A week ago I blogged about the business of self-promotion.
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'm thinking here of fantasy books / authors / bloggers, though it could easily be SFF in general.)
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.
I'm looking for blogs with a good history of regular reviews (to indicate reliability) and since I already have too many volunteers I will try to select those bloggers with high traffic/popularity.
Any blogger interested in taking part can comment below &/or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
[edit - we now have 19 highly suitable volunteers for 10 places and more considering, so I'll definitely go ahead. You're welcome to add your name into the hat. I'll select the 10 using a combination of judgement and black magic, with the goal of getting the team most able to offer publicity (through the process) to the winning entries.]
My first volunteer blogger is Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues - so if this goes ahead you'll be in great company!
(these next are provisional as the success depends in part on the bloggers chosen being reliable (and an established regular blog is the best indicator or that) and popular)
Other volunteers that I hope I can be on the final 10 include:
(note - I already have 10 so selection will have to take place but please put your name into the hat)
Richard Auffrey of The Passionate Foodie with 240 books read last year!
Tyson Mauermann of The Speculative Book Review.
The eponymous Sean Smith of Sean Smith
Charlie Hopkins of A Reading Machine.
Katherine of Ventureadlaxre
Mihir Wanchoo of The Fantasy Book Critic
Milo of The Fictional Hangout
Lynn Williams of Lynn's Books
Matt Gillard of 52 Book Reviews
Johann Pollard of Fantasy Opinion
Tim Ward of Adventures in SciFi Publishing
Leona Henry of Blog of Shadows
Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins
J.R Karlsson of Fiction Garden
Marc Aplin of Fantasy-Faction
Ria of Bibliotropic
Fantasy Book Review are in.
Steve &co at the Elitist Book Review
Kat &co at Fantasy Literature