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 Reviewers, Part 1

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slb
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slb

Number of posts : 926
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Age : 54
Location : Oskaloosa, Iowa

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PostSubject: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 2:00 am

Problems with reviewers? See a few of mine at http://stephenlbrayton.blogspot.com/. scratch
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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 7:16 am

Questions:

Where do you find the reviewers you discuss?
Do they review for publications, on amazon in the listing, or what?
Do they charge you to review your book?
Do they review self-published (POD) books?
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 1:51 pm

I read your post. To me, it comes off more as a vent than a factual post about reviewers. For instance, this:

Quote :
Many reviewers have great sites and make a fabulous presentation. The sites are organized and laid out attractively. The reviews are professional and noteworthy. However, in the submission guidelines, they say they don’t review eBooks. I can understand with the explosion in e-self publishing, who knows what you may be receiving. As a reviewer, I wouldn’t want to slog through numerous files shoddily written by a bunch of hacks. However, with the popularity of eBooks, surely the reviewer could do some homework, take a little time to investigate the author/publisher, then decide. One reason I have seen mentioned is because the reviewer doesn’t own an eBook reader. Okay, I understand, but the person does use a computer and most everybody is aware of pdf files. Most eBook authors have pdf files to send. So, I don’t understand this objection to eBooks.

I presume that the reviewers who don't want ebooks don't want them precisely because they're learned most are exactly what as you describe -"shoddily written by hacks." However, your request that they look at each ebook - "do some homework, take a little time to investigate the author/publisher, then decide" is unreasonable. You want them to research every ebook they receive. With all the self-publishers and marginal publishers that exist now, they must get dozens of requests a week. They could spend all day doing the research you want.

Even if they did do this research. I looked up your book and publisher, then viisited Echelon Press's website. I put it in the "marginal" category. Why? They say that if you don't have a marketing plan to submit with the manuscript, they'll immediately delete. IOW, it is the business model of take almost anything and make money by the author selling it. Why do you think a reviewer would be interested in reading anything out of such a press?
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slb
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slb

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Age : 54
Location : Oskaloosa, Iowa

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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 2:23 pm

To Mr. Stevens: 1. I do a Google search for reviewers in my genre. I've picked up a few options on FB, too. 2. Most of who I've seen have their own sites. A few do for publications. 3. Most don't charge. 4. Some do, some don't.

To LC: Yes, it's a little bit of a vent, just to mention some obstacles I've run into over the months. As for homework, it shouldn't take that long to do a bit of research on the author/press. A matter of a few clicks should give you the answer. Echelon Press, like many others, is a small press. They don't have the money the big boys do for marketing. Secondly, they don't accept almost anything. Besides, authors must sell their own product anyway no matter who they're with. So a marketing plan is important. I'm actually glad they require a strategy because it made me work to make contacts to help me along in the process. It also shows the author is willing to step up and do his/her part. The book isn't going to sell itself just because the author wrote it.

As I said, I'm not against reviewers and I thank the ones who accepted my book. I feel honored by everyone who reads it.

Thanks guys for reading.
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 4:17 pm

Quote :
As for homework, it shouldn't take that long to do a bit of research on the author/press. A matter of a few clicks should give you the answer

How much time is a "few clicks" and what material should a reviewer evaluate in those clicks? Do you make decisions on work projects you take on based on "a few clicks?" Then multiply those few clicks by the number of requests reviewers must get. You're looking at an awful lot of clicks. Reviewers are entitled to set the bar for their projects wherever they want. Clearly they've read enough ebooks to say it's not worth it.

As for this:

Quote :
Besides, authors must sell their own product anyway no matter who they're with. So a marketing plan is important. I'm actually glad they require a strategy because it made me work to make contacts to help me along in the process. It also shows the author is willing to step up and do his/her part. The book isn't going to sell itself just because the author wrote it.

The fact that marginal and vanity presses say this so much and authors who don't know better repeat it so much doesn't make it true. I personally am with three commercial presses, two large and one small, and none of them, including the small press, expect me to sell my book. If I want to market my work, as many commercially published authors do, that's my choice and icing on the marketing cake. It certainly isn't required. Sales don't come from spamming everyone with emails and updating an obscure website, anyhow. Sales come from physical books on retail shelves. Which the publisher is supposed to do. Not the author. This (incredibly offensive) "the author must step up and do his/her part" is right out of the Tate Fake Publishers playbook. The author DID do his/her part by WRITING THE FUCKING BOOK.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 4:30 pm

I agree with LC on this. You are exhibiting magical thinking.

Besides, authors must sell their own product anyway no matter who they're with. So a marketing plan is important. I'm actually glad they require a strategy because it made me work to make contacts to help me along in the process. It also shows the author is willing to step up and do his/her part. The book isn't going to sell itself just because the author wrote it.

