Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I had just been rejected by Ereader News Today for the second time in two months. Something in me snapped.
There aren’t very many effective ways to promote indie books, and without promotion the whole self-publishing wheel stops turning. And not just promotion but low prices too — generally 99 cents or even free. I’ve complained before …
But when ENT declined to promote Fascination again last week, I decided I had to find out why. So I appealed the decision.
I described my history with ENT — three novels in three years, all with successful campaigns via ENT — as well as my earlier publication history. Parts Unknown. William Morrow/HarperCollins. I’m not a shoe salesman who decided to “write up” this great idea for a novel I’ve always had.
Bridget from ENT wrote me back within a few hours and explained that Fascination had been declined — get ready — for “lack of reviews.”
On their website they state: “While we do not have a minimum number of reviews that are required, we do look at the reviews to get an idea of how well the book has been received by those that have read it.”
But clearly this is meant in a general sense and they have begun to filter their submissions this way, probably because they’re swamped with submissions. ENT is one of the few effective and affordable promotional outlets around.
I can only put it like this: indie writers need reviews. If you haven’t reviewed Fascination yet, please do. It doesn’t have to be detailed, and it doesn’t have to be a five-star. We’re looking for raw numbers here. And if you haven’t bought Fascination yet, please do. Or tell someone else about it. Or give it as a gift via Amazon (easy to do).
This goes for any indie book you read. It’s just a fact now: the author can’t promote the book without some reviews in the can. And she can’t get a lot of reviews in the can without promoting.
A vicious cycle? You bet. It’s become a vicious business all around.
Fortunately, this time, Bridget came through for me and plopped Fascination into an opening that had come up for Tuesday. Her willingness to hear my case and overturn her decision is going to keep her in my esteem for a long time to come. I also appreciate that she got back to me quickly on a Friday afternoon and made the schedule change pronto.
That’s customer service, indie-style.
All of this is to alert you to two things. One, if you’re an indie author, you can’t put too much emphasis on reader reviews. They act as bona fides for new readers and for promotional outlets. If you’re a reader, give the gift of Amazon reviews. They will keep on giving.
And two, Fascination will appear on ENT’s Literary Fiction list tomorrow. Buy through their link to help them make a little money on the sale. If you can’t wait, go ahead and buy Fascination today for 99 cents. The discount runs through Wednesday.