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Historical Fiction-Friendly Book Reviewers

By Ana Brazil
October 14, 2022

Beginning this December and continuing through next Summer, a bevy of Paper Lantern Writers (including C.V. Lee, Edie Cay, Linda Ulleseit, Rebecca D’Harlingue, and perhaps even moi) are launching new books into the vast and glorious historical fiction universe.

Since GET BOOK REVIEWS!!!!!!! will be high on our pre-pub & pub checklists, I thought I’d give us (and you, if you’re a fellow author) a head start.

But before we get to the list, let’s look a little bit at why authors need readers to review their books:

  • Every written review of a book helps a potential reader identify what they might love about your book.
  • In addition, the number of stars (which is always larger than the number of written reviews) tells the potential reader how much other readers enjoyed your book.
  • Authors love to share positive, insightful, and robust reviews on their social media and blogs, thus encouraging more potential readers to take a chance on their book.
  • Authors also love to use one-liners from reviews on their Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, and other profile pages.

CAVEAT: I have not used all of these reviewers, free or for-fee. Please review (ha!) and ask questions on their websites to make sure they can provide what you’re looking for. And if you have more sites to add, and especially if you are a blogger of historical fiction reviews, please comment below.

FREE SITES:

  • Booklist is the book review journal of the American Library Association and reaches 60,000 plus librarians. It also receives more than 60,000 review requests a year. Their submissions page has extensive information on their dos and don’ts. Also see the Blue Ink Review comments below.
  • The Historical Novel Society reviews historical fiction of all types, including dual timelines, historical fantasy, children and young adult, and “novel-length collections of historical short stories or novellas”. You do not need to be a member to submit your novel for review, and not all members receive reviews.
  • Library Journal reviews books for their “potential interest to a broad spectrum of libraries. To be considered for review, books must be of national interest. Review copies should be received six months prior to publication. Review coverage is not automatic; many books submitted are not reviewed.”
  • Readers’ Favorite reports that “Your [free] review will be posted on our site, KOBO, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, our reviewers often post reviews to their blogs and social media sites.” The free review is not guaranteed, but they have pay-for-a-review options.
  • Erin of Historical Fiction Reader reads over a hundred historical fiction titles a year and reviews many of them. She’s currently not taking submissions, but when she is you can find her here.
  • Lesa of Lesa’s Book Critiques  is a library manager/administrator in Indiana who reads a tremendous amount of mystery books (including historicals) and writes copious reviews. She does not review ebooks, but she does accept review requests through her website form.  
  • Lizzie of Elementary My Dear shares her reviews on Goodreads, StoryGraph and her blog, and possibly Twitter and Instagram. She also mentions every book in her YouTube monthly wrap-ups, and may feature in other videos.
  • Davida from The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog has a precise book reviewing policy. She’s not accepting submissions right now, although she’s open to you convincing her otherwise.
  • Susan at Digging in the Past posts her reviews on her blog and Facebook page, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and Twitter.

 FOR-FEE SITES:

  • Blue Ink Review posts their reviews on both their website and Ingram’s databases. Reviews of select titles also run in (their sibling publication?) Booklist, in their newsletter, on social media, and on Goodreads.
  • The Book Review Directory offers editorial (instead of mere book) reviews, and provides an unbiased reviewer, a professional opinion, and quotes for marketing.
  • Historia, the magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association appears to review 3-4 books every quarter. It’s unclear if reviews are for members only, but if so then I’m considering it a for-fee site.
  • IndieReader includes titles receiving 4 to 5 stars in their Best Reviewed Books of the Month feature, which is posted to their site and sent to 10,000+ subscribers.
  • Kirkus reviews are “written by qualified professionals, such as librarians, nationally published journalists, creative executives” and include significant summary content as well as professional opinion-based analysis of the work. Reviews range from 250-500 words and might be published in Kirkus Reviews magazine and their newsletter.

BOOK REVIEW SYSTEMS (FOR-FEE):

  • Booksprout advocates for review teams and offers review campaigns—opportunities for readers to download your book for free in exchange for reviews. “In general, authors can expect about 8 reviews for every 10 participants.”
  • NetGalley promotes “digital review copies to book advocates and industry professionals”. Readers are “expected to provide feedback for the books and audiobooks they access, in exchange for receiving free digital review copies.”
  • Story Origin believes in building review teams and your newletter base at the same time. They also provide some useful information about reviewing.


ALREADY GOT REVIEWERS FOR YOUR BOOK? ASK THEM TO POST THEIR REVIEWS HERE:

Review Mari Christie’s BLIND TRIBUTE on BookBub.
  • BookBub hosts Community Reviews and makes writing review kinda fun. Once you’re logged in and have found the book you want to review, simply click the red Write a Review button. You’ll get a screen like this, which gives you options to describe the book and a place to write a narrative review.
  • Amazon enables you to leave a book review but may reject it, often if you did not purchase the book through them. But even if you didn’t purchase through Amazon, you could still cut and paste and Goodreads and Bookbub reviews in Amazon and see if it sticks.
  • Goodreads welcomes member reviews and there is no purchase required.
  • Apple Books (on iPhone and iPad)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Google Play Books
  • Kobo


RIP:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Discovering Diamonds—one of Paper Lantern Writers’ favorite reviewers of historical fiction—closed shop during the summer. Thanks to founder Helen Hollick and her many reviewers!

 

FINALLY, A LITTLE LAGNIAPPE:

From LitHub, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About How the NY Times Book Review Works.

From Reedsy, Best Historical Fiction Book Review Blogs of 2022. Warning…it’s really any blogger who includes “historical fiction” in their preferences.

From Indies Today, List of Indie Book Reviewers.

Finis!

Ana Brazil
Written by Ana Brazil

Ana Brazil writes historical crime fiction celebrating bodacious American heroines. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Historical Novel Society, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers.
Ana’s latest historical mystery is THE RED-HOT BLUES CHANTEUSE, which features murder, mayhem, and music in 1919 San Francisco. Her award-winning historical mystery FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER is set in Gilded Age New Orleans.

View Ana’s PLW Profile

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