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  • gardnerjg

Early reviews of my debut novel

Writing and editing the book has been the easiest part of the whole process. The real challenge these past few months is trying to get people to read it (even for free).


In a recent meeting with my publisher, he told me that 2000-3000 new books are published every week. This means that I would either have to spend considerable amounts of money on publicity and marketing, or spend a great deal of time on social media building a network. Since, the former has a terrible ROI (as admitted by several publicists that I interviewed), and I am not on social media by choice, this has left me in a place familiar to many budding entrepreneurs, trying to be innovative and moving beyond talking about the book to friends and family.


There are a few sites that will advertise your ARC on a fee for service basis, with NetGalley being the most well known (also the most expensive). For my debut novel I tried a smaller site with a more reasonable pricing scheme, BookSirens. If you are reading this before May 2nd, 2023, then you can pick up the eARC from them here:

It's been an eye opening experience because I've struggled to even give away my book. The analytics from BookSirens has shown me that over 2000 people have been sent an email about my book, and about 125 have then clicked on my book's landing page (where you'd go if you clicked on the link above). But so far, only five people have actually downloaded the eARC to read, which is free for them! I've gotten polite messages that my download rate is "less than average" for BookSirens, which the first time I saw it was a real ego crusher. It doesn't bother me as much anymore because the first reviews from these few people are actually starting to be posted on Goodreads and Barnes & Noble.


The consensus so far for the novel? It's pretty OK. I'm actually very happy with these middling reviews because they are coming from complete strangers. I'm not getting artificially inflated great reviews from friends and family, but real reviews from people who don't have to be nice. This says to me that I've got lots of room to grow and develop as a writer, but my first effort isn't complete garbage. Not a critical hit, but not a critical fail. I've added a link to the novel's Goodreads page on the "Book" tab so you can see for yourself what other people are saying.


In other review news, I've been working with a few book bloggers and podcasters, and I'll talk about those once their content is ready to go live.


Thanks for stopping by.






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