Take, for example, the fate of books that are good. I mean, really good. And they get no press. They get no acclaim. They are released. Some people find them. They fade into nothingness. Yeah, I'm gonna name some names here.
You know what book I really enjoyed that didn't get the recognition it deserved?
Rob & Sara.com co-written by P.J. Petersen and Ivy Ruckman. Really cool people too. How do I know? Because I wrote to them after I finished the book to tell them how much I enjoyed it. I loved how they subtly wove in the message that there are dangers lurking on the internet, that people aren't necessarily who they claim to be, but that it isn't all bad. You really can meet a kindred spirit in a digital life. They were grateful for my letter because they were slammed for not doing exactly what I said they did. They didn't beat the morale of the story into your brain. They let the reader come to their own conclusion. It was a skillfully executed book. But if you click that book title above, you'll find it's out of print. Amazon doesn't even have a cover photo available. Sad. Not fair.
I could make an enormous list of these kinds of books, but that would get redundant so I'll let Rob & Sara.com stand as my example for that.
But now I have a new kind of example. This is the kind I bet most of you can get behind. The books that are so wonderful they deserve to be published. But they just get rejected. Again and again and again. And then you look at some of the things that are published and see that it's no better than your manuscript. No better than your friends manuscript. But theirs is a book and yours is a file on your computer. Unless, of course, you self publish, which barely gives you any more credibility than if you'd left it a file on your computer. But there is brilliant stuff that falls into this category.
|Brand new book 2 in the Holly Wild series|
|One of the adorable Swoozy Noon books by Roo Cadell|
Now, Holly Wild is available in print, thanks to her savvy author/illustrator. My daughter has the first book and just loved it. What could be more fun than a nature loving girl and her adventures in Michigan?
I am really disappointed that the Swoozy Noon series is only available as an ebook. The stories are short, funny and adorable. I would love to cuddle up with these little books and read them with my kids. It's not the same to cuddle up with the iPad. It just isn't.
But these two series definitely get the Restless Writer Seal of approval. But they should have more of a chance to get noticed. Word of mouth only works if someone finds them to talk about in the first place.
And then, there is the talented and brilliant Jody Lamb. Rejected far more than it ever should have been, her beautiful story, Easter Ann Peters: Operation Cool, tells the story of a middle grade girl who struggles to get comfortable in her own skin while balancing the pressures of school with the secret of her alcoholic mother. Sounds heavy, but Jody has given so much life and humor to Easter Ann that it's truly a heartwarming story. Jody has finally found a new, independent publisher who was wise enough to see the high quality of the story and its importance. But, being new and independent, it's hard to get a new list of books off the ground. So there's a Kickstarter campaign. I pre-ordered my copy through the Kickstarter because it's another fantastic book that deserves a chance.
There are groups online that seek to link aspiring authors and self published authors so that, hopefully, something will come of it. Besides some friendships, I don't see that it really makes much of a difference in sales and marketing. Other than that, if you're willing to pay big bucks to have someone market your books, or to pay for ads somewhere, you don't have many options.
What if, there were other people like me who love good books and like to help authors. What if, we were to form a book review club? I'd like to start this club. Here's how I envision it working.
We have 1 title per month, 12 a year. To be in the club, you promise to read and review at least 3 of the books. Now, because the goal is to help generate sales and publicity, I would hope everyone would buy the 3 titles they agree to review. But if there are other, legal, ways to get a copy of the book, so be it. Books can be reviewed on individual blogs, hopefully on a website like Amazon or GoodReads or wherever else it might benefit the author. Reviews are to be truthful. If you read a self published book and it shouldn't have been published yet. Say it. But not in a way that's hateful. Say it constructively: I didn't think the plot was well thought out. The characters didn't feel real to me. There were too many distracting grammar errors. etc.
If you're interested in submitting your book for consideration for this review process, please stick to the children's and young adult genre. Sorry, that's just what I like to read so that's who I want to help. If you want to submit your book, you agree to review at least 3 other titles in the year. If you don't, your title will be dropped from the list and any published publicity will be deleted. Show the love, folks. Don't be greedy.
And, one more thing. I'm tired of bloggers selling ad space on their personal blogs. Really? Do I deserve $25 a month or more from you to put a picture of your book in my sidebar? No, I don't. So, I've decided that I'll go ahead and feature someone's book in my sidebar, for free, once a month. I'll draw a winner every month and contact you for a graphic and link. Does that sound fun? I'll start with Holly Wild and Swoozy Noon for the rest of this month because they're both new and I love them.
Email me at indiebookgroup (at) gmail (dot) com for more information about any of this and to join up!