Monday, June 13, 2011

Reviewer's Tip - Sometimes Self-Publishers DO Have An Edge



If you're a self-publisher (or even if you publish with a small press), no doubt you've heard over and over about the disadvantages you will face.  And if you've been around for a few years, you've had to take on these hurtles in order to get your book "out there" "seen" and most importantly, discovered and purchased.

Self-publishers have to front the money for publication themselves, they have to find a good editor, graphic designer, get the book to market and get it distributed so it can find its way into the hands of buyers.  It's not an easy task.  You're competing against the mainstream houses that have decades of experience/contacts/know-how/financial backing.  How many times have you had a reviewer say, "sorry, but we only review books from mainstream publishers," or heard a distributor instruct, "we'll only carry your book if it sells X number of copies a month."???  And so on and so on.

But we have discovered one place where the self-publisher and even small press publisher are at a distinct ADVANTAGE over the large houses. When you do manage to get a reviewer interested in your book, when a reviewer requests a copy of your book (and isn't that a wonderful feeling?), how many self-publishers, oops, forget to send the book?  Here at Feathered Quill, that number would be a big, fat ZERO.  We have found, without exception, that self-publishers are on the ball, ready and willing, to respond in an instant to such requests.  Alas, those books coming from, er, um,. XYZ Publishers in NYC, frequently lose their way.  Turnover at these houses seems quite high, they're busy promoting oodles of books at once, and responses vary quite a bit.  This is all very odd to us because these large publishers seem just as eager to have their books reviewed and send lots and lots of press releases telling us that book "Blah, Blah" will surely be the next big seller.  They're eager to send a review copy, respond to our request and then.... nada.  Well, guess what?  We're too busy with other books to do follow-ups so if the book doesn't come, it doesn't get reviewed.  If there's a new person doing publicity and the previous employee forgot to tell them which books need to be sent out, oops, sorry, we're not going to remind you - we don't have time.

In sharp contrast, the self-publisher is typically promoting just one book at a time, his/her "baby."  Any response from a reviewer is treated as top priority.  Books get mailed out within a day and arrive quickly.  That means they get put on that hefty review pile quicker and get through the whole review process that much sooner.  So remember, although it may seem like a big, scary jungle out there in the book world, and that all is against the self-publisher, you do have at least one advantage.  Actually, now that I think of it, there are other advantages too.  Hmmmmm.....I sense another blog post coming along soon.  Stay tuned.