Foreword Reviews Celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2023

First magazine to exclusively cover indie books exemplifies change in publishing

TRAVERSE CITY, MIForeword Reviews is celebrating its 25th-year anniversary as the premier magazine for reviews of independently published books.

After its founding in 1998 as the first magazine to focus exclusively on indie books and publishers, Foreword now: 

  • Reaches 36,000 booksellers and librarians annually 
  • Sees 300,000 readers perusing reviews online each year
  • Has published more than 30,000 long-form book reviews

In addition to publishing a bimonthly print magazine, online reviews and author interviews, Foreword hosts the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, annually recognizing the best independent presses and authors. Now, they also provide editing services, a paid review service, and foreign rights exchange at international  trade shows.


Back in 1998, Founder/Publisher Victoria Sutherland saw indie publishing was about to explode, but the industry wasn’t giving it much attention. She turned some of that steadfast focus on top publishing houses to the overlooked yet growing small presses. She ensured that Foreword looked and felt like “a gift,” with top quality paper, clean design, and gorgeous illustrations. Learn about Foreword’s rise from its origins to a sustainable business here.

“When we started, most of the publishing industry saw independent presses as a fad that was certain to fade away. I believe Foreword helped give them some well deserved cred, and our reviews elevated them as serious contributors to the national literary scene,” Sutherland said. “I hope Foreword is now seen as a legacy media platform that continues to celebrate indies’ unique contributions and diverse voices.”

Foreword was founded to help librarians and booksellers find trusted reviews of independently published books for their shelves. By giving indies the spotlight, the company aims to encourage diversity and risk-taking in publishing. 

Follow Foreword Reviews on social media: 

Facebook: @ForewordReviews | Twitter: @ForewordReviews | Instagram: @ForewordReviews

Partnership with The American Library Association

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Foreword Reviews is partnering with The American Library Association (ALA) for a special event:

June 28 from 9am-3pm

Library Insights Summit:

Connecting Publishers & Librarians

ALA Conference, Chicago IL 

This is an opportunity for publishers to meet with librarian innovators during a day-long, pre-ALA event focused on recasting challenges as opportunities. Librarian changemakers who are particularly focused on building inclusive communities will serve as special guests, and their guidance will provide a template for publishers to work more successfully with libraries across North America.

A Q&A with Foreword Founder Victoria Sutherland

What role does Foreword Reviews play in the publishing industry, and why is it important?

Foreword is a discovery tool for the trade and avid readers to find great books from independent presses. Librarians and booksellers are inundated with new books, and curation in the form of reviews is critical to their acquisition processes. In the last couple of years, avid readers found us via our website as indie reviews bubbled to the top in their searches.

What are you most proud of from the past 25 years of publishing Foreword?

The spirit of indies is about exploring personal values, authenticity, and happiness. In that vein, I think the thing I am most proud of is that I was able to run a company and support a small staff of talented individuals who wished to stay in beautiful northern Michigan and pursue a profession that contributes to literary culture.

Where do you want to see Foreword go/grow in the future?

It seems like journals devoted to books are a dying breed, while interest in books and reading continues to grow, as it has for hundreds of years. However, the landscape for presses to get the attention of readers, or shelf space in bookstores and libraries, has become very competitive. Independent publishers are not going away, and by collaborating with each other, I think we, and they, stand a better chance of surviving against the bigger houses, and even thriving. I would like to see Foreword drive that community bond through events, expanded coverage online, and raising indie awareness on social media platforms.

Foreword Reviews’ Covers From Over the Years




Praise for Foreword’s Impact on the Industry

“I love that I can depend on Foreword to bring me trending, fresh publications for my library patrons. There are thousands of books being published each month…Knowing you have a selection of handpicked books for me to consider helps me make the best purchase decisions for my patrons and budget.”

