I’ve seen a lot of blog posts and links lately about new ideas for getting reviews on your books. Some of them are helpful. Most of them are not.
We’re an opportunistic species. So many of us jump at anything that sounds like it will give us a leg up and so many of us are willing to dangle unrealistic expectations in front of others to make a quick buck. I don’t want to be one of those schmucks who pays fifty dollars to join a website which will yield no reviews, no ratings, and no sales. But I also don’t want to be one of those schmucks sitting around with no reviews, no ratings, and no sales. It’s difficult trying to make a splash without getting taken advantage of.
There are some solutions, though. I’ve found ManicReaders to be a promising resource that allows you to offer your books to dozens of review sites without paying a cent (although I’ve yet to receive a reply from any of these sites). There’s also EBookUniverse, which has been kind enough to tweet all of my books on a weekly basis and has featured two of my novels as the Book of the Day. And I’ve also used Immerse or Die, an interesting, no-holds-barred review site that runs novels through the gauntlet and provides detailed feedback (and the feedback I was given was extremely helpful). I’ve spent a few bucks here and there on paid promotions and, generally speaking, I haven’t seen much of a return. But, interestingly, the things that help the most are generally the ones that give me the sense that I’m interacting with another living, breathing person.
I’ve recently connected with another author, Peter von Harten. Honestly, this is probably the most beneficial of all the things I’ve done. We’re exchanging reviews, discussing our approaches to writing, and commiserating about the uphill battle that is self-publishing. The experience has illustrated to me that people are a more valuable resource than anything else. I can submit forms to as many faceless websites as I want, but my work and my marketing have improved more because of Pete than because of any of those book promotion packages.
The human element, I suppose, can’t be topped. I just hope I can provide the same kind of support to Pete and my other author friends that I’ve received from them.
Incidentally, I’d recommend checking out Pete’s novel about high school bullying, Blue Car Racer. But even more than that, I absolutely loved his book of poetry, The Great Ascension. It’s very moving, thoughtful verse that covers so much of the range of human emotion that it’s truly impressive.