My head is still spinning!
I had no idea so much thought and effort would go into obtaining book reviews. Yesterday I decided to wade into the murky book review waters. Seeing my editor updated that my MS is due back at the beginning of next week, I’m starting to think it might be a good idea to get a couple of pre-published book reviews to include on the back of my book cover and on various websites.
The good news is there are tons of helpful sites directing writers to self-publishing friendly reviewers. I thought that was going to be the hard part. Here’s a link to the most helpful article which not only explains the in’s and out’s of book reviews it provides a long list of book reviewers.
Now the bad news, I was surprised about the media kit that is needed to appear professional. I felt the familiar panic of the querying process all over again. Each site had its own submission guidelines, each one warned that you might not get reviewed due to the influx of submissions, and you might go to all this trouble and get a scathing public review. Deep breaths…deep breaths….
Additionally, many of the sites offered expedited reviews or guarantees for a review if you paid different amounts. I never factored in this expense so this sent my head spinning. I know that a good review or a great blurb could do wonders for my series but at what price? One that was especially high was the Kirkus Review but it looked like a fantastic site and I liked the idea that you had the option of not publishing a negative review. It still doesn’t promise a good review so it is a bit of a gamble to put down that kind of money for something you might never make public. Also, the idea of expediting is very attractive since I have set a publishing deadline and if I would want these before or on launch date I just might need to pay for it. Some sites say it might be months before a review appears, if ever.
Another factor I’ve learned is that most sites clarify they want the book published so they can provide all the links for their readers to purchase. I’ve only seen the pre-published ms option in a couple of payment cases. It might be awhile before I have the book formatted and in ebook reading capacity, so I’m worrying about being able to get a review before print date. I’ve found that most request print copies even if you also have it in ebook format. This will step up the costs even more with printing and shipping, nevermind the time delays in waiting until it’s been published.
Some sites clarify that they require the current years publication date and that’s making me second guess my November launch date. If I have a 2011 date will that mean I can only apply for reviews within that last month? Is this a good reason to launch in January?
Well, I hadn’t planned for this in my budget. I expected to be able to send out pre-published e-copies with a simple cover letter to various free reviewers who would select your book within a few months. Just getting this media package will take me some time, and the press release seems even harder than the query letter.
These are the things I have to sit down and consider carefully:
1) How early do I need a few reviews?
2) How much am I willing to pay for them?
3) Will I even have time to do all of this as I’m scrambling to publish?
4) Do I want to take the gamble of paying for reviews I might never use instead of just waiting for free ones?
5) How many reviews do I want to pay for in the hopes that one of two will come back positive?
6) How much do I hate the idea of assembling this media package!