—MH, Glen Carbon, IL

“The warmth and care that the team at Foreword Reviews exudes is evident in every part of their process, from the stunning artwork they pick for the covers to the quality of the paper in the magazine to their in-person presence at conferences. There are few better champions for indie publishers than Foreword Reviews—we are lucky to have them in our corner.”

—Irene Vázquez, Assistant Editor and Publicist, Levine Querido

Foreword Reviews is singularly notable for their thoughtful reviews, which are eminently quotable thanks to their high standards in succinct summaries followed by insightful commentary. And there’s always a well-honed turn of phrase to convey the tone or theme of the book, like describing a middle grade pandemic-themed book as having at its ‘heartfelt core, the awkward, funny, and incomparable essence of being truly human.’ Foreword Reviews is literary, intelligent, enthusiastic, and on-trend with industry inclinations, but at its core, they understand that good books connect us to our shared humanity.”

—Ilise Levine, Director of Sales and Marketing, Shadow Mountain Publishing

“For years, Foreword has been a great partner to us in the publishing world! From reviews to awards to advertising, their platform helps to legitimize independent publishers and get us in front of major players in the bookstore and library space. Not only is their team a delight to work with, but they bring priceless expertise and clout to a space that absolutely needs more indie coverage.”

—Kaylee Walterbach, Publishing Operations Manager, BiggerPockets

“Increasingly, there are fewer and fewer outlets that review books. Foreword Reviews has published literate, well-written reviews of university press books for 25 years. The University of Notre Dame Press salutes Foreword’s talented team of reviewers and thanks you for your continued support of university press books and authors.”

—Kathryn Pitts, Marketing and Publicity Director, University of Notre Dame Press

“We have celebrated Foreword since its beginning and continue to do so. Foreword does such important work in highlighting the small press marketplace. Congratulations on a wonderful 25 years! It has been our privilege to partner with you!”

—Caitlin Hamilton Summie, President, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity

Foreword has long been ahead of the pack in spotlighting works from independent presses who publish with purpose. Like many of the publishers they celebrate, Foreword believes in the transformative power of ideas and the book as the best vehicle for them. Throughout their 25 years they have been integral in connecting readers to the lesser-known, the under-the-radar, the off-the-wall, and the sleeper-hit with care, curiosity, attentiveness, and prescience. In a world of ponderous Goliaths, Foreword’s editors and writers have been ever in the corner of the slingshot-wielding underdogs. Their work is critical to the publishing ecosystem, and we at Heyday are grateful for all they do. Here’s to another 25 years!”

—Kalie Caetano, Marketing and Publicity Manager, Heyday Books

Foreword Reviews is one of the foremost champions of independent authors, presses and books. Their in-depth reviews, thoughtful features and luxurious print magazine is a rare gem in an entertainment industry where high quality, dedicated book coverage (especially for independent authors) has become entirely too rare.” 

—Marissa DeCuir, President, Books Forward and Books Fluent

BFFs June 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features reading lists, highlights of our BFFs, and a special chance for our BFFs to chat with Books Forward team members

Download the June 2021 newsletter here!

Books Forward March 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the March 2021 newsletter here!

BFFs March 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features some fun reading lists, highlights of our BFFs, upcoming events, and the announcement of our bookish T-shirt giveaway winner!

Read the March 2021 newsletter here!

BFFs January 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features upcoming events, a special pre-order offer, highlights our BFFs, and much more!

Read the January 2021 newsletter here!

6 Amazing Book Art Sculptures for National Book Lovers Day

Well-told stories are works of art — and the books that house them can become literal, visual works of art too! In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we’re sharing some of the best examples of book art we’ve come across. From whimsical fairy tale book sculptures, to paper couture, to jaw-dropping literary landscapes, here’s a fresh way to feed your imagination and celebrate your love for literature today!

Did you ever read about Tolkein’s Middle Earth and feel like you were actually there? Well with the incredible book carvings of Guy Laramee, you can actually see the sweeping mountain ranges, dappled scrub, and secretive caves brought to life. Laramee sandblasts his books (sometimes using entire volume sets at once!) to create topographical marvels that look startlingly real and adventure-ready. We can scarcely believe this is paper!

