I've had many queries lately, and decided to post this just to clarify my methods for choosing which books to review and to sell online. I hope it is helpful!
I started Books for Animal Lovers last year because I wanted to combine two great loves of mine and offer my choices to other like-minded people. I am not a fast reader, but I do try to read two or three books concurrently in order to offer timely reviews. My blog has received enough readership that I now am on the list to receive advance reader copies (ARCs) from various publishers and samples from smaller presses. I appreciate receiving the books and do my best to look at each one with an open mind.
Many of the books I receive are from self-published authors. As a former publisher and owner of a subsidy house, I’m aware of the difficulty authors have in finding a so-called traditional publisher willing to take a risk on an unknown writer. I’m also aware of the various methods for self-publishing, many of which are quite good. All of this is to say that I’m not opposed to including self-published books on my site, but I do have standards that I am rather strict about imposing. And so here are some of my peeves pertaining to self-published titles:
· Errors. No book is perfect, and typos do happen, but when a book obviously has not been edited or proofread, I cannot accept it because, quite simply, I can’t bear to read it! Hire an editor as part of your writing process. You will benefit, as will your book.
· Interior Design. Part of the joy of reading is the feel and look of a book in my hands. But a book that is poorly designed with low-resolution images, ugly fonts, or a shoddy layout will not be accepted here no matter how wonderful the writing. I’m not just selling words, but the whole package. Otherwise, I’d simply sell eBooks. Hire a professional designer to layout your book.
· Cover Design. Self-published books often have amateurishly designed covers. It is absolutely a fact that a good cover will sell a book. Frankly, I do not want to have ugly books on my site! Pay the extra and have a pro do your cover while designing the interior.
· Pricing. Understandably, writers paying for books to be published, either through CreateSpace or other services, have to pay a much higher unit cost. That causes the retail price to be higher than traditionally published books, and limits the book’s marketability. Sometimes it’s just too high a cost for a small retailer to handle. There’s no real solution unless the writer is willing to break even or take a loss on sales to a retailer. At least they are getting their books out before potential readers.
So if you have a book you feel fits the list here (and you’ve read or at least browsed the selections and reviews), by all means send it to me to consider. If I feel it has merit and may sell, I’ll definitely add it to the site. If I believe it merits a review, I’ll post one on the blog and send it to other sites. If it does not meet my criteria, I will not include it. If you would like referrals to designers, editors, etc., ask me. I have a pretty good list of resources!
Keep reading, keep writing, and don’t give up the dream.
Contact me: Jeremy@booksforanimallovers.com for more info or questions.