Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting Reviews for Indie Books

One of the biggest challenges for independent authors is getting your book reviewed. The standard review magazines and sites generally won't consider self-published books, or else they charge a substantial fee and place the review in a separate newsletter. Some independent reviewers do web site reviews of indie books for free, but they tend to have a large backlog of submissions. So how do you spread the word?

One way is to give away review copies –  similar to publishers sending out advance reader copies. You can offer these on listserves or when guest posting on other writers’ blogs. You can also offer giveaways of your books on sites like GoodReads, although they don't allow e-book giveaways right now, so you'll have to pay to mail the print copy. The readers who take your free books may or may not choose to post reviews, but in your offer you can politely ask that they do so if they like the book. When I gave away a copy of The Ghost on the Stairs a couple of years ago, the receiver blogged about the book with favorable comments.

You may also find times when it's necessary or useful to pay to get your work in front of reviewers. The trick is to make sure you're getting value for your money. One site that sounds interesting (which I found via a post on A Newbie's Guide to Publishing) is According to their website, " is a community of over 2,350 passionate readers/reviewers drawn from and other Kindle reader communities. We organize the distribution of review copies of your novel (in MOBI format for Kindle) to reviewers in exchange for their objective Amazon customer review."

You pay for distribution (currently $49). They make the electronic format of your book available to reviewers who have expressed an interest in that genre, until 10 reviewers have posted customer reviews on Amazon. These may or may not be favorable reviews, but BookRooster does supervise reviewers to ensure professionalism. A larger number of Amazon customer reviews can persuade people to buy your book, and the reviewer may also spread the word or buy your other books if she likes your work well enough.

I'm testing BookRooster with Rattled. Because of their backlog, the book won't be made available to reviewers until the end of July. We'll see what happens then.

Have you come across any interesting review sites or blogs that accept indie books for review?

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