editorial review

Editorial reviews play a large part in both the academic and commercial publishing worlds – the more experts offer positive feedback on your work, the likelier you are to gain credibility and authority in the field.

So, what is an editorial review? And what does it include?

Let’s unpack everything there is to know!

What is an editorial review?

“Editorial review” sounds like something akin to editing, right?

Well, it’s not too far off from the truth – if we’re talking academic publishing, that is.

In academia, an editorial review happens after you submit a paper to a specific journal. An academic editor who has knowledge in the field will go through your manuscript, recommend changes, and offer expert feedback.

This helps you polish your paper to perfection before everything goes to print.

In the realm of commercial book publishing, things are a bit different. An editorial review comes after your book has been accepted for publication and often after its publication date.

In practice, it’s what it says on the label – a public review. However, it should come from an editor, a critic, or another expert in the field rather than a reader who bought the book.

Let’s say you’ve written a non-fiction book on manifestation or spirituality. A psychologist or neuroscientist might receive a copy of your book, agree with your arguments from a scientific point of view, and then praise your book publicly. It’s essentially a form of endorsement.

Why is an editorial review important?

An editorial review is always written by a third party, which means it looks at your work objectively and with minimal subconscious bias. As such, positive feedback has more value – it means an expert who doesn’t know you has read your work and loved it.

That’s not all, though. In book publishing, editorial reviews also serve for marketing purposes.

Ever looked at a book cover and seen “completely dazzling” or such by a highly established source like Publishers Weekly?

That’s also an editorial review, as is another author’s opinion. Right now, I have The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang open in front of me, and the citation on the cover says:

“Parallels with modern Chinese history resonate deeply and darkly in this blood-soaked epic of orphans and empresses, gods and shamans.” – Daily Mail

The back cover adds:

“The best fantasy debut of 2018.” – WIRED

When you see something like that in a bookstore, you think to yourself, “Oh, interesting! These people say it’s great, so I want to read the book now!”

Of course, editorial reviews are important for different reasons as far as academic journals are concerned – they’re mostly there to keep the journal’s quality and reputation as high as possible.

RELATED READ: Using Professional Editing Services is Cost-Effective

What does an editorial review include?

In academic publishing, an editor will read through the draft you’ve submitted and:

  • Look at how you’ve organized your paper, from the sequence of arguments to the paragraphs and sentences
  • Point out sections that aren’t entirely clear and need rephrasing
  • Read through the eyes of the journal’s audience (scanning the text for purpose and context)
  • Mark grammatical errors or typos
  • Think over the logic behind your arguments to see whether you’ve made a good case

In book publishing, you can send out copies of your book to other authors, editors, or experts on the subject, and ask whether they’d be happy to provide a review if they decide to read your work.

You can then use the quote for marketing purposes:

  • Place it on the front or back cover of your book
  • Use it in your social media posts or other promotional materials
  • Add it to the “editorial reviews” section on your Amazon page

If your book is getting traditionally published, your publisher may do some of the legwork for you. However, you can always take the time to think of people you’d like a review from and then ask your editor or literary agent if they think it’s a good idea to send your work to so-and-so.

The format of the editorial review varies depending on what each person says, of course – sometimes, it’s very short (“captivating”), and other times, it’s a bit longer. Usually, though, the review shouldn’t go on for too long because otherwise it will be very difficult to use it in your marketing materials.

RELATED READ: A Critique Helps – Find Out Why


Now that you know what an editorial review is, what it includes, and why it’s so important, go ahead and work hard on your novel or paper. After all, the best chance to get amazing feedback is to polish your manuscript until it glistens.

Good luck and happy writing!


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