Publishers Weekly Reviews FAQs
Everything you need to know about submitting your self-published book for consideration for a Publishers Weekly review.
What is a Publishers Weekly review?
A Publishers Weekly review is the most highly regarded review in the publishing industry. It is a capsule book review of about 200 words. PW reviews are primarily geared toward helping booksellers and librarians decide which books to purchase. Reviews are written by experts in the book's genre or field, and are published anonymously in Publishers Weekly magazine and on publishersweekly.com. Superlative books may receive the coveted PW star, an unbiased indication of truly outstanding quality.
What books are eligible to be submitted to PW through BookLife?
Any self-published book (or works for which the author has subvented the cost of the book’s publication) in the English language that is or soon will be commercially available in the United States may be submitted. If you’re submitting a book pre-publication, you must submit the final version of your manuscript.
What formats are accepted?
Normally PW reviews books in all formats, but because of Covid-19, they are only accepting digital copies of books. To submit a digital copy, 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.
How do I submit my book?
Please see our submission guidelines and step-by-step instructions.
Do I have to pay anything for my book to be considered for review?
No. There is no fee of any kind associated with BookLife registration or with submitting a book for Publishers Weekly review. However, a review is not guaranteed. For information on paid, guaranteed reviews, please see our BookLife Reviews program.
Can I buy a Publishers Weekly review, or pay for a positive review?
No. All books are considered solely on merit, and all reviews reflect the reviewer's honest critical opinion.
Can I submit more than one book for review?
How does the reviewing process work?
PW’s reviews editors consider a number of factors when deciding whether or not to review a book. Quality of writing, production value, originality of ideas, platform and expertise of the author, and a book’s overall uniqueness are some of what an editor takes into account. Editors use the same criteria for evaluating BookLife entries that they have always used for considering books from major publishers. To increase your chances of receiving a review, we encourage you to use our self-evaluations before submitting your book. If a book is declined for a Publishers Weekly review via either BookLife or PW's GalleyTracker site, it may not be submitted again via the other platform.
Why are self-published submissions handled differently from submissions from traditional publishers?
BookLife was built from the ground up with individual author-publishers in mind, and is designed to address the needs of submitting titles on a smaller scale than what most traditional publishers require.
How long does it take for my book to be selected or declined for review?
Depending on the volume of submissions, we estimate it will take between six and twelve weeks. You will receive emails with status updates as your book moves through the review process.
I don’t have an ISBN or ASIN. Can I still submit my book for review consideration?
No. You must have an ISBN or an ASIN to be considered for review. If you don't have an ISBN, you can learn more about how to get one here.
After I submit my book, may I change the information I submitted?
No. When you submit your book for PW review consideration, the BookLife system sends a copy of your book's information to PW's review system. Once that transmission takes place, no changes can be made to the information in the PW review system. You can continue to update and change information on your book's BookLife Project page, but none of that information will be reflected in the PW review system.
Can I submit my entire series?
BookLife recommends you register one title at a time (and in chronological order), allowing PW's editors to assess each book in your series independently.
If my book is reviewed, where does the review appear?
PW book reviews appear in the pages of Publishers Weekly, on publishersweekly.com, and on many major bookselling sites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, and Google Play Books. Reviews of self-published books are reprinted in PW’s monthly BookLife section.
If my book is reviewed and I don’t like the review, can I stop the review from being published or get it retracted?
No. PW’s reviews are widely syndicated, and once published cannot be retracted. We encourage you to take advantage of BookLife’s many free resources to make sure your book is as great as it can be before you submit it for review consideration. If you believe there are factual errors in the review, you may submit a request for a correction.
My book's submission status indicates it was selected for review, but no review has been published. Is my book still being reviewed?
The review process for BookLife books—from the time a book is selected for review until the review's publication in the magazine—can take twelve weeks or more. When the review of your book is published, we will notify you via email with a link to the online version of your review. However, being selected for review consideration is no guarantee of a review. There is a chance that unforeseen circumstances could result in the cancellation of a review.
My book has already been considered for review by Publishers Weekly. Can I submit my book again?
No. If you’ve submitted your book for review and it was declined, then you cannot submit it again. Doing so may result in the book being removed from BookLife. The best way to increase your odds of having your book reviewed is to make sure it is up to professional standards.
My publisher submitted my book for review. Can I also submit it independently via BookLife?
BookLife was built to assist individual author-publishers in submitting their books to PW for review. If your publisher has already submitted your book for review, do not submit it again via BookLife. Doing so may result in your book being removed from consideration.
I'm a publicist. Can I submit my client's book?
Yes, as long as it meets our eligibility criteria. The BookLife account must be created under the author's name.
Does PW review art books?
Yes. Please submit physical copies of art/photography books, unless the book is only sold in e-book format.
Does PW review reference books?
PW generally does not review reference books. Reference books are intended primarily for consultation rather than for consecutive reading. Examples of reference books we typically don't review: The Encyclopedia of Hockey by Bobby Gretzkey, Great Hikes in Hudson Valley by Ona Outdoors.
What happens to print copies submitted to PW? Can PW return them?
We cannot return print copies after the submission process is completed. Adult books are donated to Housing Works and children's books are donated to Lisa's Libraries.