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Hi folks, it's lovely to find this group. I'm looking to self-publish my first novel in the near future, but am in the midst of layout and trying to set up a website. Among the many other things I need to learn is how to go about getting reviews when you don't have any established mailing list or readers. How do you find people willing to read and review your work? How best to send out advanced review copies, and doesn't Amazon require reviewers to have purchased the book? Does anyone have any insights, or can point me toward somewhere I can find out more?

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    • Hi Andrew,

      If you're a member of JW, you can take advantage of all the webinars on self-publishing throughout the month of April. There are replays. If you're not a member, it would probably be worth your while to join. The webinars cover most of your questions & more. For example,Harry Bingham just did a detailed and very clear webinar about building a mailing list.

      Best wishes,

      Janet


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      • Hi Janet, thanks. I'm a member, but I wasn't able to join that webinar. I plan to watch it on replay, though. I suppose what I'm asking is a chicken and egg question - until my book is out there, I can't build a mailing list to get anyone interested in reading an advance copy, if you see what I mean? I will take that approach with book 2. It's really the first I'm curious about.

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        • Andrew, I don't agree that you can't build a mailing list until bk #1 is out there. If you have a website, you can already use bookfunnel. You can start building a presence by posting often, using social media to point to your site and offering an attractive story right on your home page -- as you will see Harry does. It doesn't necessarily have to be a book. It just has to be relevant to your series.

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          • That's interesting. I hadn't really thought about it like that. Thanks.

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          • We were told about a company called Book Sirens which does reviews. You pay the company not the person and hence you may get good or bad reviews. They have a website with all the details.

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            • Thanks Georgina, I'll check them out.

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            • Hi Andrew, I used two ARC (advanced reader copy sites) ahead of my release: Booksirens and Booksprout. I found Booksirens much better. You set how many reviewers you want, upload a copy of your book and they publish the review on Amazon when the book is released. The reviews are honest though, so I had a very mixed bag :) Another is Hidden Gems, but they are booked out 3 months in advance, so it's worth looking into this if you have the time.

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              • Hi Ben, cheers. I'm wanting honest reviews, even if they're tough! (Will have to deal with that bridge when I get there). I've had good feedback to date, but most of  my beta readers are people I know quite well, so I'm not sure how objective they were.

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              • Hi Andrew. I sent the first three chapters of my last book to all the people on my mailing list who might be interested, and asked them for feedback, and if they would want to read on. I also asked one or two members of my writers' group to read the whole book and critique it. Having self-published it on Smashwords.com. I asked the same people if they would buy a printed version. I have had two of the four novels printed and am formatting the fourth. I don't make any money out of my writing but regard it as a hobby because I enjoy doing it. Oh, I also had the second and fourth books critiqued by a member of the NZ Writers' Association. That turned out to be the encouragement I needed. It costs money but so do many other hobbies.

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                • My writing group have seen excerpts, but not the whole thing, but I think asking them for a critique is a great idea.

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