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The Five Deadly Sins of Submitting Self-Published Books for Review

1) If you have no distribution (are not in Baker & Taylor and/or Ingram), then they will be completely uninterested in your book. Why? The title will have no national distribution, so why should they tell booksellers and librarians nationally about it?

2) If the book is badly edited, typeset or has a very poor cover (even if you send in a plain cover galley, you should send in a full-color print of your finished cover for them to see), they won't bother, because it's not professional looking - and they are the arbiters of what is professional. With 200,000 books out a year, there have to be standards.

3) If the book was put out by iUniverse, PublishAmerica or one of the other subsidy "Self-Publishing companies," don't bother. They won't review. Although you might try ForeWord Magazine. They seem more open to subsidy products. They regularly give awards to subsidy-produced products.

4) If you are not an expert in the field that your book is about - for instance, you are just Joe-Car-Owner but your book is about optimizing the engine in a 1968 Mustang, then they won't review your book.

BTW: Novels are just hard. But still worth sending off (sales to libraries from a School/Library or Booklist review can range from several hundred to a thousand or so).

5) If you shout that the book is self-published, they won't bother with you. Stop drawing attention to it. Write your PR copy as if you are someone else. Refer to yourself in the third person. If you refer to the publishing company, write its name instead of saying "I decided to self-publish...". You didn't name the company after yourself, did you? That's a big no-no. You must exude professionalism out of every pore - and that means you don't tell them it is self-published. If they guess, that's their problem.

Finally (and since it's not a Sin, it's not counted) - make the book as best as it can be. Make sure it is great writing, is the most professional-looking, well-edited, product with the most attractive cover you can make, and they will review it. They aren't arbitrarily being mean. You are trying to break into a $3 billion a year global industry. A bad product won't compete.

I wish you success!

Jacqueline Church Simonds
Beagle Bay Books
Book Packaging
Self-Publisher's FAQ

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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