Getting books reviewed & book review opportunities?

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In our August “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I have a question about book reviews. I am a junior assistant professor, and I plan to complete/publish a book project before getting tenured.

I have seen that books in my field (from the same press) that were published around the same time get very different number of reviews. Some of them are reviewed by 6-8 scholars, whereas others are reviewed by only 2-3 people. I am wondering about this discrepancy: how can a junior person make sure that their book is going to receive a larger number of reviews and attention?

I have seen that other junior people write book reviews. Are people invited to write book reviews, or could they just send their book reviews to journals? Do people try to connect to others, perhaps more senior scholars, by writing book reviews?

I would like to know your reasons for writing book reviews/declining requests for book reviews and suggestions about how junior people should proceed with regard to book reviews. Thanks a lot!

These are all good questions. I’m not sure how journals decide which books to review (I suspect it probably has to do with expected reader interest in the book). However, my sense is that the best thing a junior author can probably do to get reviews is to simply reach out to book review editors to see if they are interested in being sent a copy.

Usually, authors are given a bunch of free copies by their publisher, so if a journal expresses interest in doing a review, this can be a good way to get them a copy (N.B., I’ve heard that publishers are making it more difficult for journals to get print review copies, so this strategy may be especially helpful nowadays).

In terms of writing book reviews, my sense is that most journals do it by invite, and that many journals don’t accept unsolicited reviews. However, some places, such as Philosophy in Review, accept unsolicited requests to review books. It might be good to hear from readers in the know which journals do this.

In any case, what do you all think? Authors: what are the best ways to get your books reviewed? And editors: what are the best ways for someone interested in writing a book review to get invited to write a review?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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