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Will my book get reviewed in the New York Times?

Most books will not get reviewed in the New York Times. Most authors will not get an interview on NPR. These are very, very competitive publicity opportunities, because exponentially more books get published in a year than these major outlets have available slots for review or interview. The elements that factor into an author getting one of these slots are many, and nearly all of them are outside the control of the author and the university press.

If you have an existing relationship with an editor at a major review publication—for instance, if you’ve written for the publication in the past—it can increase your likelihood of getting a review at that publication. Let your marketing and publicity department know about this relationship. They may suggest that you reach out directly to your contact, and they can help you with the language to use in your email. The marketing questionnaire is a terrific tool for sharing this information up front with your marketing and publicity team.

While reviews in any given national outlet can be a long shot, larger presses tend to have more resources to reach out to specific review organizations on an individual basis, as well as to build long-term relationships with book review editors. If it’s deeply important to you to get a review in one or more periodicals, ask about that when you’re going through the proposal process. For instance, if Electric Literature is your dream review site, you might ask, “Do books from your press regularly get covered in Electric Literature? Do books from your press ever get coverage in Electric Literature? What kind of relationships does your marketing department have with online literary magazines like Electric Literature?”

It’s easy to focus on a review in the New York Times as an outward marker of success. But a single review in the biggest outlet possible isn’t the only—or even necessarily the best—promotional strategy. Think about what other websites, newspapers, and magazines your target audience may read. Look up the books that your work is in conversation with, and see which outlets covered those books. Don’t be afraid to offer specific suggestions to your publisher! Smaller outlets may not have the reach of the New York Times, but their readers are often more passionate and more loyal. Putting energy and resources into getting coverage at those outlets may be a vastly more effective way to alert readers to your book and convert ad and review coverage into sales.

—LSU Press, September 2023

See also “What is the typical timeline for marketing promotion?”