If you are a self-published author and don’t mind waiting 4-6 weeks, and handing over some cash, you can now get a professionally written public-facing review from the US-based trade journal Publishers Weekly.

Public-facing? That is to say, reviews written with readers in mind rather than trade professionals, so ideal for the retailer product pages. Except it wont be called a Publishers Weekly review. It will be called a BookLife review.

Publishers Weekly explains,

BookLife Reviews differ from Publishers Weekly reviews in that they are longer—approximately 300 words, compared to 200-250 words for a Publishers Weekly review—and are focused on reaching readers rather than booksellers and librarians.

Authors are guaranteed to receive a review, and may elect whether to have it published in the monthly BookLife supplement, which is bound into the print edition of Publishers Weekly.

The review process will take 4-6 weeks and will be regarded as a trade review by retailers, rather than classified as a reader review and relegated to the reader reviews section.

For that reason the opportunity is going to appeal to many self-publishers, but we should be clear BookLife Reviews will be written by Publishers Weekly reviewers, but,

remain distinct from Publishers Weekly reviews. The service is designed to help self-published authors reach readers by providing them with credible and reliable assessments of their work from reviewers with expertise in their genres and styles.

Publishers Weekly adds,

Self-published authors are also still invited to submit their books to Publishers Weekly for review consideration at no cost.

For those unfamiliar, BookLife is a monthly supplement dedicated to self-publishing. The new self-published books reviews service will have Rose Fox, a long-standing Publishers Weekly reviewer and advocate of self-publishing, overseeing the venture.

Fox said,

An honest and detailed review from BookLife Reviews highlights a book’s strengths and analyses its potential for reaching an audience while giving the author a valuable assessment of ways that future editions or future books can be made even better. Our insights help each author target their marketing efforts to the readers who are most likely going to enjoy their book. Marketing can be complicated and daunting; a BookLife review will help to guide the author through.

Each BookLife Review consists of:

Three full paragraphs (about 300 words) of plot summary, critique, and analysis of your book, including an assessment of which readers are most likely to enjoy the book.

An honest, positive one-sentence takeaway that summarizes the reviewer’s opinion of the book’s best aspects and likely audience.

Comparison (comp) titles and/or authors.

Letter grades (from A+ to C) for five production elements: cover art, interior design and typography, illustrations (if applicable), editing, and marketing copy.

Superlative books may be selected as Editor’s Picks, indicated by a lightning bolt (⚡️) next to the title. This is an unbiased indication of truly outstanding quality.

At no additional cost, you may choose to have the review published in the monthly BookLife section of Publishers Weekly, putting your book in front of 68,000 publishing professionals as well as millions of online readers, and syndicated to numerous outlets where readers, booksellers, and librarians look for information on exciting new books.

All this sounds great, but how much is this going to cost the author?

$399 is the answer, or about $1.30 per word.

The bright side is that if the review is positive it’s likely to be a worthwhile investment, as the review can be cited pretty much anywhere, to add credibility to the work. And if the review is not what the author hoped for, it can be quietly set aside. No-one will know but the author, the reviewer and the taxman wondering how you managed to spend $399 with nothing to show for it.

More about the BookLife paid reviews here.

It’s worth adding that for half the price, just $149, authors can submit their titles to PW Select. This is not a review service but a promotions service, whereby the book (cover and synopsis) will appear in:

Publishers Weekly‘s print and digital edition

– the home page of PublishersWeekly.com

– the home page of BookLife.com

– BookLife’s weekly email newsletter to 21,000 recipients

– BookLife’s Twitter and Facebook channels