You’ve done the heavy-lifting and made to the finish line. You are now a self-published author. Congratulations! I wish I could say that the journey ends there, but it’s only the beginning. Now it’s time for you to promote your book and garner reviews.
There are many companies out there that offer marketing services for your self-published novel. But unlike other ‘products’, a book takes time to read. Depending on the reader, it could take him or her anywhere between a couple of hours, a few weeks or even several months before they finish reading your book.
And even when they do get to the end of the novel, many readers won’t even leave a rating, let alone take the time to write a review. And who can blame them? I’ve read a few hundred books and although I do leave ratings, I rarely write reviews. If you contact book review bloggers (which I have), they’ve usually got a queue of requests to get through before they can get to your book.
So how do you build the momentum for your self-published book as quickly as possible?
I was googling my options when I found Pubby.co. It’s a great platform where authors can upload their books and get connected with other self-published authors to garner reviews for their book. You pay a monthly subscription for the service and earn ‘snaps’ every time you review another author’s book. You can use these snaps to get reviews for your own book.
I’ve been using the service for a few weeks now and it’s given me the opportunity to read some fantastic new books, as well as get reviews from other authors for my debut novel.
I have a chat with Kristen Forbes, the Co-Founder of Pubby.co, regarding the platform.
Hello Kristen. Thanks for joining me on my Authorpreneur journey. Could you tell me about the concept behind Pubby.co and the story behind the platform?
Thank you, Dipa! So, I’ve worked as an editor and consultant in self-publishing for many years, and I kept having my authors ask me where to get book reviews. I honestly didn’t have an answer for them. None of the options seemed great to me; social media followings are hard to build, Amazon won’t let you straight-up pay for reviews, and even family members aren’t supposed to give you any review love.
Eventually it became obvious. I had all these clients who all wanted book reviews—why not give them a platform where they could help each other? I pitched the idea to my brother Brad (a web developer who loves self-published books), and he agreed the service needed to be built. We combined his developer talents with my self-publishing insight, and Pubby was born!
Most platforms and author marketing services focus on connecting authors with readers. What made the Pubby Team decide to connect authors with authors?
That’s a really great question. Those services rely fully on readers wanting to read for free—and there aren’t many people who want to do that! And since most of those free readers just want to read romance (they’re insatiable!), it creates a lot of demand and very little supply. Last time I looked, those sites had year-long waitlists—who has time for that?
By connecting authors with other authors, it takes away the issue of low supply. It also creates a supportive community where everyone wins. As an author, it’s obviously great to get reviews for your own book, but I think it feels good to help out your fellow authors as well.
In my post on The Risky Business of Trade Publishing, I wrote that even major publishing houses cannot predict which book will be a success. As someone who works with self-published novels on a daily basis, what tools can an author capitalise on make their book a success?
This isn’t going to surprise anyone that I’m saying this, but start with getting reviews! Without book reviews, every other piece of marketing is just wasted opportunity. You can use ads, social media, blogs, etc., to bring traffic galore to your book’s sales page, but if you don’t have any reviews? No one will buy it.
After you have a solid amount of reviews, my favorite tool is Amazon ad campaigns. They can be as cheap as you want, and they’re something you can do overnight (unlike building a social media following). Plus, ads lead to purchases—not just likes and follows.
In traditional publishing, agents are always looking for gems in the ‘slush pile’. Have you found any gems on the Pubby platform?
Personally, I think every author brings a little “gem” to the table—that’s the whole beauty of self-publishing! Every author deserves to found and read, and we just want to help them get there. For every book, there’s at least one reader out there who would think it’s a “gem,” and I think part of our job at Pubby is to help those readers find your book.