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December 21, 2023

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Training Authors with CJ and Shelley Hitz

We help Christian writers take a step of faith and finally finish your book!

How to Increase Your Chances of a New York Times Book Review

June 16, 2014 By Heather Hart 5 Comments Click here for FREE training for Christian writers

The New York Times Book Review

Now, not every author would want to consider this as part of their marketing strategy, in fact, I  am not currently interested, but wanted to share it with you. So, if you are interested in having your book reviewed by them, here’s what you need to know.

The New York Times Book Review Submission Guidelines

1. You must send in a review copy 4 months before the official release date

The New York Times Book Review prefers to receive pre-release galleys from book publishers 4 months prior to the books publication date. However, they will accepted a finished book if a galley is not available. This does not mean you can send a book that is already published, just that if your book is finalized (yet still 3-4 months from actual publication) you can still send them the final copy.

Not familiar with a pre-release galley? Find out more in our book, “ How to Get Honest Reviews .”

2. There is No Guarantee, Returns, or Updates

You can send your book in, but they do not promise to review it, return it, or even update you on the status. They admittedly only review a small percentage of the books they receive and do not say what they do with the review copies they are sent other than that they will not return them. Likewise, they are very clear that they won’t respond to questions about the status of reviews, or notify authors if they

3. You Must be Published within the United States of America 

The New York Times Book Review will only review books that are published in the US. If you are published through a Canadian, European or otherwise non-US publisher, as a US newspaper, The New York Times Book Review isn’t open to you.

4. Your Book Must be Available in Bookstores

Their rules also state that your book has to be made available to general-interest bookstores. Obviously if they are asking for pre-release galleys, it doesn’t have to be currently on a bookstore shelf. However, making your book available to bookstores must be part of your marketing plan, and it needs to be available to them by the time of your scheduled release (usually through a distributor such as Ingram).

Those are all of the qualifications they have listed on their website , but don’t go sticking your book in the mail just yet. Before sending your book off for their consideration, you will want to take some steps towards success.

1. Read the New York Times Book Reviews

This should go without saying, but if you want your book to be reviewed by the New York Times Book Review, you should actually read it. See what kinds of books they review, get a feel for what they like and don’t like. Basically, if this is your target audience, know what they want to read. You shouldn’t write a book just for them, but if you’ve written a book, reading what professional reviewers say about other books can help you fine-tune your own. If you’re not already subscribed, you can find out how to get a subscription mailed to you (separate from the Sunday paper) here .

2.  Establish Yourself in Your Niche

If you have never before published a book and are virtually unknown, your book is likely to get lost in the high percentage of books that the New York Times Book Review doesn’t have time for. If this is something you are interested in, I recommend building yourself up first. Publish a book or two, build an online following, make some noise!! If you become a household name in your niche, you are more likely to be recognized and picked up by the editor.

3. Have Your Book Professionally Edited

The New York Times Book Review is the big leagues. Just because it’s free to send them a book, doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the costs of publishing. Make sure that you put forth your best work by having it professionally edited (maybe even by two or three different editors). You can find a list of editors we recommend here .

4. Get a Killer Cover Designed

You’ve heard the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” right? Well, it’s a saying because all of us do it. If we see a poorly designed cover, we assume that the book itself will be just as crummy. It’s not always true, but without an eye-catching cover, your book is likely to be tossed aside. Most authors are just that, authors; not graphic designers. So get some help from someone who knows what they are doing and really make a great first impression.

If you are interested in submitting your book, you can mail a copy to the following address:

Editor The New York Times Book Review 620 Eighth Avenue, 5th Floor New York, NY 10018

Note: If you are sending a children’s book to them, you should address it to the “Children’s Book Editor”

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About Heather Hart

Connect With Heather Online: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest   For close to a decade, Heather Hart has been helping other writers make their dreams come true. As an internationally best-selling and award-winning author, with well over a dozen books in print, she knows what works and what doesn’t. Furthermore, she knows it’s possible to be a successful author without launching your own business. Her desire is to help writers keep writing… and have fun doing it. Find out more at   Love What You Read? Check This Out!   Get Heather's FREE report and learn how to make small tweaks to your book marketing that lead to big changes here .   

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December 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Would you consider reviewing a book that has already been self-published? It is called “Love, Blood, & Honor” and it is on Amazon and Kindle.

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December 20, 2014 at 9:25 am

We don’t offer review services. However, many reviewers will review books that are already published. The New York Times Book Review will not. I highly recommend checking out Readers’ Favorite:

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April 10, 2019 at 4:06 pm

How long should you wait to publish your book after it has been submitted to NY Times? They are looking for galleys and unpublished works, right. Do you continue with the publishing process or wait four months in hopes of hearing from the NY Times?

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May 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm

It seems to be a Catch-22 system glitch. Book sales rise if a book is reviewed and books are reviewed if selling. Is it possible to get pre-publication reviews?

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May 18, 2022 at 8:47 pm

If you are self-published or independently published you can begin inviting people to read an advanced review copy (ARC) prior to publication and then send them the link when it goes live. However, no one is able to post a review until your book is published.

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