One thing that indie publishing experts will concord in telling you is that you should create a platform before you publish your book. In other words, an audience of several thousand people. But what if you are a new author who, for whatever reason, has not yet managed to create that platform?
This was the dilemma I faced after publishing Strange Metamorphosis, my debut novel. I mean, unless you have some nation-impacting scoop to tell or have been sleeping with the likes of Madonna or Johnny Depp recently, how can you possibly build interest in people if you’re novel is not even on offer yet?
I wasn’t entirely new to digital media. My small business creating 360 virtual tour guides had generated over 100 000 monthly views, and video-games I’d previously worked on had done likewise.
But I could hardly use those platforms. Firstly, being based in France, these companies had a French following, my book is in English. Secondly, the visitors on the virtual tour guide weren’t the kind of public I could turn to with my fiction.
I did start a blog, had fun writing a few articles about bugs and subjects close enough to the book, and did get a handful of visitors per day. But they were mostly looking for how to hold a mosuqito-free barbecue rather than a fantasy adventure novel to read. I was a long way from creating a platform of thousands of readers.
I went ahead and published my book anyway and so was faced with the daunting task of getting it into the hands of readers. With no platform to spring from this was going to be sticky, to say the least.
Various author blogs give scatterings of information as to how this can be done, though. One of the best I found was http://mlouisalocke.com. M. Louisa Locke has painstakingly laid out much of her own first-hand experience as a successful indie author in a series of well informed posts.
The obvious soon became apparent to me. Readers pick up books at places like Amazon mostly because they have had recommendations from friends, have already read the author, or the book is close enough to their tastes and has reviews from people that have read it.
So, as a new author, it seemed the first thing to do was to get reviews. But how do you get reviews if no one will read your book without it having bonefide reviews already? I mean, someone has to lay the first egg, right ? That said, the answer in itself is fairly simple i.e. you just have to actively track down people who will agree to review your book.
These first reviewers are of utmost importance in marketing your book. Without them it would be like walking the treadmill forever and all your advertising efforts would be in vain. Most reviewers will read and review your book free of charge, simply because, like you and me, they love reading. Of course, the least you can do is offer to provide them with a free eBook or paperback copy.
Coming soon, how I found indie book reviewers.
Do you know how to find reviewers? If you do I’d love to hear from you.