What to Do About Reviews

Every traditionally published book needs reviews. At Ooligan Press, we submit each of our titles to anywhere from fifty to one hundred different media outlets, bloggers, and authors for book reviews. There are a few media organizations that we approach for every book—Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and other juggernauts of book reviewers—but the review request list for each book varies depending on the genre, author, and content of the book.

For Three Sides Water, we focused on a few different elements of the book and sought reviewers who were familiar with those elements:

  • We doubled-down on regional reviewers. Author Peter Donahue lives in Washington and is an active member of the literary community there, so we reached out to reviewers and media outlets based in Seattle and other Washington locales.
  • As a Portland-based press, Ooligan requests reviews from Portland-based news outlets. We did the same for Three Sides Water, but we stretched further and requested news coverage from Oregon coastal towns, such as Astoria.
  • Three Sides Water is set on the Olympic Peninsula, so naturally we reached out to publications and reviewers who lived there. In particular, we contacted local newspapers in towns such as Port Angeles and Forks.
  • We also contacted book reviewers and bloggers who review historical fiction. Two out of three stories in Three Sides Water could be considered period pieces; moreover, Donahue’s previous books, Clara and Merritt and Madison House, are firmly in the historical fiction genre.
  • Due to the striking nature of the cover, we reached out to bloggers who post reviews on YouTube, often referred to as BookTubers.

Not everyone we contacted will be able to review the book or mention it in their newspapers. But we go into this process expecting that. Not every media outlet we contact about Three Sides Water will review it—but every person we contact is someone who then knows about the book. We’re spreading awareness of Three Sides Water no matter the response to our review request.

If you’re seeking reviews for a book, consider outlets that have reviewed your author before, where your author lives, people who reviewed your comp titles, and reviewers who would truly enjoy the book. Even if they don’t review your book, they might become potential buyers or fans.

Look for Three Sides Water in your local bookstore on May 1, 2018.

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