Getting book reviews for your book is one of the prime ways for authors, old and new, to sell more books. Unfortunately, the stigma of self-publishing, though rapidly disappearing, is still a factor to be dealt with in seeking the more established book review channels.
Publishers Weekly has a program called PW Select that is open to self-published books. It comes with a catch though. And, a price tag.
For $149, you can enter your self-published book and get a possible review. They state that approximately one out of every four books is reviewed in their magazine. Now for a regular, mainline, published book getting a book review by Publishers Weekly is usually a good thing. Even with a poor review a sentence, or even a part of a sentence, can be found redeeming and be put to good use.
The fact that Publishers Weekly has broad-mindedly opened their book reviewing doors to the self-publishers of the world sounds like a wonderful thing. But, a little Google research revealed some interesting feedback on their program.
Turns out those promised reviews may not be what you want even if your book is one of the prized 22% selected.
Kim Strickland made an interesting observation on her blog with this post. Publishers Weekly seems to relish scathing reviews of self-published books. She goes on to share that during the time she monitored them, out of 52 reviews for self-published books, only 4 were positive. The negative reviews were not simply mild suggestions that the books be left on the shelf but were as she put it, “completely scathing.”
A general rule of thumb when it comes to reviews of any kind is, that if you have to pay for them, don’t!