If you’ve ever wished to be transported into a fairy tale, the art of Su Blackwell will whisk you away. From lonesome castles to cheerful tree houses to mysterious woodlands, we can’t stop marveling over Blackwell’s meticulous detail (just look at those leaves!). She also adds lights to her book sculptures, creating a warm welcoming glow (with the occasional sinister shadow) that makes every fairy tale scene come to life. She’s even created life-size set design versions of her book art for the stage–magical! 

Here’s another ultra-detailed book sculptor who is using his art to send a message. Thomas Wightman explores the experience of compulsive OCD within his carefully cut pages and tiny dye-cut letters. Whether it’s a ship spiraling into the papery depths or a book being eaten from the inside out by paper moths, Wightman tackles obsessive compulsive disorder and mental health with deep emotion and stunning craftsmanship. 

Brian Dettmer has found a brilliant way of recontextualizing book illustrations into fresh, multifaceted art pieces. Using scalpels, tweezers, and other surgical tools (thus earning himself the nickname “The Book Surgeon”) he cuts out illustrations and layers them on top of one another to create a three dimensional work of art. The result is contemporary, striking and tactile, inviting you to discover layers of meaning within layers of paper.

Sylvie Falcon is making all of our literary couture dreams come true. The French designer repurposes irreparably damaged books into stunning, wearable works of art. From her pink page tea dress to her stunning book spine ball gown, her fashions look straight out of a fairy tale book (and are probably crafted from their pages!). We’re ready to fall down a rabbit hole or dance the night away in these frolicsome frocks–can we order one to size??

Ready to give paper art or book sculpture a try? Our content creator Chelsea at Books Forward tried her hand at making a wearable paper dress thanks to prixprix’s fantastic Instructables tutorial found on this awesome DIY paper crafts list! She also sculpted a wig with paper mache, origami, paper towel rolls and book pages. Paper is pliable, inexpensive and easy to work with — perfect for crafting, and easier than you think! Ready to make your own book art? Tag us @booksforward to share your creations with us!

Happy National Book Lovers Day! 

Book recommendations for every dad this Father’s Day

We’re the kind of people who buy books for every occasion, and Father’s Day is no exception. We’ve compiled a list of book recommendations based on the type of dad you have in case you aren’t sure where to start looking!

  1. For the dad who loves police procedurals: Missions by Marc McGuire, Long Bright River by Liz Moore
  2. For the dad who likes to be kept on his toes: Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris, Know Where You Sleep by Alan Orloff
  3. For the dad who is fascinated by cults: Sins of the Mother by August Norman, The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
  4. For the dad who has a great relationship with his daughter: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Price of Safety by Michael C. Bland
  5. For the dad who likes to read with his kids: Games of Deception by Andrew Maraniss, Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  6. For the dad who enjoys being out in nature: The Gyroscope of Life by David Parrish, H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald
  7. For the dad who does NOT enjoy being out in nature: The Ultimate Guide for the Avid Indoorsman by John Driver, The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall
  8. For the sports-obsessed dad: The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe by Granville Wyche Burgess, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  9. For dads who are history buffs: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, Soldiers of Freedom by Samuel Marquis
  10. For the dad who loves a good revenge plot: The Unrepentant, E.A. Aymar, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

JKS Communications celebrates 20 years with launch of Books Forward publicity and Books Fluent publishing

Veteran book publicity firm JKS Communications has been moving books forward for 20 years, and the company is proud to celebrate this anniversary with the launch of two new companies under its brand. Books Forward will continue the signature creative, customized book marketing and author publicity campaigns, and a new indie publishing division, Books Fluent, will provide professional editorial, design and publishing services. 


JKS has promoted more than 700 authors, small presses, literary award programs and publishing houses since 2000. The Books Forward team will continue to represent both traditionally published authors and independently published books that meet high industry standards. Services include traditional publicity through mainstream and book-centric media, book tour development, author branding and digital marketing.

