What good is publishing your book if it never gets read? Know the basics of what it takes to get your indie novel reviewed.
The prospects for independent authors today are better than ever thanks to the phenomenon of digital self-publishing. Publishing through e-reader devices such as the Kindle and Nook is as easy as clicking a mouse. Once no-name writers such as Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves series) and Hugh Howey (Wool) have managed to engineer breakthroughs to traditional publishing by going “indie”. To say that the once accepted publishing boundaries are shifting is an understatement, they’re dissolving. Despite the digital disruption some traditional publishing methods are still necessary for indie author success. Garnering book reviews for your indie novel is one such practice.
Books need to be read and authors, especially indie authors, need to get their novels reviewed. Just as digital self-publishing has changed the publishing world, blogs and social media have transformed the book review process. Blogging and social media sharing have blown the book review process wide open. This may sound fantastic, but what is important for indie authors to realize is that digital self-publishing has increased the competition for reviews. Now that anyone can self-publish with the click of a button the amount of material being generated on a daily basis is enormous. The fight for readers and reviews is fierce. It is a competition. Indie authors need to realize that they’re competing for reviews and tailoring their indie novel review request is critical to winning.
The reality is that review demand is outstripping supply. The odds of getting reviewed are stacked against most authors despite the hundreds of blogs and websites reviewing indie novels. Most book review blogs that are listed to websites such as Blog Nation or The IndieView are inundated with novels, novellas and short fiction for review. The stark reality is that many book review blogs have become de facto slush readers. Add the current Internet marketing trend of authors hiring online specialists and publicists to navigate the social media world, and the reality is that only a fraction of submitted indie novels will ever be reviewed. Review blogs now offering paid or “sponsored” reviews should drive this fact home for aspiring indie authors.
How does an independent author get more reviews for their indie novel? The simple answer is by paying attention to detail. Type of work and genres accepted for review are two important items indie authors need to quickly assess when adding prospective book review blogs to their submission lists. After the author has compiled a list of prospective book review websites and blogs, time must be taken to actually read their review and submission policies. Many blogs are maintained by a lone reviewer; crafting personalized review requests should always be done when possible.
Making the submitted indie novel easier for review is also vital. Many indie authors lack confidence in their work or are fearful that their creative genius will be stolen. Reality is that the majority of submitted novels will not be read so the chances of copyright infringement or creative stealing isn’t realistic. Always send a copy of the novel with the review request. The indie author needs to muster their self-confidence and have faith in their work–supply the reviewer with a complimentary copy of the work for review. This is why electronic versions of the material are vital. Eliminate all unnecessary communication. The submitting author must take the time to learn the preferred electronic format of the reviewer. Provide the indie novel in the proper format as easily as possible.
Usually, only a brief email needs to be submitted with the work to be reviewed. This is the time for an astute author to shine. Realizing that the bulk of review submissions are spam emails is critical to increasing the odds of a positive review. How the submission email should read needs to be site specific. The author should be familiar with the individual reviewer and respect their submission policies. When possible, always address the reviewer by name. Tailored novel review submissions always have an advantage and will typically rise above the pack.
The indie author’s goal for review is simple; pay attention to detail and tilt the odds in the favor of getting your novel reviewed. This sounds clear and simple, but the reality is many indie authors opt for complexity. They create complex avenues for obtaining a copy of their work. Many lack confidence and fail to categorize their indie novel correctly. The result is usually failure. Again, the amount of indie novels submitted for review is growing daily. Getting an indie novel reviewed is a competition. Indie authors need to pay attention to the review blog or website submission policies, tailor the submission accordingly and confidently send a copy of their novel for review. Authors that do these simple things correctly on a regular basis should see their review rates increase, transforming indie author dreams into reality.