Professional Book Reviews for a Fee

How much shall I pay?

How much shall I pay?

In my blog post Is a Kirkus Review Worth It?, I discussed the review I purchased from Kirkus Indie for The Case for Killing. I decided to buy an objective review from a reputable organization because of the difficulty indie authors have in getting professional reviews.

Since I’m starting to think about promotion for my second book, False Guilt, I decided to create a list of organizations that provide professional reviews of self-published books for a fee.

My list is below. Please comment back if you know others. I only provide a brief overview of services; you should go to the relevant website for details.

None of the organizations below guarantees a positive review of a self-published book. When selecting an organization, remember it’s not only about price and turnaround time, but also reputation, where the review is distributed and any additional services provided.

Kirkus Indie: Kirkus charges $425 for a 250-350 word review of a self-published book in 7-9 weeks. For $575, it’s provided in 4-6 weeks. If you like the review, it’s posted to kirkusreviews.com and licensees, and you can use excerpts in marketing. If you don’t like it, it never sees the light of day.

ForeWord/Clarion: You can submit a copy of your book up to two months before publication to ForeWord and they’ll consider it for a free review in their quarterly magazine. If you don’t make the cut or have already published your book, Clarion will provide a 400-500 word review in 4-6 weeks for $499 and a 1-5 star rating. You decide if the review goes on their website and is licensed to book wholesalers.

BlueInk Review: Their Standard Review is $395 (7-9 weeks review time) and their Fast Track Review is $495 (4-5 weeks review time). Reviews are 250-350 words, and run on their site as well as being distributed to partners. You have 10 days to opt out of running your review on their site.

Self-Publishing Review: This team offers a 500 word review in 4 weeks for $109 that is permanently available on their website in their Book Reviews section and posted on social media. They also offer a 200 word review for $59 completed in two weeks and available on their New Releases page and social media.

IndieReader: The folks at IndieReader charge $100 for a 300 word+ review of a self-published book in 8-10 weeks. For an additional $50, they review in 5-6 weeks. Reviews are accompanied by ratings of zero to five stars, and are posted to their site. Books receiving a 4-5 IR review are automatically made available to third party outlets.

San Francisco Book Review: This organization has a Sponsored Review Program that guarantees an objective review for $125 (8-10 weeks) or $299 (3-5 weeks). The review is 300+ words and can be used by the author for marketing. The author chooses whether to accept or reject the review, and if accepted, it appears in one issue of the San Francisco Book Review digital magazine and is posted on CityBookReview.com.

Portland Book Review: They also have a Sponsored Review Program. Their rate for a review is $89 (6-10 weeks review time) or $175 (3-4 weeks review time).

Penn Book Review: Their basic service is $199, which provides a 300-400 word review and distribution on various websites. They also have more expensive services that provide broader blog exposure, advertising and various other promotional services.

I’ll also mention that there are other organizations that provide complimentary reviews. Typically, reviews are not guaranteed and depending what you order, may have other fees. See for example:

  • booklife, which offers many other fee-based writer services;
  • Midwest Book Review, with a $50 “reader fee” for certain submissions including eBooks; and
  • Readers Views, which sells publicity packages with complimentary reviews.

Lastly, there are many other reviewers who may comment on a book in exchange for a free copy and various lists are available online.

Copyright © Peter Fritze 2014

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