Books Forward has a particular passion for books that empower, inspire and move the world forward. Clients include New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss, whose award-winning historical nonfiction examines race and social justice through sports; USA Today bestselling author Jenny Milchman, famous for the “world’s longest book tour”; YA author J. Elle, set to release her #ownvoices debut after garnering attention through a social media campaign; Mary Higgins Clark award winner and national president of Sisters in Crime Lori Rader-Day; indie published success story S.B. Alexander, who later helped Books Forward build its digital marketing division; “The World is Just a Book Away” anthology of stories from Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actresses and other world leaders; Chaithanya Sohan, who explores themes of home and belonging in the U.S. through immigrant stories; Holocaust survivor and scholar Laureen Nussbaum, who shines light on unsung heros; and #1 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick author Cheryl Rainfield, an international child abuse and feminist advocate.

“Our foundation is built on veteran journalists, giving our team a unique strength. Through national media outlets, we share books to make the world a better and brighter place,” the company’s President Marissa DeCuir said. “And it’s that love of meaningful stories that powers our team to share authors’ important messages, and inspire readers with engaging fiction and nonfiction. The world needs some positivity, and readers crave books that matter — to them and to our world.”


JKS’ new indie publishing company, Books Fluent, transforms manuscripts into high-quality commercial books that equal or exceed industry standards. 

Having guided authors through the self-publishing process for years, Books Fluent’s team of industry experts expands upon these services. The company offers professional book editing, on-trend cover design and interior layout, savvy distribution plans, and management of ISBNs, copyrights, and other nitty gritty tasks.

Books Fluent’s expertise empowers authors to learn the unique language of this industry and become successful publishers, rising above the competition of more than 3 million books released every year.


Books Forward and Books Fluent will celebrate their launches throughout 2020 with prizes, special announcements and exclusive opportunities for authors and readers alike — including one grand prize of a free book publicity campaign for an author working to help move the world forward. To enter, submit an application here

As part of the company’s continued mission to elevate voices, Books Forward is also launching the #booksforward campaign to celebrate all the incredible ways stories have made the world a better place. Book lovers are encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag and sharing about literature that has impacted their lives.

Social media:

Happy Father’s Day!

Marissa DeCuir, President


Marissa and her Dad
My dad started a local newspaper when he was in college. So growing up in a newsroom, and eventually going into journalism myself, I’ve always had a love of stories – finding, hearing and sharing them. Transitioning into book publicity was easy because what I loved most about journalism is the same thing I love about books – to learn and experience new things. My dad’s curiosity and care for all things in this world made me the person and reader I am today.


Max Lopez, Publicist


My father is the hardest working person I’ve ever met, and looking back now it seems impossible that he was able to spend as much time with his family as he did. Yet, there he was every single night to tuck us in and read us a story when we requested it. My love of history and reading is a direct result of watching countless History Channel documentaries with him and being gifted a series of early reader biographies (all of which my brother and I read several times through.) His insatiable hunger to learn is something that I have always admired and attempted  to emulate. Thanks for everything Dad!


Julie Shoerke, Principal


Julie and her Dad
By the time I was in 5th grade, my father had read to my sisters and me all the classics that were assigned through my senior year of high school. His love of reading inspired all of us and informed who we would become – one sister works at a library, my other sister has worked at a bookstore for years, and I’m a book publicist. From Hornblower to the old English version of Robin Hood; from Edgar Allen Poe to Beowulf (yuck!);  from The Brother’s Grimm to Michael Crichton. Hundreds of books. He was an award-winning screenwriter who kept getting kicked upstairs until he ran the film company, but his true love was writing scripts and reading. My best memories are of him reading to us!


Hannah Robertson, Junior Publicist

My dad and I have very different tastes in reading. He tends to go for long non-fiction historical pieces or biographies, and I’m more drawn to anything fictional or fantastical. Even so, my dad always encouraged my love of reading with surprise trips to bookstores or libraries where he would let me roam to my heart’s content. He has always been supportive of my dreams, both literary and otherwise. I am so grateful and thankful for everything he has done for me!


