Indie Book Reviews?

Apr 24, 2020
Hey everybody. I've really been struggling with marketing lately and I wanted to tap into the well of experience to see if anyone has had success with this new approach I'm trying. I've read repeatedly that the most important thing in marketing is to "figure out where your audience is". I haven't had much success on facebook or reddit pages (reader pages don't want authors posting and promotion pages are only full of authors). Then I realized. There are people who dedicate their whole blogs to reviewing their favorite books. Further, there are people who dominate a niche of reviewing books by new/unheard of authors.

I've been submitting my book to indie review sites left and right. It can't hurt anything, since my sales are otherwise abysmal. But I figured that this, undoubtedly, would be a great way to connect with my audience. Blogs people have built a following around reviewing indie dystopian books? I feel like that's the most direct finger I could have to the lifeline of my audience. Has anyone tried indie reviews for their books before? Has this resulted in success? Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Be well,
I haven't had any luck with it either. I've probably contacted about 20 blogs so far and received two very positive and nice responses to submit other books in the future. I think a lot of the problem is the number of submissions they receive - one blogger said she had 200 books in her 'to review' pile.

And I think it's really important to target the right kind of blog that is likely to review your type of novel.

To start with I was just emailing with details of me and my novel, but I've now created a press release page and a poster. I've just finished a promotion for free downloads of my book so I'm waiting for reviews to come in before I contact any more blogs.
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Sometimes I feel like I am looking for a pin in a haystack when I am searching the internet for something. It seems like 10 years ago there were blogs everywhere that reviewed books, asking to be sent books, and plenty of them reviewed science fiction. There were also sites where you could submit an article that you wrote yourself about your own book.

Recently I thought I would start publicizing my books and I looked for blogs to submit my books to and looked for real sites that let you post your own articles. After much searching, I couldn't find many bloggers dealing with science fiction or where one could send in a book and get a somewhat immediate response. I couldn't find any websites with a book section that let you submit your own article about science fiction books. I did find my stuff listed on dubious websites that charge for services, or fees, or membership, that offered downloads of my books that can be downloaded for free on smashwords all year round. Some of them looked liked retail outlets in Europe, maybe they are real but I was not inclined to see what I got if I tried to download one of my books.

Smashwords use to be a good distribution point for free diownloads for me, but that all disappeared when google changed their search algorithm to look for original sources instead of rewrites. Smashwords wasn't any near the top of the google search results for many weeks after that. Smashwords finally got back to the first page of google search results along with amazon and google but the audience it delivers to me is not the same audience, nor apparently interested in what I am peddling.

When I read the self help articles on line it seems so easy. I did mail out a bunch of books in the beginning and that resulted in nothing. When Goodreads only had physical giveaways it only seemed to attract people who wanted a free book to resell. Since amazon stepped in, I haven't heard of any good results, and they now say "Entrants required to add the book to their Want to Read list", which looks nice, but doesn't do anything. They also have a premium service for $600 that supposedly insures that people will see the book advertised in prominent places. That's out of my league.

I have been researching niche audiences because in today's world of 8 billion people, there are now hundreds of millions of readers, and even niche audiences have grown to respectable numbers. The problem with the niche audience is that they are either all in one place, which I think is rare, or they are scattered amongst the general reading (best seller, latest style, etc.) population, set up much the same way people view a parade. The people lining the streets is the general reading population, easy to show them what you have. Much farther back in the crowd, very scattered, are niche readers and the niche readers are also in apartments and rooms inside the buildings away from the parade in the street, probably the rooms don't even have windows where they could see the parade. Because they are so far apart, contacting each niche reader cost money.

I am contemplating a large print edition, as the public library has a limited number of large print books. Perhaps the large print book is a smaller arena. The problem is that if I publish my book using the large print book rules, it turns into 3 volumes, which I avoided doing in the original run. I kept it to a single volume, forgoing the first volume is free, the next two volumes are paid for route.
I'm planning to contact genre/indie blogs as well, and Mark's advice to create some nice marketing materials seems wise. If bloggers are receiving a lot of review requests, doing something professional to stand out could go a long way.
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I have a good few reviews on various sites but don’t find they make any impact. Five books in, I have one title that reliably sells.based on that, I’d say:

good reviews, and a lot of them helps
a great tag line helps (even the aliens found Ireland a bas**rd‘ to conquer goes well as does aliens vs Belfast
word of mouth. Nothing beats it. I go to conventions to talk about whatever my latest thing is and it always, always, always comes back to that one book
write a sequel if one sells. Preferably in less than 10 years. I’m not doing well on that front....

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