I realise that this is a lot easier once you're 'off the ground' and that as a new author, particularly a self-published one, it is desperately hard to be heard. It's a signal-to-noise problem. Who knows how many Name of the Winds or [fill in your favourite] are lost to us because they just couldn't be seen? None? A hundred?
So here's my idea. It relies on the labour of others and so it could fizzle and die right now. But let's see.
I know that many bloggers are very fast readers. Some read over 200 books in a year.
My proposal is to get X of these bloggers to volunteer to become 'agents'. (X will be 10 or fewer).
Each blogger is assigned 25 self-published books, randomly selected from a list of volunteer authors.
These bloggers are NOT expected to read all of these books. Their task as 'literary agents' is to select the single book they want to put their reputation behind and "publish" into the next round of the exercise.
As agents the bloggers will look at the submissions before them. Many they may abandon on the first page as rubbish. Many others may be set aside after a chapter or two. A small subset, perhaps 1 or 3 or 5 will be read all the way through.
After 6 months the bloggers (who are free to review any of the books they were assigned) deliver their verdict. A single book which they review and put forward into round 2. It would also be nice to see a blog from them at some point about their experience as agents and what led them to abandon some books early and pursue others.
This will give us a list of X finalists, one from each blogger.
Over the next 6 months each blogger becomes a blogger again and will read the X books (actually X-1 since they selected one of them). They don't have to read all of each book but should try to give each a fair shake. They assign a score out of 10 to each book and review the one they liked best (not the one they "published"), By totalling the scores we get a single winner from the many entries. Each blogger reviews that winner, thereby giving it the reward of publicity.
Any blogger interested in taking part can comment below &/or mail me at email@example.com
My first volunteer blogger is Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues - so if this goes ahead you'll be in great company!
My second Richard Auffrey of The Passionate Foodie with 240 books read last year!
My third Tyson Mauermann of The Speculative Book Review.
4th the eponymous blog of Sean Smith
5th Charlie Hopkins of A Reading Machine.
6th Katherine of Ventureadlaxre