Review Policy, Finding Reviewers, and Tips for Writing a Review Request

Review Policy:

Hello!

Congratulations! You’ve written a picture book! That’s fantastic and I’m impressed! Good job! That was a lot of work, sometimes too much work, and you did it anyway! This is no small feat.

Now you’re looking to get your book or your client’s book reviewed.

There are a lot of wonderful children’s book reviewers and bloggers out there!

Check out Feedspot.com and Rankedblogs.com  to discover more bloggers and reviewers.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is an amazing blog by Julie Danielson. Here’s her review policy.  She also has a great list of book bloggers on her site.

http://kidlitosphere.org/bloggers/ also has a great list of reviewers. If you have a wordpress account, go into the wordpress reader and use tags like Picture Book or Picture Books to discover more.

Kirkus Reviews, for a fee, does accept self-published books for review under their Indie label. My understanding is that they will review your book — positive or negative. You will get a professional review.

Booklist Online also accepts self-published books. I’m not sure if they charge and there is no guarantee they will review your book. Click the link to learn more about them. Librarians read Booklist and often times use the reviews from them to decide whether or not to purchase books for their library.

School Library Journal also accepts books for review. I’m not sure if they charge and there is no guarantee they will review your book. School librarians read school library journal (and Kirkus and Horn Book and Booklist) to decide what books to buy for their libraries.

The Horn Book also accepts books for review and a lot of different people read The Horn Book. I’m not sure if they charge and there is no guarantee they will review your book. They are very, very, very selective.

Publishers Weekly has their guidelines here for submitting a book for review. They do accept self-published books for review and it does not appear that they charge. They do not guarantee that your book will be reviewed, but I do know of self-published books that have been successfully submitted and reviewed.

Picture Book Month has a list of bloggers as well!

Unfortunately, I am not accepting books for review at this time. I will be reviewing books I have agreed to review, but am not able to take on new books for the foreseeable future.

Review Request Tips:

Everyone’s different, but this is what seems reasonable to me.

  • Put Review Request or Query or Submission in the subject with the title of your book. I personally like REVIEW REQUEST: because it helps people see the email quickly and easily, but that’s a personal preference and not required at all.  Some people may disagree and think it’s shouting. Use your best judgement. 
  • If you’re emailing a blogger, find and use the blogger’s name in the email. (If you can.)
  • Say hi and why you’re emailing that particular blogger. Maybe how you found them? Why do you want this blogger out of the thousands out there to review your book? (I know I’m always curious as to how people found me, and why they want me to review their book.)
  • Include the title and a link to the book’s website or to the publisher’s page or to where you can buy it online. Or at least include an ISBN of your book in the email.
  • Write some kind of synopsis about your book. (It’s sort of a miserable thing to do sometimes, but just do your best.)
    • John Cusick has a great YouTube video about writing a query letter to agents, which is different than querying reviewers, but not that different.
  • Attach a jpeg of the cover, if you can. (Check each blogger for their specifics. I do accept jpeg attachments, others may not.)
  • Say why you wrote the book. Even if it is something like, “I had this stupid idea and it made me laugh, so I thought I’d write a picture book about it.”
  • Say when you’d ideally like for the review to be done by.
    • Please don’t say, “Anytime is fine.” It isn’t! The book will get put on a pile and possibly never reviewed if you say that. And giving some lead time is great. Two to three months is reasonable.
  • If you haven’t heard from the person you emailed in awhile, write them again. (Unless they’ve specified that no response from them is a no.) Four to six weeks seems standard in response times.  I’m trying to keep my response time to two weeks. (Waiting four to six weeks is agony!)
  • Include links to other reviews of your book. It’s fine if there aren’t any other reviews! But if you have them, share them.
  • Sometimes people want to know your credentials, like you have an MFA or won an award.
  • If one person says no, email them back and say, “Thank you for your response and for considering my book.” Then move on to the next one.
  • Don’t give up.
  • It’s totally okay if you have no idea what you’re doing. Just try.

I wish you the best of luck in finding your reviewers and your audience, because it is so much fun to connect with people who appreciate what you’ve created. It makes all this insanity worth it.

16 comments

    • Congratulations on your app! That’s very fun and very exciting. I don’t think we’re ready to do app reviews just yet. When my son is a bit older we’ll start looking there and we’d love to check out all you’ve done. Congratulations again! Let me know when you’ve released your app, and I’d be happy to make an announcement about it. From what I’ve seen on your site it looks like a lot of fun. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy it.

      Like

  1. As an artist, writer, publisher, and a brand new entrepreneur trying to discover the best way for my passions to support my family and the world, I feel squashed by pressures and demands every single day. Thank you for keeping your site clean and your demands simple. I LOVE that you write your reviews together with your son. I will be sending you an e-mail shortly, and I hope both of you will find my book acceptable for your growing collection. Best wishes to you and your whole family. Mili

    Like

  2. As a new picture book author, I am delighted at coming across your site. I love that your son shares in the
    process. Who could better respond to a childrnen’s book than a child! Really fine! I will send you an email
    and hope that you will find my first attempt acceptable for review.

    Like

  3. I was looking for reviewers for my picture book, Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous, and found your site. I can’t submit because mine is an e book but I don’t regret the time I spent clicking on the titles and reading your reviews. All the best to you. You have a nice, clean, uncluttered site.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I looked over your site, looking to see what is being said about picture books in general as I just published my first fiction picture book (I wrote nonfiction before). I appreciate that this site is a legitimate site, written by someone who just plain loves the genre. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your dedication to children’s books is wonderful. I have spent this weekend trying to figure out ways to make my books stand out in all the clutter. I am an overly enthusiastic grandmother who wrote 8 books in one year. I am glad I wrote – and illustrated them because my grand daughter loves books. Sometimes it would be nice to have some return beyond the joy I have from doing it for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue Wickstead

    I did send a message a year ago but did not recieve a reply. (see above)
    I found this blog interesting.
    I have six children’s books currently in print.
    With a lot more ideas and stories in the pipeline my journey goes on.
    I have an illustration company that i use for the pctures, and although it does increase the overall cost of the book it does at least mean i am confident with the end result.

    Like

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