Author promotion is one thing, marketing is something else. Marketing is the publisher's job. If your publisher is unable or unwilling to market your book, you need to get another publisher or you are just spinning your wheels.
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slb
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slb

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Location : Oskaloosa, Iowa

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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 5:34 pm

LC - I'm glad for your success and your position in which you don't have to market. Unfortunately, I don't have books on the shelves. Mine are solely eBooks so I do have do my part to promote. And it doesn't include spamming anyone.

How many clicks did it take to obtain the information about me and my publisher and to form your opinion? I'm not saying reviewers can't set standards. But eBooks are here and are gaining popularity and there are some good ones out there. Reveiwers need to consider expanding.

Also, please refrain from using vulgar language on comments.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 6:58 pm

Quote :
LC - I'm glad for your success and your position in which you don't have to market. Unfortunately, I don't have books on the shelves. Mine are solely eBooks so I do have do my part to promote. And it doesn't include spamming anyone.

I was correcting your assertion that all authors have to promote. No, all authors don't. Just the ones whose publishers fall down on that job.

What is your marketing strategy?

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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 7:25 pm

Thanks for bringing up a topic that is changing all the time. Ebooks and the proliferation of self-publishing opportunities are making the landscape more complicated.

There is a difference between fiction and non-fiction. Fiction writers who self-publish, publish with vanity presses and publish with traditional but smaller presses develop a fan base. They do promote their works to that fan base to keep it seeking their next book. New authors reach out to their genre at blogs and organization forums to announce their new books. Web sites and blogs are critical to their success. This particularly applies to ebooks. Many of these books and ebooks are quite well written and enjoyed by their target group even though they don't have the major New York publisher. Some of those authors actually make a nice income.

The critical review comes from National Public Radio, Publisher's Weekly, New York Times and other respected newspaper and magazine reviewers. Yes, there are other respected reviewers online, but they don't have the following. The reviews at Amazon.com are read, however, since they reflect a reader's viewpoint whether professional or not.

I don't think as colleagues we need to have a competition regarding who has the best or worst publishers; the fact that we are published by anyone is courageous - we have put ourselves into the public clutches with no guarantees. Sharing information is one thing, attempting to hurt a writer's faith in their own skill is another.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 7:35 pm

I don't know how you get from correcting misinformation to hurting a writer's faith in their own skill, but whatever. I have seen this misinformation given many times. I've largely ignored it, but have now come to realize that many people actually believe it. And that's not a good thing.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 9:43 pm

I searched google on "book review suspense." I got 12,500,000 hits. Went through all of them and discovered some that won't look at ebooks, some that won't look at as-yet unpublished books, some that won't look at self-published books, and some that are genre-specific. Finding the right reviewers for a specific book would be tedious. Perhaps that accounts for the OP's difficulties. There's no easy way to do an advance screening of reviewers.

Do the small presses have lists of reviewers they like to use? Do small presses even use reviewers? How do we know anybody actually reads the reviews?

Abe has experience reviewing books. Maybe he can shed light on the subject.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 9:56 pm

LC wrote:
The fact that marginal and vanity presses say this so much and authors who don't know better repeat it so much doesn't make it true. I personally am with three commercial presses, two large and one small, and none of them, including the small press, expect me to sell my book.
I had the same experience when I was writing nonfiction. My name and the subject matter sold the books. I was with a small press at first and then later with the big NYC guys. Even with the small press I had space on the shelves in Books-a-Million, Borders, etc.

It's a Catch-22 when you write fiction, however. They won't spend money to promote an unknown name, even if they will actually publish the book. So, if you want to become a known name, you have to get it out there somehow yourself. But they don't want to publish you if they don't think you can do it. You need to be known in order to be published and get promoted. You can't become known until you've published and been promoted.

I don't have the solution. Nobody does. The rant in the first chapter of my book on self-publishing, posted elsewhere on this forum, pretty much covers it. No point in repeating it all here.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 11:29 pm

Al,
I read the comments on this subject, and your comment that I may shed some light. Thanks for your confidence, however I don't think I can shed much (if any) light on the subject. Has my light gone out or has my interest waned?

I think many small publishers got started on the "shoestring" approach. Start-ups with little or no funding, often make their way with the trial and error approach. Many use the approach to "plan your work and work your plan". There is little flexibility in that approach. Sticking to a plan that doesn't work is not only foolish but plain dumb. The plan of a well-known publisher (I hesitate to mention the name, but it is know by two abbreviated letters) is to market to their authors. They had no flexibility. When I made a request, I was told: "That is not in our marketing plan."

As for reviews, I've been asked to do "publication worthiness" reading. That I take seriously. It is difficult to give a thumbs-down on a would-be author, but it is a very important decision. Publishing a book that is uninteresting, or poorly written, is not something that will add to the prestige of a publisher. Asking for a pre-published review where the review will be included on the inside or back cover, may be helpful, but I have no way of knowing that.

There are many places to look for statistics. I'm reminded of the old cliche: "Figures lie and liars figure."

I don't know how many authors wrote a book and expected to do the promotion themselves, unless they were self-published. How many authors are marketing experts? Learning by experience can be very expensive. Time alone spent on this effort may be time wasted.

