This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Reedsy is a British-based author services firm in the self-publishing industry. As well as helping authors find and hire vetted freelance professionals it offers online software tools to help authors convert their manuscript file to e-books.
Discovery is their new program launched “because we saw way too many authors getting frustrated with their marketing campaigns.”
No argument there.
Reedsy describes Discovery as a pre-publication marketing tool to be used to build momentum on the day your book launches.
So how does their new site work for an author? I needed some clarification, so I sent Emmanuel, CEO of Reedsy an email. Below is a transcript of my enquiry and his response.
Thank you for contacting me regarding Reedsy Discovery. May I please get some clarification on this new marketing platform for authors?
As I understand, I submit my book plus $50 for the opportunity to have one of your one hundred reviewers review it. If my book is lucky enough to be selected and receive a high-quality review, it will be promoted on the Discovery Feed where readers can read, comment and up-vote it.
If my book is among the most up-voted that week it will be featured in your weekly newsletter which is sent to thousands of readers in my genre. How many thousands of readers would that be if you don’t mind me asking?
If the reviewers don’t review my book, or if they review it and don’t like it, there’ll be no review. Without this review, it will not be promoted on the Discovery Feed and will be relegated to the Recently Added tab.
However, when my book is launched, the first chapter will still be made available on the Recently Added tab for readers to read, comment and up-vote—if they can find it.
Would you agree the key to success is for my book to get a high-quality review and then be promoted on the Discover Feed where it will be featured prominently and much more likely to be read, commented upon and up-voted?
Regardless of whether my book has the potential to be blockbuster if it is not selected it will have to compete with those arbitrarily chosen for a high-quality review and promoted on the Discovery Feed.
From this disadvantaged position, do you still contend it could receive enough up-votes to be featured on your homepage and emailed directly to readers (the number still to be determined) in my genre?
All things considered, the most likely outcome for my book in my opinion, and indeed for most books submitted to Reedsy Discovery, will be to end up on the Recently Added list with one chapter featured. No review and no direct mail sent to your thousands (exact amount yet to be divulged) of readers in their genre.
And you think that’s worth $50? No, I mean do you really think it’s worth $50?
Sorry, I forgot the professional landing page - that would make five including my website, D2D, Smashwords, and Amazon.
Obviously, there’s something I'm missing. Something that will distinguish this venture from other sites that promote bad literature by offering paid reviews and the opportunity for unscrupulous writers using the most imaginative, but still unethical, ways of advancing (up-voting) their books with no regard for quality.
Please tell me I’m wrong.
PS When and if you do respond can you please provide an approximate number of thousands of readers in my genre you have access too? Is it two thousand or two hundred thousand? I think you’d agree it could make a difference.
RESPONSE FROM REEDSY
We are not currently disclosing how many readers we precisely have but it's in the tens of thousands. So far most authors have received a review on Discovery.
Regarding upvotes, I agree it's advantageous to receive a review. But you can counterbalance that by asking your existing base of readers to upvote you (or at least friends and family)
Note: I had a look at your Amazon page and I'd recommend you work with a professional cover designer before submitting to Discovery — it'll give you much great chances of receiving a review (yes, people do judge a book by its cover…)
All the best,
Emmanuel, CEO @ reedsy.com
MY RESPONSE TO REEDSY’S RESPONES
Thought you might suggest the friends and family thing. Sorry, but I find it unethical and apparently so does Amazon. I also noticed in your submission form it's required to indicate whether the author has engaged the services of Reedsy. I guess that’s one way to select who gets a review or not.
Thanks for the advice on the cover, but rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a professionally designed cover so your reviewers might consider reviewing my book, I can spend $9 more than your asking and Readers’ Favourite Book Reviews will review my book (no professional cover required) within two weeks—guaranteed.
Their review is posted on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, many of their reviewers post reviews to their blogs and social media sites. The review is also indexed by search engines like Google, which recognizes RFBR reviews and formats them with their starred rating, just like Amazon and Goodreads.
They also post the review on a landing page, their app, announce it to 500,000 libraries, bookstores and schools and give you a month of free advertising on their Featured Book Rotator visible to everyone who visits their site.
Unfortunately, like Reedsy Discovery they only publish four and five star reviews which I think is a disservice to readers as well as writers. However, regardless of the rating. they send you the review and a mini-critique of your book that provides ratings on 5 key areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability.
Regardless of your quasi-ethical practices; not being transparent with your numbers, encouraging bogus up-voting and the conflict of interest inherent in any review that's paid for, I think you need to up your game, Emmanuel.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive.
Marketing my books has that influence on me. I can feel my tolerance fraying as I read the pitch from yet another book marketer, publishing consultant, or whatever they call themselves hoping to sell you their services or programs that offer simplistic solutions to complicated problems.
I shouldn’t be so hard on them. After all, they’re just trying to make a living and being a salesman myself how often have I taken the sale knowing full well the client’s expectations would never be met?
Perhaps it’s because I’d like to believe that hiring an editor, cover designer and all the other professional publishing services available would guarantee me success.
It won’t. It’ll just make me poorer.
So I resent the dozens of emails I get, like this one, suggesting they will, and I feel empathy for those who pay the money only to have their dreams dashed and their wallet emptied.
Is there a solution?
In ten years of experimentation I’m resigned that first I have to get good, then get lucky.
Stay Calm, be Brave and Watch for the Signs
Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery
Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews https://readersfavorite.com/
Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU