So, you've written your book. You've published your book. And, unless you are one of what must be a very rare breed, you are now flip-flopping between thinking you've produced the best story that ever appeared in print, or the worst since man picked up a stone and started scratching on the walls of his cave.
What you need is a critical eye. You need to submit your book for reviews. Oh, so easy to say. Frequently though, you'll find that if you're self-published, many review sites will not accept your work.
Once upon a time, the Historical Novel Society ran two review schemes; one for traditionally published books and one for 'Indie' books. Not only did it offer to review, but there was a system which meant that each month a few books were chosen as Editors' Choice books and were put forward for Book of the Year.
This was a boon for Indie authors. It meant that not only did they get a review by highly respected reviewers, but they had the chance to win a prize.
Following some structural re-organisation, the HNS decided recently to combine their two review schemes and whilst they do continue to accept submissions from Indie authors, there is no longer a chance to be put forward for Indie Book of the Year.
However, there are a couple of places where you can send your book where you'll not only get an unbiased review but also get the chance for book of the month, and year.
The first of these is for historical fiction and is run by Helen Hollick, who used to be Managing Editor of the HNS Indie Reviews. At Discovering Diamonds, she has a team of highly professional, experienced reviewers who take their job - although they are all volunteers - very seriously. If a book is accepted for review it will be given a considered appraisal and if deemed outstanding, it will be declared a Discovered Diamond and put forward for further awards, such as Book of the Month. The blog is fantastic, with guest posts, articles, and even a competition for book cover design.
Helen was adamant that when the HNS revised its policy that there should still be somewhere for Indie Authors to get a 'stamp of approval' which is otherwise so difficult to come by. If you don't know Helen, she is a globally successful author of several books: an Arthurian Trilogy, an Anglo-Saxon series, and now a series about Jesemiah Acorne, who features in the Sea Witch Series. Helen has also written non-fiction books. She is one of another rare breed, that of successful author who will do almost anything in her power to help, support and encourage upcoming authors.
Find the submission guidelines HERE
Another great place to send your book is Chill with a Book. They won't review, but they will send your book out to a number of their team readers who will then assess the book according to certain criteria. If your book passes all these, it will be awarded a Chill with a Book award and, again, there are also monthly and yearly awards, as well as a special award bestowed by its creator, Pauline Barclay. Chill accepts books of - almost -all genres.
Chill with a Book also offers a book cover design award. Pauline is an author herself; another one who 'pays it forward'.
Find the submission guidelines HERE
Both Helen and Pauline work closely with Avalon Graphics, where designer Cathy Helms takes time from her work of designing quality book covers to help with judging competitions and designing logos.
More about Avalon Graphics
So, if you are an Indie Author - or indeed a Traditionally published author, submit your book/s. Not every book gets accepted, and even those which do don't necessarily win a Diamond or a Chill logo. But this just means that these are marks of quality, awarded after careful consideration by people who really know what a good book looks like, inside and out.
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