Awards and Professional Reviews
When my first book Big Mother 40 was published way back in September 2012, besides being really excited that a dream had come true, I focused on getting reviews for the book from magazines and readers. The magazine reviews were all very good and within six months of its release, the folks who buy books on Amazon.com rated Big Mother 40 as #48 of the top one hundred war novels of all time… That was in June, 2013 and was a very pleasant surprise.
Since I was a novice at both marketing a book, and despite a lot of research into who should/could/would review it, I missed two avenues to where my work could get recognized. One is a growing number of companies that, for a fee will review your book and the writer (and publisher) is free to use them how they wish. These firms tout their experience and ability objectively review one‘s work.
Number two are awards… There are literally hundreds of them out there for all categories. In the beginning, I didn’t know one from another and were warned by other writers that some are scams. As a result, I shied away from both awards and the review-for-a-fee sites.
That was then and this is now. Both Penmore Press (Inner Look) and Deeds Publishing (Forgotten) suggested that I look into both to support the “normal” group of magazines to which I send my books. And, they provided lists for me to review.
First conclusion. is that one could spend a small sized fortune on either reviews or awards or both. Fees for reviews range from reasonable to outrageous. Trying to map value of the result to the fee was difficult.
Second conclusion. Response times from payment to review varied all over the map from a week or two to five or six. Awards had calendars and release restrictions that didn’t match my books publication dates.
Third conclusion. Award and review segmentation also known as genre varied. Some had fiction categories such as general fiction, or thriller, or historical fiction, or spy/espionage. Others had very detailed ones. So, first criteria was did the site fit my genre – historical fiction/espionage/thriller/military. I found the genre segmentation with the awards was much more precise than it was with the reviewers.
In the end, I came up with five awards and five review sites. It is a nice round number and was not planned. And, I took the plunge with both Inner Look and Forgotten. Not all of them are back yet but so far, here’s what they earned. Forgotten – Finalist in Historical Fiction, Indie Book Reviews; and Five Star Rating from Reader’s Favorite. Inner Look also got a Five Star Rating. On my web site, you can read the reviewers comments. In fact, the reviews of all my books are posted on the site in their entirety.
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. My first three books received excellent reviews from publications. Now, others think they are very good. The recognition is good for the soul and also spurs me on to write more books.
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