One thing that I've been both pleasantly surprised by and disheartened by is the process of garnering and asking for reviews for my novel, Toe the Line (here).
I read many articles about e-book and e-publishing success stories. In most cases they state that positive online reviews lead to their success (as stated in the article linked here). Each time I read it it sounded so arbitrary and ethereal. How did one go about getting reviews? I knew that there were companies out there that provided reviews, how much? What type of review did you get?
The first thing I learned was not to count on friends and family for reviews. Initially this was disheartening for me. Then I realized how few reviews I've actually posted on Smashwords or Amazon. Even for books I love I rarely post glowing reviews. Why should I expect from my friends and family something that I have never provided to anyone else?
I was not impressed with this avenue. It petered out quickly and the reviews left me wondering if the readers had truly read the entire book. First they cited only passages from the beginning and I've gotten more helpful and deep critiques from the YA reviewers I discuss below.
The second thing I found was that Book Blogs (here) is a spectacular avenue for finding reviewers. Sure a majority of the reviewers on the site are Romance novel reviewers and there also seems to be an overwhelming bias toward vampires and young adult novels, but I've had more luck using this venue than any other. The reviews I got (here), (here) and (here) all came from this site. There are three times that many I just didn't want to write and link (here) nine times.
Finally, and this is the key, I was contacted by Cheryl Masciarelli through LinkedIn about her company, Partners in Crime (here). This is a virtual PR business that helps young authors link up with publicists, bloggers, reviewers, and more. Basically it sounds like she would do all the leg work that I am currently doing.
Again, the question becomes is it worth the money. The results from the "for charge" review sites were not worth the dough and I didn't get as much as I hoped. Maybe there is something to be said for slogging ones own way through the morass. At this point I'm considering Miss Masciarelli et al to help out with On the Edge. We'll know if the investment pays off in my AAR following that release.