Sci-Fi, fantasy and speculative Indie Authors Review discussion

Book market > If I were a chain bookstore

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments I've been trying to imagine what a realistic book-assessment program would look like, to provide a real challenge to the Amazon's and the traditional publishers, and get decent indie authors a channel to market. The first thing you'd need would be a brand, recognisable to customers and to writers. In the UK that might be Waterstone's (a chain bookstore). Then you have to recognise that assessment needs to be done by people, but not neccesarily by experts. I'd have a panel of 1000 or so people, paid piecework rates on zero-hours contracts. There would be a graded system of assessment, and it would be the author who would pay for the assessments. You'd pay about $30 for an initial assessment by three graders, to get to the 'longlist,' basically to say your book is not rubbish. That would get you detailed feedback on cover, blurb and first 30-pages, like people are doing in the Betterreads project. Only books that pass this stage would be eligible for the 'midlist' assessment, costing $100 and based on a reading of the whole book. Again, detailed feedback, but now it's an assessor who specialises in your genre, just one. Passing that would get you onto the 'shortlist' where there's a half-price copy in exchange for review deal, not taking any more from the author.

I know there's a ton of schemes sounding like this out there, but most of them are scams, taking your money in exchange for spamming twitter or facebook, or publishing reviews on blogs nobody sees. The difference would be for a brand to get behind it, and for them to do proper quality control on the assessors.

It would be publishing, but not publishing as we know it. But it's just a fantasy, isn't it?

message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
I'm not sure I care for the 'pay to play' aspect, but in a way, it sounds like the new Kindle Scout program that Amazon has launched. You submit your finished work, they put the the cover, blurb, and firat page up for people to vote on. Winners get an advance and more eyes based on the fact that Amazon is now marketing their work. Readers who voted get a free review copy.
To me, it seems like the literary version of all those vote for tomorrow's next pop star shows. I can't help but wonder if this type of crowd-sourcing would eventually lead us to the same ruts that many of us were trying to avoid when we decided to go the indie route. While yes, we should all be aware of whether or not our books pass the technical aspect, do we want people telling us to conform to a specific style?
I do like the idea of a respected peer review, much like we are trying for with Betterreads. Perhaps in time, with enough momentum, we might even become that brand that people respect.

message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments It's way tough to build a global brand. There's one that would work well in the UK - they have name recognition with readers but rather few bricks-and-mortar shops. That's Foyles. I've been avoiding pay-to-play because I don't trust any of the names who're offering it. Not against it in principle.

message 4: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments The trouble with the Scout scheme would be unverified appraisers. If you can choose which book to appraise, it'll just attract husbands and GFs of the author. Any effective scheme would need built-in control of the appraisers, for competence and impartiality. Betterreads works because we all get on, but it's not scaleable.

message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Richard 2060 wrote: "The trouble with the Scout scheme would be unverified appraisers. If you can choose which book to appraise, it'll just attract husbands and GFs of the author. Any effective scheme would need built-..."

I did wonder about that. How many readers are going to participate in the voting process that have no vested interest in one particular author. If it's simply a bribe your friends and family into voting for your book type deal, I will never win.

message 6: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments That's similar to what I've run into with one of the groups I've joined for free. Sure, they have a paid marketing game, but it's specifically geared towards giveaways. (Which I don't mind, except the upfront cost may not be recouped for a year or more once the book goes back to a priced item.) Supposedly for indi authors, but I see more activity here than I do there. Debating about pulling out of the dead group there.

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