Getting Valuable Book Reviews

Getting Valuable Book Reviews 1024 576 Reader Views

by Yvonne Blackwood

The “how to” list goes on and on about what authors should do to make readers aware of their books. I have tried many of the suggestions, and I’m sure many authors have too. 

 Get Reader Reviews

 One of the most popular suggestions states that authors should get reader reviews. They tell us that readers tend to buy books with ten or more customer reviews and that our books stand little chance of getting sales without reviews. In our world of online shopping, I believe this is true. I certainly check a few customer reviews before I purchase an item online unless a friend recommended it. The issue is, that many readers do not bother to write reviews. 

 But I also learned that it is not only customer reviews that sell books. Editorial reviews can be most influential, for while some customer reviews may show bias, editorial reviews should not. They are objective reviews of a book by a third party and are usually done by a professional editor, critic, columnist or other authority in the book’s genre or subject. Editorial reviews are written by media companies like the New York Times or paid influential Book reviewers like Kirkus, Foreword Review and Blueink Review. 

 Editorial Reviews represent endorsements

 An editorial review acts as an endorsement of your work. If a known author, influencer, or expert in the field of your genre writes an editorial review, this can help draw the attention of potential readers. 

 How to get Editorial Reviews

 First, consider who you want to write an editorial review for your book. Most reputable influential book reviewers offer free book reviews but do not guarantee that books submitted will receive a review. Publishers Weekly advises that only a small percentage of books submitted will be reviewed. There is no charge for their reviews, and “All books are considered solely on merit, and all reviews reflect the reviewer’s honest critical opinion.” The thing is, most of these reviewers want to receive your manuscript months in advance of your publication date.

 Consider obtaining Editorial Reviews

 I paid for a Foreword review for my latest published book, College Life of a Retired Senior. I also submitted my manuscript for a free review to BookLife, the sister company of Publishers Weekly, which handles Indie authors.

 After several months BookLife sent me an email advising that no one had reviewed the manuscript and I should indicate if they should still consider it. What did I have to lose? It was supposed to be a free review, so I agreed they should continue.

In February I received this email from BookLife:

 Dear Yvonne,

Our editors have looked at the BookLife project you submitted (College Life of a Retired Senior), and are considering it for review. While this is no guarantee that your book will receive a Publishers Weekly review, you have cleared an important hurdle. Remember, the review consideration process can take between six and twelve weeks…

 Two weeks later, BookLife advised that they published the review in the March issue of their magazine: . They also published it in Publishers Weekly: 

Please note that this publication, READER VIEWS, offers 3 types of review programs. The Standard Review Service is a complimentary service, but they cannot guarantee your book will be selected for a review. The Guaranteed Review Service guarantees a review within 3 weeks of the reviewer receiving the book (books over 400 pages take additional time). And, the Literary Awards Program, where every entry receives a book review.

 I encourage authors, especially indie authors, to submit their books to influential book reviewers who offer free reviews. You never know if they will select your book. Regarding cost, while Publishers Weekly reviews are free, Booklife charges $399 for a complete review written by an expert Publishers Weekly reviewer, with a six-week turnaround time. There is a surcharge of $100 for books over 100,000 words.

I am thrilled with the review. I paid nothing and it has exposed my book to many new eyeballs.


Yvonne Blackwood is the author of four adult non-fiction books: Into Africa, A Personal JourneyWill That Be Cash or Cuffs? Into Africa: The Return, and College Life of a Retired Senior. She published three children’s picture books: Nosey Charlie Comes to TownNosey Charlie Goes to Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes on a Wiener. She is an award-winning short-story writer and has contributed stories to several anthologies, including Human KindnessCanadian Voices, and Wordscape. Blackwood published articles in More of Our CanadaAdelaideInTouch and Green Prints. She has written columns for newspapers, including the Toronto Star. She is a graduate of the University of Technology and graduated from York University with a BA majoring in English. She was a banker for many years and is a Fellow of The Institute of Canadian Bankers and an alumnus of the Humber College School of Writers. 

Learn more about Yvonne Blackwood and her work at:

You can also connect with Yvonne at:

College Life of a Retired Senior: A Memoir of Perseverance, Faith, and Finding the Way

Seven years after she retired from a lengthy career in banking, Yvonne Blackwood surprised her friends and family by returning to school at age sixty-four to pursue an English degree. Her purpose was fueled by four powerful reasons—to add texture to her writing; to ward off dementia; to enhance structure in her life; and to inspire her two young grandsons to continue their education after high school. But as she stepped onto the campus of Canada’s third-largest university, Blackwood had no idea of the hurdles she was about to face.

In a retelling of her journey into a new beginning, Blackwood details how, after enrolling in York University, she struggled to maintain her established lifestyle, attend class with hard-to-connect-with millennials, and face a series of challenges that included two strikes at the university, a campus lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shocking health diagnosis in her final year of studies. While leaning on the university’s motto—the way must be tried—Blackwood tells an inspiring story of how she persevered and learned to rely on her faith as she bravely conquered her fears and vulnerabilities to eventually achieve her goal.

College Life of a Retired Senior is the true story of a former bank manager’s experiences as she returned to college in the third act of life to earn a degree in English.

1 comment
  • Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Yvonne, here’s my disclaimer. I’m a regular contributor to this same blog who is re-editing my “How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically” for a second edition published by Modern History Press. Naturally, when I saw this post listed in the Reader Views’ newsletter, I turned to it to see if I could learn anything new. Well! I not only found some tidbits, but I’ll be quoting you in that edition! Great job with enough detail to be super valuable to any author no matter how their book might be published–traditional, large, small, hybrid, partner, indie or truly self-published from first draft to uploading it on Amazon. Thank you!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

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