This month is Indie April during which we do our bit to support self-published authors, so I put out a call on twitter asking people to recommend their books and had an amazing response – almost 100 replies to my tweet, and nearly as many book links.
Obviously I can’t read all of them so I had to whittle them down and I’m going to share my process for doing this with you.
First off I specifically asked for UK Amazon kindle links. A large number of authors sent me US Amazon links or links to other sales platforms which are really no good to me so I’m afraid these books didn’t get a look in. However, that still left me with a long list of 40 books. A significant number to choose from.
Some authors included a pitch with their link, which was useful, but I still followed the links for those who hadn’t. My next step was to check them out on Amazon to see if they looked interesting. This was where personal taste comes in. I asked for Sci-Fi, thrillers and fantasy as these are the genres I enjoy most, but also anything else that people thought I might enjoy, and I received an interesting assortment, ranging from children’s books to romance to memoir.
My next stage in filtering through these was to look at them on Amazon to see if the book’s premise was of interest to me. Obviously this was subjective and I skipped over books that other people may love simply because they weren’t by cup of tea. A couple of things worth noting though that did put me off a few.
Firstly, shoddy covers. Most authors had put a fair bit of effort into their covers and some were simply gorgeous, but a few were really cheap and shoddy looking. If you can’t be bothered to make an effort with your cover why would I think you’ve made an effort with your writing?
Secondly the blurb – This does need to be gripping and to the point, giving the reader a clear indication of the book’s premise. Far too many were waffly and unclear. This is your sales pitch. Don’t waste it. I ended up with a shortlist of 12.
Next, I used the ‘look inside facility’. This is where the writing starts to matter. You may have a killer concept but if it’s poorly executed I’m going to pass. Fortunately this wasn’t too much of an issue so my selection was rather more subjective. I now have two amazing looking books lined up on my kindle to read and I’ll be posting reviews of them in due course.