Personally, I think a publisher should promote the books they publish. Otherwise, the author would be better served by self-publishing. I have experince in marketing, but not in marketing books. Expertise is required in each field of endeavor.

I think that my input on this subject doesn't answer your question. I don't have the answer. I believe that whatever situation we're in, we must work to find a solution. We either give some heat to the publisher for change, or change our publisher on the next go-round. Just because a publisher is honoring their contract, doesn't make it good, especially if the contract is inflexible and they are unwilling to change it.
It seems to me, that any publisher that is willing to advance the money to publish a book, most certainly thinks of the return on their investment. Unfortunately, some believe that their return will come from the author who will buy "x" number of books. The ego trip of a new author makes them vulnerable to a variety of scams.

In the end, if a book is very good, it should be promoted. Who will do the promoting? A novice has little chance. There are exceptions and there are also someone who will win the lottery. Blindly taking a chance is not a good strategy. And we realize that what worked for one author does not mean it will work for another. We have come to understand that only mainline publishers actually promote books and place them in stores. If we can't get our book with one of those publishers, we must realize/understand that the small publisher provides limited marketing, primarily confined to the Internet, as with Amazon.

I just realized I typed a lot of words and said nothing new.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 9:29 am

Quote :
In the end, if a book is very good, it should be promoted. Who will do the promoting? A novice has little chance.

You know why a novice has little chance? Because the options open to that person are of little value. Most have a blog. And their blogs are dull. Self-absorbed posts about their book. Ruminations on the publishing industry. Ruminations of people who haven't yet made it in publishing aren't worth reading (for the same reason nonfic written by people not credentialed in the field are worthless).

The "publishers" who tell aspiring writers that they have to promote have business models similar to the life insurance industry. Lots of people are signed up, make sales to friends and family, then get discouraged and leave. No worries, there are other newbies behind them.

I generally don't care -everyone pays a "green tax"- but I'm starting to realize how prevalent this misinformation is becoming. I've recently been asked how much I paid to publish my books. Why would I be asked such a question? Because the misinformation is starting to displace the fact.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 9:34 am

Quote :
It's a Catch-22 when you write fiction, however. They won't spend money to promote an unknown name, even if they will actually publish the book. So, if you want to become a known name, you have to get it out there somehow yourself. But they don't want to publish you if they don't think you can do it. You need to be known in order to be published and get promoted. You can't become known until you've published and been promoted.

I don't know, there are people who break into the field anyhow. The author of Like Water for Elephants used to post on Writers.net before she got published. No one knew her. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm aware it's especially hard for fiction, but nevertheless, "publishers" who ALSO print nonfiction keep spreading this lie (like Tate). Since the OP didn't clarify fic from nonfic when he posted that all authors have to promote, I answered.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 9:53 am

If your blog is boring, I am not moved to read your book. As I look at the blogs of self-anointed book reviewers--which I've done a lot of recently--I find the same thing. Their blogs are boring. Why would I want to read their reviews?
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 11:22 am

I'm often asked how much I paid to publish my book by local acquaintances who assume because I'm not wealthy, I must be paying to be published. Two author acquaintances paid $2500 to have theirs published - and their publisher required a marketing plan and a pitch before he'd publish their books. I know the publisher, a start-up company with some good credentials. Both of those authors assumed I paid to have my book published. I wish they had asked me. I did make some recommendations to one, but she was anxious to publish. It's that "anxious to publish" that makes new authors vulnerable to pay schemes.

I tried to talk one into publishing with Createspace at no cost - but it felt better to her to pay the $2500 and have a "real" publisher. The publisher did some edit work and the cover. Maybe that's worth $2500. I think "printer" is a better nomenclature than "publisher."
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 1:32 pm

Quote :
If your blog is boring, I am not moved to read your book. As I look at the blogs of self-anointed book reviewers--which I've done a lot of recently--I find the same thing. Their blogs are boring. Why would I want to read their reviews?

Seems like as many people hang out shingles as "reviewers" as publishers or for-pay editors. Unless a reviewer is part of the media or has a huge online following, I don't care about their reviews, either as a writer or reader. Just as I don't care about advice from editors who have no credentials in getting anyone published or in expensive classes taught by people who aren't published themselves (or got anyone published).

DK mentioned Amazon reviews in an earlier post, and that's something else. Customer reviews on retailer websites are important. I have been influenced by them in my own purchases. But they're valuable because they're unsolicited (well, the honest ones).
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptySat Apr 30, 2011 4:07 pm

Every once in a while I Google my book to see what people I do not know are saying about it. I am always pleased. Some reviews are a little off the wall, but they all make me smile that someone I did not know or put the thumb screws on read my work and said something nice about it on this vast space...the web.

Love,
Betty
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Reviewers, Part 1   Reviewers, Part 1 EmptyTue May 03, 2011 10:15 am

Here's an article on the Createspace website about online reviews.

https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1471
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