What the Trades Want: A Guide to Getting Reviews

February 2006
by Kate Bandos

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Getting a book review in one
of the trade journals—the periodicals published specifically for
publishers, booksellers, and librarians—can make a huge difference in
potential sales, especially for the library market. A good review in Library Journal,School Library
Journal, Booklist,Publishers Weekly,
or Kirkus Reviews
will almost instantly translate into sales. A good review in a handful of other
publishing periodicals, like ForeWord magazine and Independent Publisher, can also help
sales. Yet each of these publications gets thousands of books each week, and
each has space to review a few dozen, at most.

So how can a small independent
publisher make a book stand out and garner review attention? Here are a few
tips, many of them straight from the editors who make the key decisions every
day on what gets reviewed and what gets passed over:

Create
a good book and produce it well.

All the editors emphasized this, and Barbara Hoffert, book review editor at Library Journal,
put it at the top of the list. The quality of the material, the quality of the
writing, and the depth of the coverage are key factors in reviewers’ decisions.
Galleys should properly represent the final product in page layout and design.
Jim Barnes of Independent
Publisher adds, “I look for books that present compelling new
information and/or solve a problem.”

Know
each publication.

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