How to Find Books to Review
Keeping up with a theme from last week, I thought I’d provide some tips on how to locate books you might pitch to editors for reviews before the books have actually been published. Because if you want to publish reviews in magazines, newspapers, and quite a number of Web sites that look for fresh content, you generally need to be working ahead. (Literary journals, which tend to publish less frequently, aren’t necessarily always looking to time their reviews with a book’s release.)
Here are a few ways to find out about forthcoming books:
1) Publishers Weekly’s “announcement” editions. The Fall 2009 announcements issue (for books for adults) was printed last week. Here’s a guide to upcoming hardcovers featured in the magazine. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen the print version of this issue, but I recall lots of very informative publishers’ ads tipping me off to review possibilities, too.
2) Publishers’ catalogs. Since I’m partial to university presses, I’ve been looking at the fall/winter 2009 offerings from those publishers. I count on the Association of American University Press’s member directory to get me started each season. You might also want to investigate independent presses and/or the “big” houses.
3) This is a bit complicated, but bear with me. You can also find not-yet-published books by strategically searching a mega-site like amazon.com. By browsing within a “Books” category (say, “Literature & Fiction,” further narrowed to “Short Stories”), you reach a page that allows you to sort results by publication date. The first book to show up will be the one slated for the latest publication date in the system. By reading the listing, you’ll see who is publishing the book, and therefore you’ll know where to go to request a review copy. (Be careful, because paperback releases of books initially published in hardcover will show up as new books, and in my experience, editors tend not to be so interested in publishing reviews of paperbacks that aren’t initially released in that format.)
These are my three “favorite” strategies for finding books to review. What are yours?