by Carl Pritzkat, Vice President of Business Development, PWxyz
Publishers Weekly launched BookLife, its website dedicated to indie authors, one year ago. BookLife is best known for allowing authors to submit their self-published books for Publishers Weekly review consideration for FREE. In fact, in the site’s first year, Publishers Weekly reviewed over 500 books from self-published authors.
During the last twelve months, we’ve learned a few things about what boosts a self-published book’s chances for getting reviewed. And, indie authors should remember that these reviews are completely merit-based and completely free of charge. As a result only a fraction (less than 25%) of books submitted get reviewed.
Lesson 1: Make sure your book has been thoroughly edited and proofread, ideally by a professional, before you submit it. PW reviewers judge all books by professional standards, and the best way to ensure your book meets those standards is to have a professional helping you. BookLife has a Services directory where you can find some of those professionals.
Lesson 2: The same goes for your book cover. Reviewers look at your book cover as another indication of your ability to create a book at a professional level. Sure, what’s inside your book matters most, but a professional looking cover goes a long way too.
Lesson 3: When submitting your book for review, we ask for your biography. Make sure your biography gives the reviewer all the information they need to know about you. What education or professional experience do you have that has made you a better writer? What other writing credits or books do you have? Have you received any reviews or awards? An editor or reviewer has no idea who you are, so let them know why your voice should be heard.
While following the advice of these lessons won’t guarantee a Publishers Weekly review, it will help your chances — and it will hopefully help the quality of your book and better your experience as an indie author. I hope we’ll see your submissions soon!
Carl Pritzkat is vice president of business development for PWxyz, the company that owns Publishers Weekly and BookLife. Pritzkat oversees all new business, digital strategy and product development for PWxyz and serves as president of BookLife, PWxyz’s site dedicated to indie authors. Prior to PWxyz, Pritzkat co-founded interactive media company Mediapolis, inc., where he oversaw projects for The New York Times, Viacom, NPR, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Volvo and others. Previously, he ran ECM Records for Bertelsmann. He has a degree in music from UCLA.