by Fern Reiss, CEO, PublishingGame.com
All reviewers hate self-published books.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your
Self-published authors constantly ask which reviewers
are biased against self-published books. The truth
is, almost all reviewers are biased against self-published
Part of this bias is historical: Reviewers are more
accustomed to dealing with books from the large publishing
houses. And part of the bias is because now that self-publishing
is so inexpensive and so accessible, there are many
authors self-publishing who don’t really know
how—and that affects the overall perception of
quality of self-published books.
But regardless of the deep-seated sentiments of the
mainstream reviewers, self-published authors can get
reviews from the major review journals. And it’s
definitely worth the effort.
Bookstores and libraries rely heavily on the reviews
in the major book review journals. If you get a good
review in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, or BookList,
you will probably sell over 3,000 copies automatically—regardless
of the specifics of the book. (And pretty much regardless
of what the review says. There really is no such thing
as a bad review. And many bookstores and libraries
just automatically order any book that is reviewed
by the majors.) In many cases, depending on the subject
matter and niche, you’ll sell a great deal more
than 3,000 books. And if you follow up your review
with a high-quality mailing to bookstores and/or libraries,
quoting the review, you’ll get still more sales.
So it’s definitely worth pursuing these review
Your chances of getting a review, at face value, are
dismal. Publishers Weekly, for example, reviews fewer
than 5,000 books out of over 50,000, approximately
10% of submissions; Library Journal reviews closer
Yet if you have a quality book—with good information,
good writing, a nice looking interior design, and a
well-designed cover—you can get your book reviewed.
Besides the quality of the book, what’s important
in getting your book reviewed is the timing. Review
journals will only consider reviewing books that have
not already been published; they want to vet books
that are not yet available, books that are not yet
in the marketplace. What that means for you as a publisher
is that you must be sure to get your advance galleys
(the bound book without the final cover) to reviewers
well in advance of the official publication date when
the finished book will be available, usually at least
three to six months earlier.
Furthermore, the stronger the marketing plan you submit
with your book, the higher your chances of being reviewed—because
the review journals know that if you present a powerhouse
marketing plan, you boost your chances of selling the
book exponentially—and they want to make sure
they review books that are going to sell well.
So make your package stand out. Give your book the
best cover, interior, and editing job you can. Describe
the highlights of your marketing plan in your cover
letter, or on the bound galley itself. And remember
to get those galleys to the reviewers three to six
months before publication.
Getting reviews can be challenging. But whether or
not reviewers like self-publishers, if you pay attention
to the rules, your book can get reviewed. And the effort
you put in will pay off in sales and more sales for
months and possibly years to come.
Fern Reiss is CEO of PublishingGame.com (www.PublishingGame.com) and Expertizing.com (www.Expertizing.com) and the author of the books, The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days, The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, and The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days as well as several other award-winning books. She is also the Director of the International Association of Writers (www.AssociationofWriters.com) providing publicity vehicles to writers worldwide. She also runs The Expertizing® Publicity Forum where you can pitch your book or business directly to journalists; more information at www.Expertizing.com/forum.htm. Sign up for her complimentary newsletter at www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm.
Copyright © 2011 Fern Reiss