Clueless. Nervous. That's how I felt when my editor told me I would need to find reviewers for my upcoming book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell. I had never done this before. But that's no excuse. It was time to figure it all out.
Since I'm a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, I turned to the SCBWI book reviewers directory, a comprehensive reliable source. As I studied the directory, I made a list of reviewers who accepted picture books. Next, I visited their websites to learn more about their submission policies.
Afterwards, I goggled "reviewers and picture books." Some of these reviewers like Publisher's Weekly, The Picture Book Review, and New Pages were added those to my list. Then, I began to fine-tune the list based on three points. First, a reviewer could not charge a fee. Secondly, the reviewer must guarantee a timely and a fair review. Lastly, reviewers had to have updated websites.
You might think that's all there is to it. List completed. But there's one more step. I learned that an author should comment on a reviewer's website. So, once a week I read the reviewer's blogs and try to leave a comment. This step is all about making connections.
For now, there are about fifteen to twenty reviewers on my list. My publisher Saturn's Moon Press will probably step in as well, because some reviewers require that the publishing house, not the author, send an advanced copy of the book for review.
Clueless? Nervous? Yes, but not as much as when I first started. I'm still learning. However, the more I read about reviewers and connect with them, the more confident I'll be when it's time to get reviews.