I gave up many precious book-writing hours a week ago to submit my two published novels to various vetted book review sites. According to Author advice, this is what I should be doing. It was on my To Do list for a long time, and now it’s underway.
But it’s left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. It’s because it reminds me of the cycle of submission, being ignored for weeks or months, then rejection that comes from submitting to literary agents or publishers. And when I self-published, I left all that behind, to my great and enduring relief.
It’s not so much the rejection that bothers me – I understand that agents/publishers/reviewers are busy people with hundreds, if not thousands, of authors clamouring for their attention. What bothers me is the feeling of time wasted. Just like the literary agents, the book reviewers have detailed submission requirements, and I found myself preparing synopses of differing lengths, and covering emails addressing their bullet points of requirements. Many of them have similar off-putting statements on their websites: if you do not hear from us, presume we are not able to review your book; if you would like us to review your book please send a hard copy, noting that we cannot guarantee a review; we only review high fantasy and gothic horror; we do not normally review self-published books… Hmmm. Quite a few said that. Put me off them even more, I must admit.
It’s only been a week, but I haven’t heard back from any of them, and I haven’t submitted to any more either. I started wondering if I even cared about getting ‘official’ reviews? What is the benefit, really? I guess these reviewers have followers, and if they happen to recommend a book, their followers might purchase it. But they are recommending hundreds of books, how would my book, even if they review it, and only if it’s a positive review, stand out? I genuinely don’t know the answer to that.
I know many of them tweet their reviews but my experience of twitter is that there are thousands of novels and reviews being tweeted every minute. I can’t see people using twitter as a book-buying forum. Again, that’s just guess work and my own experience – my tweets certainly don’t work as a sales tool.
I feel so grateful that both my books have been widely reviewed by readers – at the time of writing, Daughter, Disappeared has received 77 Amazon reviews in ten months, and Glasdrum 61 in five months – and I’ve decided I’m happy to leave reviewing to the only people who matter – the readers. No more submissions for me! I have another book to write 🙂
(PS If anyone wants to review my books please let me know, lol!)