This Week in Self-Publishing: Starting the Review Process

Money earned (total): $6,917.37

Money spent (total): $1,545

Money earned (this week): $0

Money spent (this week): $1,120

Let’s start with some unfortunate news: Pronoun didn’t send me my weekly “here’s the number of people who visited your book page/where they came from/what they clicked” analysis. They’re looking into why I didn’t get it—but not having it means I can’t guesstimate how many people pre-ordered the book, and I can’t evaluate my various marketing/media strategies.

Which is a huge disappointment. But that’s okay. I’m watching my Amazon sales rankings, and it’s pretty easy to figure out what caused each bump or drop.

Not to be a super marketing genius here, but I can keep my book’s rankings above 100,000 by simply mentioning it somewhere on the internet. (Along with the book page that has the pre-order links.) You can see the days on which I did no media outreach, because that’s where that V is.

So all I have to do for the next three months is find as many new ways to mention my book, and as many different websites/podcasts/etc. on which to share those mentions, as possible.

Also, another piece of data from Amazon:

I love you SO MUCH.

But let’s move on to reviews. This week, I signed Biographies up to be reviewed by BookLife, Kirkus Reviews, BlueInk, and Foreword Clarion.

BookLife is the self-pub arm of Publishers Weekly. Creating a BookLife page for Biographies and submitting it to be reviewed was free, but there’s no guarantee BookLife will review the book. (Hold your thumbs for me.)

Kirkus Reviews is… Kirkus Reviews, and submitting my book for review cost $425. It also cost me approximately five hours of work to reformat my manuscript in Kirkus’s desired style: Times New Roman double-spaced, 1-inch margins, page numbers at bottom center.

How could that possibly take five hours? you might ask. Because you can’t just select all and tap “double space.” Books have chapter titles and headings and a lot of formatting that just goes away if you do that. So I did it one chapter a time. Also, a nearly-400-page Google Doc will load slowly, scroll slowly, and freeze often.

Luckily, Kirkus’s style worked just fine for BlueInk and Foreword Clarion, and I paid $695 for the special two-review package that gets my book reviewed by both.

So far, I’ve been most impressed by Foreword Clarion, which not only let me set up a book page (which isn’t visible yet because they have to approve it first) but also gave me a complimentary four-issue subscription to Foreword Reviews and my own marketing contact, who just sent me an email five minutes ago introducing herself and I don’t know how to respond. (“Hello, I didn’t know this was part of the deal, how can we work together?”)

Kirkus has promised my review by April 27.

BlueInk and Foreword Clarion will both get me reviews in 4–6 weeks, which probably means end of March.

BookLife is TBD, since I don’t know if they’re going to review me yet.

This cost a lot of money—$1,120 total—but I feel like it was the right move. Biographies is good. Whether it’s “starred review good” I don’t know yet, but I get to find out, and when I do, I get to put it on my Amazon page and my various book pages and I get to tell my TinyLetter and the rest of the internet.

And, as I’ve demonstrated, every time I tell people about my book, I sell copies. (That in itself is amazing, by the way. It does not always work like this.)

There’s one more reason to get those reviews and potential stars, and that’s so I can pitch my book to some of those literary sites that review debuts and so on. My media outreach list is kind of like a flowchart: if this happens, contact this person—and if I get some really great reviews from the big-name industry reviewers, then I have a good reason to say “Hello, I am for real, please consider my book for your internet website.”

I’m leaving for the JoCo Cruise next Friday and I won’t get back until March 11, so it’ll be two weeks before you get the next This Week in Self-Publishing. See you then. ❤

 

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