When I first started reading books and blogging about them I was terribly naïve about the difference between a traditionally published book and a self-published book. I just read what I thought appealed to me through descriptions of the book and reviews on Goodreads. The same thing happened when I requested a book through NetGalley, Edelweiss or agreed to participate in a blog tour. I just chose what I thought I might like without looking at who the publisher was or, for that matter, without even really reading anything about the author. For once my naivete actually paid off, because with this method I have stumbled upon some fabulous Indie and small press authors and their fantastic books.
So I have compiled 5 ways that self-published and small press authors have wooed me into reviewing their books:
It’s a very simple thing, but all of the Indie authors I have agreed to review books for have sent me an email. And not just any email, but a nice one, that uses my name. I am a narcissist like that, I like to see my name in print. But seriously, the Indie authors I have chosen to work with have sent along an email that was addressed to me, acknowledged my review policy and actually gave me some details that showed they had looked around my site. I recently heard a comment from an Indie author in which he stated that he needed to figure out what makes a blogger “tick.” Quite frankly, it doesn’t take much. All bloggers like to get personalized emails and not generic mass messages that feel more like spam than a review request.
2. Paperback or Hardcover:
The Indie authors that have successfully wooed me have waved a physical book in front of my face. I don’t want to be disparaging to authors who only publish e-books, but as “The Book Binder’s Daughter” I really do prefer an actual book. It lets me know that the author is serious about his or her craft and takes pride in his or her creation. I recognize that an Indie author will go through a great deal of trouble and expense to pay for and have a book printed. Many of the Indie books I have received also have gorgeous covers to go along with the book. I understand that having the right artwork created for a book can also be a very pricey and lengthy process.
The Indie authors that I have recently swooned over have gone through a lot of trouble having their books professionally edited. A poorly edited book is every reader’s nightmare. The last two Indie books I read were some of the most professionally edited books I have read from any source. Not only were the usual typos and grammatical errors absent, but the writing was mellifluous and the storylines interesting. Since Indie authors are probably paying an editor per word, I am not surprised that they make every word count.
4. Social Media:
The Indie authors I have had the greatest connection with have a presence on social media. This may seem like another simple thing, but I am still very surprised when an author does not have a Twitter or Facebook. I recently saw a conversation between two bloggers who were complaining that a particular author they admired did not have a Twitter. It’s not that bloggers are author groupies or stalkers, but we would like to connect with those whose works we are taking the time to review. I have found that Indie authors not only engage me on social media, but will also retweet, share, like and favorite my content that I put out there into cyber space. It’s a small gesture, but by “liking” a post or “sharing” it with their own followers, authors show me that they value the time and effort I put in to reading and blogging.
5. The Ending:
The Indie books that I have raved about lately all have a fantastic ending. I do not mean that the endings were necessarily epic or mind-blowing. But all of the major themes in the books were tied up and the ending made me wanting more from these authors. This shows me they didn’t rush it and that, once again, there was a lot of meticulous and painstaking editing that went into the process. Indie authors and those working with a small press do not have a team of experts at their disposal. As a result of my recent experiences, I believe that Indie and small press authors are some of the most hardworking, brave and gracious people I have ever met.
So there you have it, my two cents about Indie authors. I know that many book bloggers will not even consider reviewing self-published books. Authors, do you have a hard time getting bloggers to review your books? Readers, do you decide to read a book based on how it’s published? I would love hear everyone’s thoughts.