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!
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 or 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.)
- 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.