I’ve left hundreds and I do mean hundreds of ratings on Goodreads. But I’ve barely ever left a review. So when it dawned on me that my very own book was about to get reviewed, I wasn’t sure what to expect. If you decide to self-publish like I did, you’ll need reviews to drive sales. But where do you get reviews?
In my last post, I discussed Pubby: the book review platform for self-published authors. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and it’s a great platform to connect with other self-published authors. I’ve never been much of a social media person, but even I can’t help but admit that Instagram’s been indispensable in connecting me with readers and reviewers.
Which brings me to my next point – who is the right reviewer? Who’s the right person to read your book and actually understand the meaning it’s trying to convey?
As a debut self-published author, I am essentially navigating an unknown world where it’s all trial and error in trying to get things right.
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.
Not everyone is going to love your book. You can’t please everyone and nor should you try. I’ve heard people criticise authors like JK Rowling and Paulo Coelho about finicky little things and it’s always surprised me when people can’t see the big picture. There’s a lot of unwarranted elitism in the book publishing world, and many readers shun books that are a commercial success and label it ‘trash’ – which I think is overlooking the value that the book brings to a popular audience. It may not be your thing, but if a book manages to engage a large number of readers, it is hardly trash.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the amount of money it’s made. Looks like a treasure chest to me…
On my end, with the reviews and feedback that have trickled in over the past month – from readers, bloggers and fellow authors – I’ve learnt to start approaching the right people at the right platforms.
One of the challenges I’ve faced in marketing my book is that it’s a unique book in the spirituality genre. The Little Light handles themes like reincarnation, spirit animals, astrology, dharma, karma, mythology, cosmology and folklore in a fantasy setting. Most of the titles in the spirituality genre are in the self-help, new age and non-fiction categories. So when I’d listed my book in the fiction category, it was difficult to get things moving. Once I readjusted this, I found that borrowings and sales on the Amazon platform began to improve.
Secondly, The Little Light is written for a young adult audience. Most books in the YA genre are: romance, dystopian, paranormal, action, fantasy and adventure. So I had to create awareness of the type of book that it is. I had to build the ‘buzz’.
So I contacted book bloggers, reviewers and bookstagrammers… (I can’t believe I just used that word). Whilst most of the people I’ve come into contact with have been a joy to collaborate with, I have come across a few duds – people who are neither interested in the genre or in the themes my book explores. So it ended up being a waste of time for the both of us. If it’s not your type of book, book reviewers should be upfront and say so. There’s nothing like a review that says, “I’m not interested in these themes… But so-and-so approached me…”
Oh good grief… Where do these numb nuts come from?
Seeing as how my career as a novelist has been 12 years in the making, I must say I’ve been delighted to see some pretty amazing reviews trickle in. The people who worked with me in producing and launching the book thought it would resonate with a female audience – but the best and most comprehensive review I’ve gotten to date has been from a male reviewer… Not only did he get the book, he understood all the intricacies that went into writing it.
I was deeply deeply touched.
No one I know of is writing like this today, and no book in recent memory has inspired so much envy in me. It has novelty and nuance from its first to its final paragraphs. – The Bookish Elf
Free Amazon Kindle Download Promotion
With all that said, I’m running a free download promo on Amazon for The Little Light on 20th and 21st July. So if you’re interested in downloading it for free… bookmark the page and get ready to download it this weekend. Till next time!