“Best Of” Lists

“best of” lists

lists that proclaim your book to be the “best of” something

Who puts out “best of” lists?

Bloggers, associations, review journals, libraries, websites. A review journal might include your book on its “Best of 20__” list, or a blog might declare that yours is one of their “Highly Anticipated Books of April,” or a blogger might call your book one the “Best Books with Alien Makeovers.” These lists are designed to keep you feeling alternately inadequate and overrated; prepare yourself by reading this post on envy.

When should I expect these lists?

There are two kinds of “best of” lists: the kind that come out at the end of the year as a look back at the books published that year, and the kind that look ahead to books that are about to be published.

Expect end-of-year “best of” lists to start mostly in November, with some popping up as early as October, and expect them to wane around January. However, expect some of these lists come out, like, a year later!

As for the looking-ahead lists, keep in mind that these lists are usually made after the lister has read your ARC.  So if your book isn’t coming out in the early months of the year, it’s not going to be included on lists like “Books We Are Most Anticipating Next Year,” but it doesn’t mean no one is anticipating your book. Instead, lists closer to your publication date might include your book under the heading “Best Books Coming Out This Summer” or whatever. Likewise, if your book came out in Jan/Feb/March and was prematurely declared a “Best Book of the Coming Year,” brace yourself for the idea that lists at the end of the year might focus more heavily on books with later publication dates instead of on your lovely book.


How can I get my book on a “best of” list?

Make sure it’s the best? Haha, just kidding. You probably already know that I’m going to tell you that lists like these are subjective, and therefore it’s totally out of your control as to whether your book appears on one. Sometimes I think books get on these lists just because they appeared on one list to start with and the idea sort of snowballed from there. Unless we’re talking about your book–I’m certain that your book got on a list like this because it truly is the best of… something.

How do I know if my book got on a “best of” list?

You could scour social media for mention of these lists and go see if your book is on them. Just kidding! That’s the worst idea. If you have to scour, your book is probably not on the list.

You can hope that your editor/agent/publicist will find out and forward the info to you. Likewise, you can hope that someone on social media will notice that your book is on a list and will tag you.

Orrrrrr you can make your own best-of list, include your book on it, post it on your bathroom mirror, and forget about whether your book has the somewhat arbitrary elements that list-makers are looking for.