But how do you get reviews, favourable or otherwise?
Remember when you were young, trying to get your first job. At every job interview you were lucky enough to get you would be asked, “What experience do you have?” How do you get experience when no-one will give you a job in the first place? Book reviews are like that, particularly for self-pubbed indies.
Now before we go any futher, I want to make it clear this is not about ‘bashing’ book reviewers.
However, too many book reviewers refuse to even consider self-pubbed work. Why? We don’t have any ‘experience’, we are unknown. We are likely to remain unknown unless a few more of the hoighty-toighties step down from their ivory towers and give us a chance.
The overabundance of poorly written, non-edited, badly presented work of indies doesn’t help either. Once again the majority are pigeon-holed and stereotyped because of a minority.
How do you, as a hard-working self-pubbed indie author gain some respect? You keep writing, keep honing your craft, keep submitting your work for review. If you think there is an easy way around this, you would be dead wrong and should probably quit while you’re behind.
There is absolutely no reason at all why you should listen to me. I am practically unknown an as author, certainly not a bestseller, and worse still I’m one of those dreaded ‘indies’ writers.
But why you should listen to me, and what I can tell you, as a human being with life and business management experience…nothing in this world worth achieving comes without hard work.
Forget the headlines stories of “record sales”, “bestseller in a day” etc. Sure it happens, but the likelihood of it happening to you is slim to none.
A “rolling stone gathers no moss”, but it sure does gather some momentum and that’s what you want. Yeah it’s hard work, sure it’s demoralising and frustrating, but you wanted to be an author!
Sometimes the idea for a story or book will hit you like lightning, completely out of the blue. At other times it takes a lot of hard work and focus to pull the idea together. In any case, once you have that idea it is a long road to publishing the finished product.
With the digital revolution transforming the way in which books are delivered, a new breed of authors has entered the equation. They are called ‘indies’; writers who go it alone, without the demands, restraint or support of a publishing house.
Many writers, after slaving away for years at their craft, with no success in gaining a publishing contract, opt for the self-publishing route. Finally achieving what they knew all along, their work is good and readers love it. Others use it as a platform to launch their career. While some who choose self-publishing, see it as an ‘easy’ route. Considering self-publishing the easy route is foolish, naïve at best.
Self-published authors are finding it difficult to gain broad acceptance of their work. Many critics and reviewers wrongly believe “if an author isn’t good enough for a publishing house then they simply aren’t good enough.” This is snobbish elitism. However, while many authors pay careful attention to all things necessary, there are some who don’t and this fuels criticism of indie authors in general.
Like most things, self-publishing has its pros and cons. On the upside; as the author you retain full control of image and content, keep full rights to distribution and keep all royalties. The down side is, you are totally and completely responsible for the very same things.
Editing, cover design, where to publish, how to publish, promotion and marketing all need to be considered, planned and executed. A great ‘idea’ when presented as a book full of typos or grammatical errors will not endear you to readers. Does the cover look like the finger-painting of a two-year old? Will it be available as an ebook, paperback or both? How do you get your work into the hands of readers? Then there is the dreaded and evil promotion of your work. Let’s face it, there is no point in doing all the hard work and preparation of your masterpiece if no one ever reads or buys it.
I am not an expert so I’m not going to lecture you on how to do everything the ‘right’ way. What I will tell you is, enter the world of self-publishing with your eyes wide open. Don’t expect it to be easy, and do expect it to be a lot of hard work. Use your well-developed research skills to seek out the experts, learn from their success and their mistakes.