As an Independent Author, or Self-Published Author, there are a few obstacles I have to face. Unlike a traditional published or contracted author, I have to be the wearer of many hats such as Graphic Designer, TypeSetter, Writer, Editor, Agent, Publisher, Artist, and the most daunting, Marketer. It can be an overwhelming feat on just one book, let alone several books, even if I paid to have third parties to take some of the hats and their weight off my shoulders.
Marketing is a core essential as an independent creator, whether you’re in the form of a writer (Like me), a game developer, artist, or even Publishing Company. You can’t sell books unless the public has a chance to discover your books. Leaving them on Amazon, alone with no sharing they exist won’t work. It comes down to constant social media spams, writing events, conventions, local groups and stores, author signings, workshops, websites, forums, and more to build that awareness.
Investments in advertising can go a long way and pour in a sudden spike in traffic, but don’t be shocked if it dies off shortly after the advertisement stops. It’s that painful of an impact between marketing and sales that makes or breaks an Independent Author. Book reviews are more long term, and they help convince readers to take that chance on you, your writing and your story. Friends and Family love to help, but it the honest reviews from complete strangers that really pull through for a Self-published writer.
NetGalley is used by most of the big marketer to gain reviews for work and get exposed to a long list of well-known reviewers and publications. The cost of NetGalley can cause one a small heart attack in their early career stage. Even then, signing up, you lack a reputation to draw very many reviewers. This then turns into a means of whether you take the risk and the sad reality that it may flop and you can kiss roughly $400~$600 goodbye.Yet, a lot of the cheaper advertisement places or even online book reviewers want to see a certain number of reviews via Amazon or elsewhere before considering to even look at your work. How the hell does one get out of this Catch-22? Besides endless begging, spam emails, and other questionable means…
Ah! There is an alternative!
If you have been proactive, you should be aware of spending money on memberships to many of the Literary groups (Romance Writers of America, Florida Writers Association, and etc.) are a great investment in means of networking, discounts, resources, advice and help, and more. One of my favorite Organizations is BroadUniverse, a group that supports women of speculative fiction with a strong community of both male and female writers.
Among the benefits BroadUniverse provides is access to NetGalley. This is a chance to post your book on the NetGalley site, under a well established and known group within that community. They also take the time to look over the reviewers to see if they are a good fit for your book, on less daunting task as the Author you would have to do. At the end of your month long session they give a report of what went down, yet another numbers game the BU NetGalley Committee saves you from.
On average, most authors receive at least 10 new reviews per month. That doesn’t mean they only had 10 requests to review, there is a chance that reviews will still pour in after your book’s campaign run. It’s for the month, per book, at a price of $30 per month. Not a member of BroadUniverse? No problem! This group welcomes ALL WRITERS and for non-members, it’s only $45 per month.
And, if you want to know, membership is only $30 per year. One of the smallest costs for access to a very active group and the discount to NetGalley usage pays for itself in two months usage.
BEWARE! There are limited number of slots for each month, so be sure to plan ahead! Sure there are other groups who have this feature, just be sure to shop around, look at their statistics and keep to a group that compliments your genre. BU is a great one for Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror, Romance, Dystopia, Paranormal, and similar work.
NetGalley gives you a chance to pull in seasoned Book Reviewers, expose yourself to magazines and newspapers, and even popular book bloggers. With a gain in reviews, you get access to some more promising advertisements services, have more people (strangers) to quote from in order to self-promote, and run a higher chance of seeing your book mentioned some place new. Exposure, or lack of, is an Independent Author’s worse enemy. My recommendation is to take a closer look at BU’s NetGalley services and at least try it out once.
More on BU NetGalley Statistics: http://broaduniverse.org/learn-more/reach-book-reviewers/netgalley-statistics/
BU NetGalley Application: http://broaduniverse.org/learn-more/netgalley-application/
BU Membership: http://broaduniverse.org/learn-more/become-a-member/