Is it ever too late to send review copies?

by | Mar 1, 2009 | Book Marketing Basics

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Often when I teach my book review classes through AME-U I get a few authors on the call telling me they didn’t know they needed to send their book out for review, or perhaps they did and sent it to the wrong reviewer, wrong publication, or to a market that didn’t consider their genre or (if they were self-published) didn’t want to review a self-pub’d book. So how late is too late to get reviews? Well, honestly that depends on what your book is about. We’re currently working with a book that’s two years old and review copies are flying out the door but guess what? It’s a online campaign. Online tends to be a bit more “forgiving” of time.

If you’re looking for more “bounce” for  your book and want to get reviews, try pitching topic-focused blogs, web sites, and magazines. Often these places won’t be as inundated with review requests as book bloggers and review publications will. Also, consider pitching the book as a story, rather than a review. For example our local paper, The San Diego Union Tribune, won’t consider any self published book, but if I pitch them based on a story they’re more inclined to consider it.

So if you’re feeling like you could do more for your older book, get creative. Go after the topic, rather than the glamour blogs and web sites and often you’ll find they are not only very receptive but also when you target a web site, blog or publication that is 100% your audience you’re more likely to make a sale and in the end, isn’t that what all this promotion is all about?


  1. Liana

    I agree with you. Nice article and very practical!

  2. Joy

    This is good news. You could pitch a for years as more and more sites come up within your niche. Makes it more exciting for those who are self published. Thanks for sharing.

  3. GABixler

    I wholeheartedly agree with you! I’ve just finished reviewing two books that were published several years ago…unless the book is “time specific” which few are, I see no difference. I always think about reruns and marathons on TV…do people really enjoy reruns as much as television thinks we do? Yet, for a book, there are literally millions who have NOT read a particular book, so why not continue to promote it? Many of my clients are now on social networks and are pitching their books, I help announce their presence by publishing my review of their books when they become members. There are lots of things happening online that literally creates a whole new and different market!

    Keep up your sound advice!

  4. Penny

    Thank you GA — it’s so nice to get this feedback from someone who is in the trenches. As I mentioned, we have a book that’s quite old (by publishing standards) and it’s done very well with reviews!

  5. elizabeth


    this is as I had hoped. I am seeing that there is so much about the traditional book publishing model that does not hold true with the new POD technology.

    I have listened to several of your podcasts and have found them to be quite informative.

    We are a new small publisher, March Books, who will be coming out with our first two titles – ‘Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow’ YA fantasy and ‘The Little Insanity’ Commercial Fiction.

    I was wondering if you knew of any list of pre-publication reviewers. I have not come up with anything usable. The short lists I have found are basically on-line reviewers with minimal traffic.

    any help will be appreciated.

  6. Penny

    Hey there! Thanks for the comment, we actually have a series of reviewers (about 100 of them) in the store section of the web site, under media leads.

    Good luck to you!


  7. Ed Weinsberg

    Hi, Penny,

    I wasn’t clear whether you had in mind reviews that we are to pre-write ourselves or requests for other webs in our niche to do book reviews?

    Also will the first few pages out of 2 1/2 million websites and blogs in my field (prostate cancer treatment) even want to bother reviewing my book called Conqer Prostate Cancer: How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex Can Renew Your Life, or are we to “blitz” at least 100 websites with a review request?

    Finally (and this relates to your previous fine guest who produces a Phoneix, AZ, tv station), I missed the 3rd of her 3 part series on tv-worthy books (for topical pitch more than for review purposes). How can those of us interested in getting her 3rd session obtain it? Is it still available?

    Thanks! – Ed Weinsberg

  8. Pauline Hager

    Thanks for your most informative article regarding older editions. I wish I had seen that about five years ago. I would not have spent so much time and money sending out my book for review to just any reviewer. However, I did get some results. Now, I will focus on travel magazines and send a chapter of my book on my experience staying at a Ryokan (Japanese inn) when I was living in Japan. It was quite an experience!

    Thanks, again.

    Pauline Hager

  9. Penny

    Hey Pauline! So nice to hear from you — glad you’re still on the marketing path… Good luck, Penny

  10. Lisa Copen

    I have a ministry for people who live with chronic illness or pain and many authors who approach me are self-published. If the book is good, I don’t care if it’s 10 years old! We have many outlets to support authors –inexpensive advertising, as guests on our podcast, articles in the magazine, a blog carnival, etc. Christian books on illness are rare and when they are published bookstores don’t know where to shelve them. I am happy to provide authors who have what the people we serve are looking for, an opportunity to connect with the people they want to reach.

  11. Brenda Gurung

    Thanks, Penny. I particularly liked the suggestion of topic-focused pitches.

  12. Susan K. Rowland

    Hi Penny: Just signed up for Twitter this weekend. I attended your workshop at Changing Hands in Phoenix (very useful, by the way). Thanks for the tips on promoting even when the book has been out for awhile. As GA says, there’s millions of people who haven’t read a particular book who might want to, if they only knew about you. So — keep pluggin’ away! My book is on clutter and spirituality — two perennial topics!

  13. Penny

    Hey there! Great topic for a book —- we are a bit of a clutter society, aren’t we? 🙂 Thanks for reading!



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