Initial Reviews



Category: publishing


The first excursion into my marketing attempts are with a service called Pubby.

Cute name.

There are a couple of features that caught my attention:

A ten-day free trial
Let's face it. Free attracts. That's good marketing.
They are reviewer-focused
According to everything I've read, reviews are paramount. People want to know that other people have found your work interesting/useful/worthy. Adding reviews to your cover, makes the hardcopy more marketable, as well.
I need reviews.

Signing Up

There was nothing too unexpected in the sign-up process—select a username, password, etc. Then came the entry to submit your book.

There are three levels of submission offered—the first is labeled "Standard" and basically involves your submitting a .pdf file and cover image. This level is free.

The next level is more Kindle focused and geared towards readers with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Using their subscription, they can read your submission for free. There is a one-time charge of $9.99 for this service.

The last level is focused on actual purchasers: those who purchase your book on Amazon.com are invited to review the book. This one requires a one-time charge of $14.99.

I opted for levels one and two. Level three seems like a redundancy—anyone who buys the book on Amazon can review it anyway. It's a chicken-and-egg problem–you need sales for this program to work. Of which I have none.

(A key aspect of level one is that only those readers who agree to review your book are given access to the .pdf–so you don't get a bunch of people reading the work gratis.)

Unexpected Questions

Signing up and registering the book proceeded without too much of a hitch. But, after registering, another page came up with a whole list of questions to answer about the book.

I have to admit, that exercise was tough.

Why? Because they are in the nature of asking you to evaluate your own work. And that is a hard exercise.

Of course, when you wrote the book, or at least when you published it, you had in your head that you thought it would be of interest to other readers. Otherwise what is the point of publishing.

But being confronted with pointed questions about why others would be interested in reading your precious prose is another matter.

The question that gave me the most difficulty was this: "What is unique about the book and sets it apart from others?"


Think of this: if someone asked you that question about a book you just read, say, A Christmas Carol (it's the season...) or a biography of some famous person how would you reply? I submit it would be a harder question to answer off the cuff than you think. Ultimately, you might be reduced to, "Well, the title and the content are unique..." And you would be right. Under any circumstance.

In the end, I had to dig deep. I had to think: "Marketing, marketing..." The perspective I had to adopt to make this work was this: How would I convince someone to read and review the work. And that provided the answer. What I ultimately come up with for The Log of the Desert Lake is:

"It is a very personal perspective, and introspective narration of a 10 day voyage paddling and camping Lake Powell - from Wahweap Marina to Rainbow Bridge - and the return, all in an 18 foot kayak. The author immerses the reader in vivid imagery and engaging "you-are-there" style of writing."

"Beyond the personal narration, the author goes into a detailed look at various aspects of the lake, itself - the historical, geological, and political conditions of its genesis, and the environmental/ecological aspects of its existence. Again, not in a dry listing of facts, but in an engaging, thought-provoking narration intended to draw the reader into their own personal experience."

And there it is. I think it works.

So, now, I sit back and watch and see if it generates any interest.

Needless to say, I'm apprehensive.