How to get your book reviews in front of librarians

open book for book reviewsAuthors: If you have a book just months from publication, you might be so busy preparing for it that you forget about the websites, magazines and newsletters that librarians read before deciding what books to buy for their collections.

The U.S. alone has an estimated 121,785 libraries. That’s a lot of potential customers, and a lot of readers.

One of the best ways to get in front of librarians is to submit your book to be reviewed by one of several publications that librarians turn to for recommendations. You aren’t promised a favorable review. But if you get one, you can use it in your marketing materials, excerpt a blurb for your book jacket, or include it on your website.

Here are three very reputable sources for librarians, which I’m discussing in tomorrow’s webinar on “Where to Find Millions of Readers Online to Review, Recommend & Buy Your Book.” 


Library Journal

Library Journal is written for public, academic and institutional libraries. Its hefty reviews sections includes more than 8,000 reviews annually of books, ebooks, audiobooks, videos/DVDs, databases, systems and websites.

Books are selected for their potential interest to a broad spectrum of libraries. Only a few areas of publishing fall outside LJ‘s scope: textbooks, children’s books, very technical or specialized works (particularly those directed at a professional audience), and books in languages other than English. It will consider bilingual editions.

Library Journal wants to receive materials three to four months before your book is published because its primary goal is prepublication review. It will accept bound galleys, bound page proofs, or bound manuscripts.

Read instructions on how to submit your book. 
Booklist Online

This site includes 130,000 reviews of books, ebooks, audiobooks, videos and online databases.

Booklist is a book-review magazine that has been published by the American Library Association for more than a century and offers reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to. It comprises two print magazines, an extensive website and database, e-newsletters, webinars, and other resources that support librarians in collection development and readers’ advisory.

Each year, it receives more than 60,000 requests from authors and publishers who want their materials reviewed.  So follow the instructions carefully on how to to submit. If they review your material, they’ll send you a tearsheet. 
Kirkus Reviews

This magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published weeks before they’re released. When the books become available for purchase, Kirkus offers the reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on its website. Authors must pay a minimum of $425 to have their books reviewed.

The Kirkus Indie program gives independent authors a chance to obtain an unbiased, professional review of their work, written in the same format as a traditional Kirkus review with the same chance of earning the coveted Kirkus Star.

If your book is reviewed, you can decide if you want to keep it private or publish it at no extra charge on their website. If it’s published at the site, it will also be included in the content feed to licensees, such as Google,, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and more. Editors will consider the review for publication in the magazine and email newsletter.

Here are complete submission guidelines.
More Coming Tomorrow 
During tomorrow’s webinar, I’ll discuss two more sources that target librarians—one that’s perfect for romance books and another that specializes in science fiction and fantasy. That’s in addition to the many online book review sites, web discussion groups and forums where millions of readers are discussing their favorite books and recommending titles to their friends and to the world. (Update: You can access the video replay here.)

Hope you can join us! 

About Joan Stewart

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, a PR mentor aka The Publicity Hound, works with small business owners who need free publicity, and with PR pros who tell their clients' stories to the world. She shows you how to establish your credibility, enhance your reputation, position yourself as an expert, and sell more products and services. To receive her free DIY publicity tips twice a week, subscribe here. See all the ways you can work with Joan. Or contact her and ask a burning question about PR, self-promotion or social media.


  1. Joan, thank you for all the time and effort you’re putting into this Webinar that I already know will be so helpful to authors. I especially appreciated your comment that reviews are important to think about even before an author publishes their book.

    I love going to the library to check out a book, or reserving it online through the library system, but what’s most disappointing is finding out that the author’s book isn’t available through the library. With the help of your post and if they choose to attend your Webinar, they’ll have the “inside scoop.”

    Checking out a library book is another method of marketing, since if they love your book, they’re more likely to buy their own copy.

    Thanks, Joan.

    P.S. The price you’re charging for your Webinar is such a great value. Thank you for all that you do!

    • Appreciate your kind words, Candace.

      Some authors might not be interested in libraries “because I don’t want one book read by 100 people. I’d rather sell 100 books.” What they fail to realize is that en enthusiastic review in one of these publications can actually spark sales from people who don’t want to travel to the library and put their name on a waiting list if the book is unavailable.

      As for the pricing, most of my webinars come with helpful handouts that can be used as resource guides, cheat sheets, checklists, etc. This one includes an entire list of all the sites I’ll be discussing.

  2. I hope I have another chance to listen, sounds so good. Been looking for assistance, since the publisher’s ideas are just too $$$. So I have been walking the marathon, cause it’s no race : )

    Thank you Joan for the 3 resources.

    • You know, getting in front of not only librarians but all those online reviewers is a very inexpensive way to build the buzz for your book. You don’t need big, fancy expensive programs.

  3. Most of the important sites don’t take indie-published books. Except for Kirkus if you pay them a lot of money. Then if the review is good and you want it made public, they might deign to publish, but in a special section that most Kirkus readers don’t look at. Your best bet there probably would be to mail postcards with a blurb off your Kirkus review to libraries. Not sure its worth all the money.


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