Friday, March 28, 2014

How I Spent My First Week After Publishing My First Novel, Part Two

For Part One of this series, click here.

I've already described how I didn't find the Amazon Top 1000 Reviewers list to be at all useful in marketing my novel; for the sake of this series, I include getting reviews as part of my marketing strategy.

Once I determined that further time would be wasted going after the Amazon Top 1000 Reviewers, I didn't stray too far from the well: I went after other Amazon reviewers.  People who had taken the time to review books in the same genre as mine.  Specifically, supernatural thrillers and horror novels.  I focused on reviewers of novels based on the Supernatural television show.  My book deals with angels, demons, and the like, so it was possible, even likely, that it would appeal to fans of that show, particularly readers.

It wasn't a bad idea, but so far, it hasn't panned out.  Most people who review products on Amazon don't make their email addresses public.  So I went through a lot of Amazon reviewer profiles with no luck. I don't blame them: we live in a World of Spam.  Also, if I found that the Amazon reviewer had only reviewed one or two products over the course of a few years, he probably wouldn't review my book, even if presented with a free copy.  It's just a feeling I have.  The three people who did make their email addresses public, had reviewed many like products in the past, and probably would enjoy my book didn't respond to my email offer to send a free copy in exchange for a review.  Despite this effort, it wasn't a bad idea, and I may return to it.

The next place I went was to The Indie View website.  They have an impressive list of indie and self-published book review websites.  It was the work of days combing through the list and finding those reviewers who might be interested in my book.  The main challenges were:

  • Eliminating those review sites that would be put off by the content in any way.  Many reviewers won't review books with profanity in them (my book has a lot of profanity in it), occult themes (my book deals very specifically with the occult), or religion (Biblical apocalypse=religion).
  • Eliminating those review sites that only review certain kinds of books.
  • Eliminating those review sites that hadn't published an update in more than a month.  There were many of those.
  • Eliminating those review sites that were no longer taking book review requests.  Most of the review sites listed were booked up.  That's a very important thing to remember: many, many book review websites are no longer taking book review requests.  
In Part Three, I'll describe the process further, but first, I have a few observations about my experiences with the Indie Reviewers List.
  • The vast majority of book reviewers are women.  This is not a value judgment in any way.  It is what it is.  
  • Most book reviewers seem to prefer YA novels.  I'm not sure if this is a cause of the YA novel craze, or a symptom of it.  This is significant for me because my novel doesn't qualify for YA status in any way.
  • Every book reviewer has a different Review Policy.  You have to read each individual one to tailor your request properly.
I will wrap this series up next week with Part Three.

TL;DR: Rather than going with Amazon's Top 1000 Reviewers, you may want to look at Amazon reviewers of similar books to yours and try to contact them.  The Indie View has a huge list of potential book reviewers.  It is a lot of work to comb through the list.  

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