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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Writing Wednesday | Book Reviews

Okay, this post goes out to all of you independent writers. I've been getting asked a good amount of questions about how I've marketed my book. I've done a lot of guest posting, promotions, giveaways and gotten reviews and usually that's not so common with an indie book.

I don't know if there's a method to what I've done or if it will even work for my next books or other authors but I'm going to tell you how I did it, in hopes that it will help one person out there...

Here's the thing us indie authors need to know, most review sites won't review a self published book unless it really calls to them. They have to fall in love with chapter one or the synopsis or they won't take it on.

Step One- Having a good cover letter/synopsis/introduction to your book. When I sent out my queries to various review sites or blogs or reviewers, I made sure to make the initial email awesome. Instead of asking for just a review, I opened it up to the site asking if they would be willing to do an interview, review or any time of promotion.

My thinking in this was that as long as my book is featured in some way on their blog, that's marketing. So even if people didn't want to review or have time, they might be more willing to write a quick promotion or send interview questions.

So about half the people I emailed said no to a review which I was expecting. But most of those people were willing to do a giveaway or promotional post so they were still helping me!

Include chapter one or something that will give the person an idea about the book. Many times a synopsis isn't enough. I tend to include my prologue or chapter one so they know the book is finished and edited and they can trust that it's not a "typical indie book."

Step Two- Be nice. I mean this should be easy but when emailing, you have to create some sort of relationship with your reviewer. Odds are you may want to deal with them again and if they like you, they're more likely to write a good review or an awesome promo.

For example, I had one person who at first didn't feel like she could take on a review. I asked if she would be willing to do anything else and she said yes to an interview and promo. So we were talking throughout the process and had a positive relationship. After the promo she asked if she could review it, too. So because we were friendly and cordial, she not only did a promo but later reviewed it for me as well.

Step Three- Follow ups. I sent out most of my queries around the end of July. By mid August most had responded but some didn't or some did to one email but not another. Follow up emails are good. Who knows, your email may have gotten lost or forgotten. Just remember not to make the person feel rushed or spammed by you.

Step Four-Giveaways are the key to everything. I've gotten more followers, friends and reviews by people seeing the giveaways on other sites or on goodreads. I got over 500 entries in my first goodreads giveaway who all put my book on their TBR list. That's huge for a debut novel!

Although it costs us writers money to give books away for free, getting your book and name out there will has a lasting effect and create readers for you. Goodreads is HUGE! 

Step Five- Social media. This is a biggie. My website gets more hits than this blog but guess what, it links to here so they visit the blog as well. I post weekly on my facebook, and website. I update it constantly with what I'm doing so people are constantly in the loop.

The biggest thing I did that was risky was paying facebook to promote my page. But guess what, I paid about $100 over two weeks and got over 500 likes on facebook. All of those people picked up the book or at least told someone about it. It skyrocketed my sales.

Step Six- Interaction. Don't just sit behind the computer and fake it. Really talk to your followers, friends and fans. Make a fan art day. Make a free if you follow day. There's so much you can do and the key is making personal relationships.

I stopped by a book store in Mystic and she offered to sell my book. Showing up and putting in the effort really does pay off. You can't simply hit publish and expect people to buy it. It's hard work but trust me it pays off!

Seeing glowing reviews on amazon or goodreads makes all of it worthwhile. The more people hear about your book, the better your sales will be. The best thing is word of mouth so get people talking and you're in the clear.


  1. Thanks for listing what you did. It's always helpful to see how another author works their way through this mess!

    1. Exactly! I always read what other authors do and some people asked me so I figured if this helps one person that's good! Are you a writer?

  2. Great post. I was just curious, how come you decided to go down the independent publishing route? I have a novella that I am really passionate about, and I personally only know of literary agents, but nobody seems to want to represent the book. Any advice?

    1. Is it your first work? If it is I would publish independently. It gets your name out there and publishers will see you can do it alone. If you do that, a publisher could see it and pick it up or even contact you about other works. You don't only have to self publish--down the road, it may be traditionally published. Nothing is permanent. But if you do self publish, just know if you're serious about it, it is a TON of work. Even two months later, I'm still working through marketing my book.


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