Ellen Whitfield, Publicist


Ellen and her father
Many of my best memories growing up are of my dad reading to me at night. He did all the fun voices for some of my favorite books, including Narnia and Harry Potter. The best one was Bree the horse from The Horse and His Boy, accompanied by a lot of whinnies. And I still love to share book recommendations and swap copies with him today — it makes me so happy when we can chat about mutual love of a book.


Sara Wigal, Senior Manager


Sara with a recent book present with her dad and brother
Like so many other children, bedtime stories were part of the routine at our house! My dad would tuck us in and share “make up stories” as we called them. He didn’t read to us necessarily, but he scoured his (likely tired) mind for imaginative stories we would pick up where they left off every evening. I loved hearing these every night, and would whine and weedle for just a few more plot points. My dad has one of the most creative minds I know and he always encouraged all of us kids to use our own, for which I am so grateful. He encouraged me to read, read, read, and was one of my most patient editors for essays throughout school!

“Child of the Sixties” Rifka Kreiter Journeys Through Protests, Liberation, and Transformation in Compelling New Memoir


The 1960’s are one of the most fascinating and turbulent periods in America’s 20th century—and now, Rifka Kreiter sweeps readers into her life on the frontlines of the era’s most significant moments and movements, capturing her personal quest for liberation and self-discovery through her beautifully-written memoir, Home Free: Adventures of a Child of the Sixties (She Writes Press, May 16, 2017).

From Greenwich Village coffeehouses to a suicide attempt at age 18; from a face-to- face encounter with President Kennedy on the campaign trail and again as he lay in state after his assassination; Home Free is the incredible and inspiring true story of one woman’s journey to claim her freedom, heal her wounds, and find her voice during one of America’s most exciting, transformative eras.


About the Book

HOME FREE: After surviving a fraught childhood in New York and L.A., Rifka Kreiter revels in studying acting at the High School of Arts and dancing the Twist at the Peppermint Lounge. Her road leads through broken love affairs and virtually all the great
movements of the sixties, including civil rights marches in Mississippi, antiwar demonstrations in San Diego, and est seminars in Manhattan. On a deeper level, this is a profound quest to heal her psychic wounds and find spiritual meaning that she intuits lies beneath all the tumult of those times.

Here is an exploration of life’s deepest questions, as Rifka strives to bust free, be it with drugs, therapy or meditation. A triumphant story about a search for liberation on every level, Home Free ends with a
jaw-dropping discovery—one as unexpected as it is transformational.

An astrologer once told RIFKA KREITER that a certain planetary conjunction in her chart signifies “an unusual life, full of unexpected happenings,” and this has certainly proved true. She studied acting at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, philosophy at City College of New York, and clinical psychology at Adelphi University. She worked as a waitress, hat-check
girl, and hearing researcher. She was Continuity Director at a New York radio station and Assistant Convention

Manager at the Concord Resort Hotel. More recently, she tutored SAT Prep courses and was Assistant Director of Admissions at a rural community college. Since 1976, she has been following an ancient yogic path; she lived in a meditation ashram for ten years, and traveled to India three times. Rifka currently teaches meditation.

At age fifty-five she met her life partner, an Upper West Side psychotherapist. They live happily together in suburban New Jersey. Learn more at

Praise for Home Free

“This book is as bold, fearless, and brave as the young Riqui and as thoughtful and soulful as the adult, fully self-actualized Rifka. Raw at times, touching at others, and told with spirit, humor, and heart, Home Free holds nothing back as Kreiter takes the reader through a life that is as adventurous as it is remarkable.”— Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune, Co-chair of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, and author of The Airbnb Story

