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

Contact Information:

Please send me an email at: thepicturebookreview@gmail.com.

For review requests – I will respond to email inquiries. I can’t seem to keep up with requests via Twitter, Facebook, or even WordPress. It gets too disorganized and crazy trying to juggle all the different social media messaging things. Thank you!

I will try to get back to you quickly — to at least let you know that I received your email. If you haven’t heard from me at all in a week, please write me again. Thank you for your understanding.

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!

I also accept picture books for review.

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Here’s my review policy as of February 2019:

There’s no fee and I am not a professional. I like to write picture book reviews like some people collect stamps or golf. It’s a hobby. I just like to say nice things about the books I love so that other people can learn about these books and what’s so great about them. That’s it.

In my futile war against too much screen time, I only accept physical copies of picture books, comic books, illustrated books, books with pictures, etc. I read them with my kids, we talk about the books, and then I write about the ones we really love on my blog. I donate the picture books or keep them. I don’t sell them. Some of our absolute favorites are ones we’ve received for review.

Audience: I have a five-year-old and an eight-year-old, both boys. They’re complete opposites in terms of personality and preferences. We all love humor and non-fiction especially.     

All types of published picture books, graphic novels, and books with pictures are considered. Self, Big Publisher, Small, etc. Current, Soon-to-Be, and from years ago – are all considered. Some of our favorite picture books have been self-published ones, I like to keep an open mind.   

In addition to English, we speak French, Spanish, German, Norwegian, and Mandarin well enough to read a picture book. I love languages. Not necessarily good at them, but I love them. (I studied Tibetan and Gullah, too, in college and took Thai language classes when I was in Thailand.) I also love to read picture books from around the world. I’m learning Italian, Korean, and Japanese slowly. I am happy to try!

I wish I could say yes to everyone, but if you write an email to me (versus an impersonal mass blast), and I am unable to accept your book for review, I will try to say no ASAP so you can move on quickly and find someone that can. If you have written me and not heard back from me, please write me again.

I try to screen my review requests carefully, especially with self-published and small published, because I don’t want to accept a book for review only to learn that it isn’t a good fit for us. I don’t want you to spend the money or the time when a different reviewer would have been better. But in case I get the book, and it really isn’t a fit for us, I will not review the book. I don’t write negative reviews – there are too many amazing books out there to spend the time and energy writing about a book we didn’t connect with, and I don’t say that I liked a book when I didn’t. I really only write about books I love.

There are a lot of bloggers and reviewers, keep trying and you will find someone that loves your book and wants to write about it.

Questions? Please email me at thepicturebookreview@gmail.com

If you are a publisher and accepting picture book manuscripts, I am interested in hearing more from you and seeing about sharing your submission information with my readers.

If you are a literary agent and looking for picture book authors and/or illustrators, I am interested in hearing more from you and seeing what you’re interested in and if you’d like you be featured on The Picture Book Review.

If you are an editor and interested in giving tips and information about writing and editing picture books, I am interested in hearing more from you and seeing about sharing your information with my readers.

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Review Request Tips, if you’re interested. (I’m in the middle of querying for a YA novel I wrote, and querying anyone about anything is uniquely awful. I feel for you. Truly.)

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 me 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. I don’t need to know that, but if you’re using this as a guide to help you write your letters for other bloggers, you may want to include it.
  • 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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