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