Publishers Weekly offering paid reviews in BookLife self-publishing supplement

Leading booktrade magazine Publishers Weekly is offering a paid reviews service for indie authors in its BookLife website and monthly supplement focused on the self-publishing sector.

BookLife Reviews will be written by Publishers Weekly reviewers and the aim is to offer credible and reliable assessments from reviewers with expertise in their genres and styles.

BookLife Reviews will be about 300 words long, which is around 50-100 words longer than a Publishers Weekly review. They will be focused on reaching readers rather than booksellers and librarians.

The reviews don’t come cheap as the cost is $399 for a complete review with a six-week turnaround time. You can pay an extra $100 to get the review in four weeks instead of six weeks.

Authors are guaranteed to receive a review, and may elect whether to have it published in the monthly BookLife supplement, which is bound into the print edition of Publishers Weekly. Self-published authors can still submit their books to Publishers Weekly for review consideration at no cost.

Director of BookLife Reviews Rose Fox says, ‘An honest and detailed review from BookLife Reviews highlights a book’s strengths and analyzes its potential for reaching an audience while giving the author a valuable assessment of ways that future editions or future books can be made even better.

‘Our insights help each author target their marketing efforts to the readers who are most likely going to enjoy their book. Marketing can be complicated and daunting; a BookLife review will help to guide the author through.’

Publishers Weekly says BookLife Reviews will reflect the honest opinion of a professional reviewer who will read the book from cover to cover and provide a serious, considered assessment of the book’s high points as well as places where it could be improved. Most reviews will have a balanced mix of praise and constructive criticism.

PW says BookLife Reviews are never cruel or harsh and reviewers respect the time and effort put into a book. It adds that the reviewer’s focus is on helping the author to market their book and reach their ideal audience.


Other paid review services

The price point for BookLife Reviews is just under the cost for a review from Kirkus Reviews which charges $425 for Traditional Reviews, which are around 250 words with a turnaround time of 7-9 weeks, with an expedited option at $575. You can also get an Expanded Review from Kirkus of about 500 words for $575 (expedited $725).

You can choose to publish your review on KirkusReviews.com where it can be discovered by industry influencers, agents, publishers and consumers. If it is a negative review, you can request that it never see the light of day by simply not publishing it on the site.

Kirkus is a long-established company which has been going since 1933 (with a brief hiatus in 2010) and gets around two million website impressions monthly and has 55,000 email newsletter subscribers. It reviews a very wide range of books and often features titles from the major traditional publishers as well as self-publishing indies.


Another paid review company is IndieReader which has been offering self-publishers book reviews for 10 years. The Basic Review service costs $250 on a 7-9-week turnaround (upgrade to 4-6 weeks for extra $75) and will be posted on IndieReader.

Reviews are marked on a grade from 1 to 5 and 4-star and 5-star reviews are included in IndieReader’s Best Reviewed Books of the Month feature and sent to 10,000 subscribers.

All these paid review services cannot be posted to your Amazon page as reader reviews because Amazon does not allow purchased reviews. However, they can be used editorially on the book’s Amazon page or in the editorial section of any of the other retailers.

IndieReader does have a service called Verified Reader Reviews which it says can be posted to your Amazon pages.

The company says it will get your book into the hands of readers who will write and post honest reviews. IR says you are not paying for reviews but instead for IR to connect you with unbiased reviewers. Three Verified Reader Reviews cost $147. You can find out more here at the IndieReader website.

Perhaps the major benefit of shelling out for a review service is that it should get you an honest appraisal of your work from a professional and that could be invaluable when you’re trying to look at your own strengths and weaknesses.


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