The Importance of Professional Reviews for Maximizing Your Book’s Exposure

As an independently published author, you may think the most daunting tasks are over. You’ve published your book! PHEW! However, now that your book is finished, you need to start thinking about the best ways to strategically market and gain exposure for you as an author and your book. The next step is getting people to BUY and READ your book. It’s time to put on your marketing hat and start building an audience in order to achieve success.

If you’re an unknown author, it’s great that your family and friends wrote some reviews on Amazon, but you need to take additional steps to widen your book’s audience. There are a few ways to help build up your credibility, including submitting your book for review by outside third-party reviewers – paid and free online book review sites, bloggers, and book contests.

Book reviews and third-party coverage let readers know that they should be paying attention to your book. The more credibility that you can gain through outside reviews, the more exposure you bring to your book. Reviews should be a critical part of any marketing, publicity, and sales strategy for an author. Below, we provide some resources for self-published and independent authors to help get those highly prized third-party reviews.

Free Book Review Services and Bloggers

There are some free book review sites that can help provide exposure for your book. However, because they are free, due to the sheer numbers of books that are submitted, all books won’t be reviewed. These services can also take several months, and the review quality may vary. Here are a few free book review sites:

Book Pleasures

  • Midwest Book Review
  • Readers Favorite
  • Reader Views

You need to check each site for specific review turn-around times and rules and regulations.

You may also want to consider conducting research on bloggers who focus on books in your specific genre or topic area. They also can provide some great opportunities for publicity within their niche communities, but once again, there is no guarantee that you will get coverage.

Paid Book Review Services

Paid book review services generally provide higher-quality reviews, and they hold authors to the same standard as they do with the traditional publishers – such as Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc. They can be a bit expensive, but could potentially be worth gold in terms of exposure. And if they give you a good review, it can be a great promotional tool and provide you with additional credibility for your book. Some of the most reputable companies are:

  • Kirkus Indie Review
  • ForeWord Clarion Review
  • Blue Ink Review

You need to check each site for specific review turn-around times, fees, and rules and regulations.

Additionally, Publisher’s Weekly has a special program for independent authors, PW Select. When you sign up to participate in PW Select, you have the ability to potentially reach Publishers Weekly’s readership of book and film agents, booksellers, editors, distributors, librarians, book reviewers, and national and international media.

Book Contests

Another great way to get exposure and gain credibility for your published book is to submit to book contests. Some of the contests have nominal entry fees and specific deadlines for entry, which you need to pay attention to. Below are some of the contests that SDP Publishing has worked with in the past:

1. IBA (International Book Awards)/ Deadline is April 30.

2. IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) /Deadline is March 16

3. Indie Book Awards

4. USA Book News/Enter before December 31 and you can receive a bonus five-month, full-color listing on Deadline without promotion is Sept 30

5. ForeWard (Book of the Year Awards) /Deadline is Jan

6. Massachusetts Center for the Book/Deadline Jan 11

7. Mom’s Choice Awards/No deadline

8. Amazon Breakthrough Awards/2013 info not available yet

9. Boston Globe Horn Book Awards/ 2013 info not available yet

10. Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards/Deadline Nov 15/ Must join NABE


Some Tips for Submitting

  • Make a good first impression whenever you submit your work to a review service or book contest. Here are a few tips to help authors present a polished, professional appearance:
  • Make sure your book has been both edited and proofread
  • Have both physical and electronic versions of your book (different review services have various guidelines for how to submit books)
  • Write an error-free introductory cover letter that will entice potential reviewers
  • Create a publicity release or media kit
  • Set up a website that provides all necessary book and author information


If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your book’s exposure and gain credibility through third-party reviews or by entering contests, contact SDP Publishing. We have extensive experience working with authors to submit their work to third-party reviewers and expanding their marketing potential.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC offers optimal publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and self-publishing and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for our authors. Our services include developmental editing and copyediting, book marketing developing pitch proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development, and providing overall book exposure

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