BookLife: a step forward for indie authors

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Let’s not get into the semantics of what constitutes a “legitimate” book. We all know the current atmosphere for traditional publishing is tough: are they only making deals with celebrities who write children’s books, or with already-established authors? It certainly seems that if your name isn’t Rowling, your pitch to an agent isn’t going to be opened.

Then there’s the absolute explosion in indie-published books. I love the democratization of the process, but at the same time, so many good ones seem to be disappearing into the black hole of anonymity. How do you grow an audience without traditional reviews? Everyone who writes a book wants reviews from outlets like newspapers, but it’s tougher than you know. Newspapers have been shedding writers and losing editorial space for decades. So which books get the attention? Yes, those celebrity children’s books and others of their ilk.

Things are turning around, slowly. Kirkus offers paid reviews for indie books, and I know at least one author who thought the $425 was well worth it for the legitimacy it conveys (as well as the small bump in attention). And now Publishers Weekly has rolled out Book Life, an outlet for indie reviews that’s attached to a well-known industry publication. It also appears to be a way for them to make money off aspiring writers with a catalog of publishing services, but I can’t criticize that, because it appears they demystify the process with easy-to-understand steps for publishing and marketing.

These new outlets are great, but none will take the 4-letter-word “WORK” out of the process. Even the well-established author I work for busts his ass every week to self-promote. So don’t think for a minute that a “legitimate” review is a ticket to stardom of any sort.

Your checklist:

1) keep writing

2) post to your blog, Facebook page and LinkedIn

3) write articles for other publications based on your publishing experience, research, etc

4) make a list of media contacts and call a few every week (yes, CALL.. email is dead!)

5) collect emails and establish a regular newsletter

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