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I’ve wanted to be a published writer for a long time but, like many authors, could not get past the idea of pouring out this big, time-consuming project only to have it rejected over and over by agents.

Then one day my husband saw some links on successful self-publishers. That is what you need to do! he said.

I read. I waffled. I read some more. J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, Amanda Hocking, and John Locke are the poster children with a lot to say on the topic.

The guys are all “we’re awesome!” while Amanda Hocking tries to bring in a dose of realism but all people see is the notoriety and, of course, the money.

She also mentions one very important nugget that was a huge factor in her success:

Book Bloggers

I caught that and thought, “ah-ha!”

But it’s not so simple.

There are more book bloggers than decoys  in a Where’s Waldo picture and they are (rightfully) selective. They favor certain genres. Some take reader files while some only take print. Some will accept self-published work and others won’t. Some are eager for reviews and others make it clear you will face trial by fire before you get a review from them.

I don’t fault them for any of that even while I find it frustrating. I cannot imagine how inundated even the little guys and gals are with review requests.

As an author, I quickly start to wonder, though…… how different is this than going the round with agent queries? That is such a daunting path, full of rejection and heavy criticism. But are reviewers different?

On the criticism front – quite a few won’t publish less than medium-grade reviews, which I appreciate.

But when it comes to power – wow – do they hold it! Reviews can make or break a book, and an author. They are gatekeepers, withholding or granting entry rights into the competition for readers. If no one reviews your book, your footprint is tiny. Main-stream publications won’t touch a self-published book. It’s the indie bloggers, who do it for the love of reading, that hold immense leverage over this fast-developing arena.

Each time I send an email to a book blogger I question if I made the right decision to self-publish. I enjoy it. I even had fun developing the cover. But is it the right career move? For some the answer is a resounding yes!

So, reviewers, every time I approach you….be nice? 🙂 So far I’ve only had a small percentage (2) even respond, which I understand I guess. (Would you rather read or answer emails? Yeah.)

For now I leave you all alone and go do what I love best: work on the next book!

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