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September 9, 2019
Everything you need to know about purchasing a BookLife Review for your self-published book.

What is a BookLife Review?

A BookLife Review is a respectful, knowledgeable, detailed review of your book that includes a variety of marketing insights and critical assessments, all crafted by a professional Publishers Weekly reviewer who’s an expert in your genre or field.

What is the structure of a BookLife Review?

Each BookLife Review consists of:

  • Three full paragraphs (about 300 words) of plot summary, critique, and analysis of your book, including an assessment of which readers are most likely to enjoy the book.
  • An honest, positive one-sentence takeaway that summarizes the reviewer’s opinion of the book’s best aspects and likely audience.
  • Comparison (comp) titles and/or authors.
  • Letter grades (from A+ to C) for five production elements: cover art, interior design and typography, illustrations (if applicable), editing, and marketing copy.

Superlative books may be selected as Editor's Picks, indicated by a lightning bolt (⚡️) next to the title. This is an unbiased indication of truly outstanding quality.

Where can I find a sample BookLife Review?

This page shows sample BookLife Reviews of fiction and nonfiction books, as they would appear in print.

How will a BookLife review meet my needs?

Our research has shown that the biggest challenge for indie authors is marketing the finished book and reaching people who want to read it. A BookLife review assists with this in several ways:

  • The comp titles and authors are essential for targeting your marketing and helping readers understand why they’ll like your book.
  • Critical feedback will help you improve the book’s next edition, or your future books.
  • You may quote the review or the takeaway on the cover of your book and use it in other promotions, such as on your book’s Amazon or Goodreads page, or on bookmarks, postcards, and other giveaway items.
  • If your book is selected as a BookLife Reviews Editor's Pick, you may use the BookLife Reviews lightning bolt (⚡️) when quoting the BookLife Review, signaling your book's outstanding quality.
  • At no additional cost, you may choose to have the review published in the monthly BookLife section of Publishers Weekly, putting your book in front of 68,000 publishing professionals as well as millions of online readers, and syndicated to numerous outlets where readers, booksellers, and librarians look for information on exciting new books.

What books are eligible for BookLife Reviews?

Any book in the English language containing up to 150,000 words that is commercially available in the United States and that has been self-published (or for which the author has subvented the cost of the book’s publication) is eligible for a BookLife Review. Books for adults and children of every type and genre, including fiction, nonfiction, and art books, may be submitted.

How do I get my book reviewed?

Please see the submission guidelines and step-by-step instructions.

What formats are accepted?

BookLife Reviews only accepts digital copies. Even if your book is primarily sold in print, you will need to submit a digital copy. The automated system makes sending us your book very easy. You can upload a pdf or epub file, or you can provide a link to a file as long you provide any password or DRM code needed to access it for free. There should be no sign-in required for the download, even if it’s free. For example, a free Kindle edition will not work because it requires Amazon sign in. If the reviewer cannot access your book for free, your book will not be reviewed. 

Who will write my BookLife Review?

All BookLife Reviews are written by professional reviewers who review books for Publishers Weekly, home to the publishing industry's most respected book reviews for almost 150 years. The BookLife Reviews editors will personally match your book with a reviewer who is an expert in your genre or field, someone who genuinely loves to read books like yours and understands how to assess and critique your book respectfully and knowledgeably. BookLife reviews are anonymous.

Am I guaranteed a positive review?

Your BookLife Reviews will reflect the honest opinion of a professional reviewer who will read your book 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. BookLife Reviews are never cruel or harsh; your reviewer respects the considerable time and effort you have put into your book, and will address you as one professional to another. The reviewer's focus is on helping you market your book and reach your ideal audience.

How much does it cost?

Our pricing structure is very simple:

  • $399 for a complete review with takeaway, comp titles, and design and production grades, written by an expert Publishers Weekly reviewer, with a six-week turnaround time.
  • Optional: an additional $100 to receive your review in four weeks instead of six.

Once your review is completed, there is no additional charge to make it public and publish it in the BookLife supplement of Publishers Weekly.

Can I pay more to have my book be an Editor's Pick?

No. The BookLife Reviews editorial team independently determines which books are selected as Editor's Picks, based solely on the book's literary merits. 

Can my book be rejected?

No. When you purchase a BookLife Review and provide a free digital review copy of a book that meets the eligibility criteria and BookLife Reviews Terms & Conditions, you are guaranteed to receive a review within the stated time frame. 

How is a BookLife Review different from a Publishers Weekly review?

Click here for a detailed comparison of BookLife Reviews and Publishers Weekly reviews. 

How is a BookLife Review different from the BookLife Prize?

A BookLife Review is a detailed book review written by a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The BookLife Prize is a contest. Entrants to the BookLife Prize receive brief critical assessments of their books, but those assessments are much less thorough than BookLife Reviews. Entering the BookLife Prize does not get you a BookLife Review, and purchasing a BookLife Review does not enter your book in the BookLife Prize contest. Click here to learn more about the BookLife Prize.

How is a BookLife Review different from PW Select?

A BookLife Review is a book review. PW Select is an advertising program. If you purchase a BookLife Review, you will receive a code for a discount on PW Select. Click here to learn more about PW Select.

Can I submit to both BookLife Reviews and Publishers Weekly?

Yes, and the submission form makes it easy to submit to one or both.

Can I purchase reviews for multiple books?

Yes.

Can I purchase a single review for my complete series?

Each review is tied to a single ISBN or ASIN, so books in a series need to be reviewed individually. However, if you have a single-volume omnibus or collection that is under 150,000 words and has its own ISBN or ASIN, you may submit it like any other book. Submitting series books in order is recommended. There is no guarantee that the reviewer for later series books will be familiar with the earlier books.

If I love my review, how can I make sure everyone sees it?

Make your review public to publish the complete review on your book’s project page. You’ll be able to share it and quote it as much as you like. We’ll syndicate it to websites where readers, booksellers, and librarians go to find the next hot book. It will also be published in the BookLife supplement of Publishers Weekly, reaching 68,000 publishing professionals as well as thousands of online readers. We’ll send you a free copy and you can purchase additional copies if you like.

Is there any additional cost to have the review published?

No. Making your review public and having it published in the BookLife supplement of Publishers Weekly are absolutely free.

If I don’t like the review, can I stop the review from being published or get it retracted?

Your BookLife Review is a communication directly from the reviewer to you, a tool for you to use and learn from. If you don’t want it to be published, it won’t be; it’s private by default. All reviews are meticulously fact-checked to ensure accuracy. If you find a factual error in a review, you may submit a request for a correction. Once a review has been made public, it cannot be made private or retracted.

Can I purchase more than one review for the same book, or have a review redone?

No. Once a book has been reviewed, it cannot be resubmitted for another review. 

Is a BookLife Review a paid review?

Yes, when you purchase a BookLife review you are paying for a detailed, honest review of your book, written by Publishers Weekly's expert reviewers. The reviewer's first obligation is to you, the author and customer, and BookLife Reviews reviewers understand that authors are best served through thoughtful critical assessments of a book's strengths and weaknesses.

I'm a publicist. Can I submit my client's book?

Yes, as long as it meets the eligibility criteria. The BookLife account must be created under the author's name.

Can I submit a traditionally published or hybrid published book?

A hybrid book may be submitted as long as it meets the eligibility criteria. BookLife Reviews are not open to traditionally published books at this time. See the Publishers Weekly submission guidelines for information on submitting traditionally published books for Publishers Weekly review consideration.

Where can I learn more?

Click here to see complete information and terms & conditions for BookLife Reviews.

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