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How to Get Your Fantasy Book Reviewed

By / April 3, 2009 / no comments

I thought, hot on the heels of my last Advanced Book Review Copies(ARC’s) Expose, I would offer a few suggestions for you small publishers and self published authors — since I’ve been getting some emails asking for some advice about this. Here is my .02 for how small publishers can get more book sales and quality book reviews.

1. High Quality Cover Art
You know the saying “don’t judge a fantasy book by its cover.” Well, the saying, unfortunately, is very true when it comes to books, especially books not published by established publisher. If your book cover looks like something my 12-year old nephew whipped up in a couple hours with some free image editing software, you may find that getting book reviews (and readers!) a difficult.

Humans are shallow creatures. We tend to judge things, be it people, music, and books by our surface impressions. Yes, in an ideal world a person would, for the sheer love of literature, ignore the book cover. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist. I understand for you self-published authors and small publishers, budget is a big deal. But upping your budget for quality, professional cover art may be one of the best ways to promote your books effectively.

2. Ensure you have a Professional Looking Website
The first thing many book reviewers (and some readers) do upon receiving a book review request, is to look at the publisher’s website. If the website looks shoddy, said review will likely reject the book review offer, or if he or she does receive the book, place a very low priority on actually getting around to read and review the book.

Your website is your virtual office. Think of it this way: if you have important clients who you are trying to sell some idea or product to, would you bring them into an office building with cracks all over the wall and paper strewn about the rooms? I don’t think so. People will judge the quality of your company and people by the way your website looks. Sad, yes, but very true.

Again, I realize that some people have crappy websites because they don’t have the funds to hire a professional. But sometimes it takes money to make money, and your website is the FIRST thing you should be spending money on. Scope out major publishing companies’ websites for inspiration. But the bottom line: your website should look good. I can’t tell you how many small publisher websites I’ve gone to only to reel back with horror at how bad the web design actually is.

Web designers are cheap these days. You can probably get a very professional fantasy book publishing website done for fewer than 5k, maybe much less if you shop around. A good looking website may also attract more talented authors to pursue your publishing services as well.

3. Print Your Books on Paper
There is a pretty big stigma associated with online-only publishers. Besides having to destroy our eyes while reading that massive honking PDF on our monitor screens (unless we have an Amazon Kindle), online-only publishers lack an air of legitimacy. To me, the line between a vanity publisher and online-only publisher is thin indeed. What gives publisher legitimacy? An army of qualified editors and copy editors. Online publishers don’t tend to have to much in the way of an “editing” process for their books. Which takes me to my next point.

4. Have Good and Qualified Editors
A good editor will make or break your book. Now like everything else, this is probably one of the more expensive personal investments to make, but a good book without good editing is bad. My experience with small publishers is that the editing is not very good and there are a lot of errors with grammar and punctuation – a very big turnoff for any potential reader. Part of the success of established publishers is their strong team of talented editors. So, if you are a mom and pop publishing operation, please throw down the cash to get someone who’s actually qualified to edit your books. Just because you got an A in grade 11 lit class does NOT mean you are qualified to edit a novel.

5. Publish Books with Unique Stories
It goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyways), you should only publish good books. In the fantasy genre, there are more “village boy Joe finds a magic sword, becomes a great hero and slays dark lord” type plots than you can shake a book at. I may be willing to suffer through yet another cliché plot if the book is backed by a major publisher – but certainly not a self published author or a unknown small publisher. Publish books that do something original with the genre. If the plot sounds interesting and UNIQUE, the potential reviewer will be more likely to pick the book up and say some nice things about it that may just encourange peopel to buy the book. If you are going to go the Robert Jordan clone route, you’re going to lose big time; the established publishers have the monopoly on this type of fantasy story.

There we go, 5 suggestions to help you small publishers sell more books and get more book reviews.

About the author

Ben

Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!

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