There are still some hold-out reviewers who expect to have a galley or f&g four (that’s 4) months before publication of the finished book (otherwise known as the “street date”). Unfortunately, they are all the most important reviews a publisher can get. Note that most of these sources rarely review a self-published book.
Although you may produce galleys at the same time you have your finished books done, you cannot offer your books for sale to the trade (to booksellers, librarians and on Amazon) and expect to get one of these important reviews. They check for that sort of thing—and they are looking for reasons to disqualify your book (they get 1500 books a day. They don’t need much of a reason to throw yours in the trash). If you intend to sell your books to sources outside the book trade for the intervening 4 months (at speeches (called Back of the Room sales (BOTR), at local book shows or at craft shows) you would not irritate the pre-publishing reviewers.
Always send these galleys USPS Priority Mail (with tracking) or FedEx / DHL / UPS ground. You can use overnight if you want, but it’s expensive. NEVER send your galley USPS Media Mail. These reviewers reportedly routinely toss such packages on sight:
Kirkus, Library Journal or School Library Journal, and Booklist all go to libraries. One good review in any of these 4 publications (and to some extent, Publisher’s Weekly) can sell around 1000 books.
These magazines, newsletters and websites will be happy to review the finished book, which you should send as soon as you get the books from the printer. These reviewers will be satisfied with books that come to them USPS Media Mail. But always use Delivery Confirmation.
The best idea after these few generalists is to find the folks who review your sorts of books and target them.
Why aren’t paid reviews recommended?
The theory goes that if you pay for it, the reviewer will have to give you a positive review—thus it’s biased. The rule of thumb is, if someone asks for money to review your book, it’s time to leave that conversation.
On the other hand, there are some cases when it is worthwhile to pay for a review. For instance, academic and esoteric books. For this type of book, two of the best review sources are Kirkus Discoveries or ForeWordreviews.com (not to be confused with the regular, unpaid magazine reviews for Kirkus and ForeWord) .
There are some genre magazines (Romance, mystery and science fiction) which will review a self-published or small press book with the order of a small ad (ad size varies). These can be a bit pricey, but put you in front of your readers. Go to your local newsstand and look for the type of magazine that fits your genre and contact the editor on-line. Then consult your Marketing Plan.
While having a good review can sell hundreds of books, what you DO with it can sell lots more. Post excerpts of good reviews on your website. Put it on your Press Releases (if it’s important enough, make a special release touting the review). Put it on the back cover when you reprint. Reviews are an important part of your Marketing Plan. They’re an impartial pronouncement on how good (or bad) your book is.
How do I edit a Review?
When you receive a review, you may use parts of it, as long as you include attribution (give the name of the review source. For instance: —ForeWord Magazine. Or —Curled Up With a Good Book). One or two lines is usual.
Most reviews are at least a paragraph long. You are free to use what you like of this, as long as you do not change the words or intent. This is something of an art.
Example:Happy Sails is an excellent guide to taking a sea cruise in the most enjoyable manner possible. It covers: what to take and why, the etiquette of a cruise ship experience; what lines are know for specializing in what types of trips, dealing with children or not, how to get the most out of a trip, how to pack intelligently, how to avoid Montezuma’s revenge, how to eat, how to party safely, and much more. It even covers how and who to tip. This is a must reference book for all who are hoping to go on a cruise some day. It could help you avoid making mistakes that might degrade your experience. We rated this delightfully helpful book a high four hearts.—Heartland Reviews
When edited, it reads:Happy Sails is… [a] delightfully helpful… guide to taking a sea cruise in the most enjoyable manner possible.—Heartland Reviews