“Utterly fearless in its openness, honesty, and risk-taking. Not merely a joyride down the rabbit hole of the counterculture, this is a story about survival and transcendence, told in a voice that is entirely authentic and that skirts the twin dangers of sensationalism and sentimentality. A truly absorbing and moving read.”– Céline Keating, author of Layla and Play for Me

“Kreiter’s journey through the Boomer zeitgeist on her quest for self-knowledge and self-fulfillment is the real thing. It is reminiscent without being melancholy, which makes it even more fun to read. You’ll remember the good old days but won’t necessarily wish to relive them, and will be moved by how Kreiter does.”– Marc Eliot, New York Times best-selling author of To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles and Death of a Rebel: The Life of Phil Ochs

An Interview With Rifka Kreiter

Home Free is a very personal story – why did you decide to share it?
For younger readers, I wanted to convey what it really felt like to live through those extraordinary times; for my peers, I wanted to share the fun of revisiting the adventures of our youth, when drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll ruled and everything seemed possible. On a deeper level, I hope readers find encouragement and hope from seeing how one person, who thought she was lost in immutable darkness, found her way to a path of boundless light.

Did you always aspire to be an author?
My first love was acting, but when I was in sixth grade, at Palms Elementary School in L.A., I used to spend spare time each day, when I’d finished a classroom assignment, writing a story about an Inca prince. (We were studying South American history.) During recess I’d read the story to classmates and was delighted when they’d pester me to read the next day’s installment. But, contrarian as I often was, my journals in adolescence and young adulthood are full of statements like “I’m not really a writer…” Turns out, this was a case of “The lady doth protest too much.

Out of all your experiences, which was the most fun to write about? Which was the most challenging?
Writing about July 1969, the summer of Woodstock, was the most fun. It was great to recall the mind-blowing cross-Canada trip when it felt like our whole generation was out on the road. As I wrote, memories surfaced. I had forgotten about that crash pad my boyfriend and I found in Winnipeg, when our VW bus broke down on a holiday weekend. There, incense burned all day and sequined Indian print cottons were spread to cover chairs, windows, and beds. At night, we sat around in a circle with maybe eight other people, some travelers, some who lived there or nearby, passing joints, talking, listening to music. Most challenging was trying to communicate the profound impact and sheer wonder of (what I was so fortunate to have) spiritual experiences that transformed my life.

Out of all your experiences, which do you feel was the most formative, or transformative, for you as a person?
Home Free recounts many powerful experiences, formative and transformative. One of these was an LSD trip, the second and last time I dropped acid, at age thirty. At one point that night, the entire landscape of my life appeared before me in high relief, like a topographical map. I saw that every minute detail had its place—there was a perfect order: each wild occurrence, every miserable “mistake” I’d made, fit precisely into a coherent whole. From this vantage point, not one of my choices could or should have been different. Witnessing the unique perfection of everything that happened, it was obvious that all the worrying I had done was utterly superfluous to this higher order. Since that moment, I’ve never been able to take my worrying quite so seriously.

How do you feel that being a “child of the sixties” shaped who you are today?
For one thing, I still feel part of a huge generation, a family of compadres who share humanistic values and boundary-busting tendencies, though of course many have gone their separate ways in life. I’m still a rebel, still resist living a life of bourgeois conventionality. Here is my subjective image of “my generation:” Cool, laid back, dope-smoking, but active and creative. Freedom loving – above all, freedom-loving. “Talkin’ Bout my Generation…” I love it: I love the music, I love the values, I love the spirit. Long live the spirit of the sixties!

What advice would you give to others who may be experiencing a personal, spiritual journey?
First and foremost: MEDITATE! Regular meditation (even for a few minutes, regularly practiced) opens pathways to your inner wisdom. Learn to recognize that inner voice and let it steer you toward the books, teachers, paths that are right for you. Sooner or later, your sincere efforts will bear fruit.

What is the number one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
That a mysterious and boundless consciousness, whose nature is absolute joy, is real and accessible to all who truly seek it.


For more information:

Anglle Barbazon, publicist

(615) 928-2462