon or Goodreads is all well and good. It helps readers select a book to read and buy. But a review by “Mary Smith” doesn’t hold much weight in the bookstore and library world. They rely on reviews from recognized trade journals such as:

Foreword Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
Publisher’s Weekly
School Library Journal

Until recently, you needed to submit your manuscript four to five months before publication and cross your fingers that they liked your book well enough to review it. The odds were great that you would never hear from them again.

Several years ago, paid reviews appeared and were frowned upon by many. Things have changed. Now fee-for-reviews from the top trade journals are respected and carry weight in the publishing world. And you are guaranteed to get a review.

Three of the top trade journals have ventured into this field: Foreword Reviews with indie reviews called Clarion, Kirkus Review – Kirkus Indie Reviews, and Publisher’s Weekly – Booklife.


What will these reviews do for you?

First, put them in any of your publicity—Sell Sheets, Book Covers, Ads.

Your targeted audience of Booksellers and librarians will recognize these trusted sources and put the book under consideration. Without this review, it wouldn’t be given a second thought. (Speaking as a retired library director, I know this to be true.)

The review will be included in the databases that booksellers and librarians order from (IngramSpark, Baker & Taylor, Bowker, Ebsco, Cengage and more)


What can I expect from a Fee-For-Review?

  • They are written by the same reviewers who write for the publication.
  • They are usually longer than magazine reviews.
  • They are syndicated to wholesalers.


Preparing Your Book for Review

Before submitting a book to any reviewer, make sure that it will make a good impression. This includes excellent cover art, well-designed interior, a complete copyright page, and most of all, a well edited manuscript.

Then go to the trade publisher’s website and follow the submission instructions.

Related Article:
Where Can I Get More Book Reviews?

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