Allen Schatz published his first book two years ago. After things didn’t work out with an agent, he went the self-publishing route and knew he had to market on his own, which meant contacting reviewers.

Some said yes, many said no.

But Schatz noticed a change in the business around this time and self-publishing didn’t seem like a death sentence for his writing career.

More reviewers say 'yes' to indie authors today“By the time my former agent released me, things had changed enough for me to go the self-publishing route,” said Schatz, whose first book was Game 7: Dead Ball. “It really wasn’t hard finding reviewers. There are a number of sites and people who give indie/self-writers support this way.”

Certainly, there are book blogs and websites willing to review self-published authors, but there are still many that do not. The lack of interest from many sites, especially mainstream media outlets, motivated Al Kunz to create his own site.

Kunz began reviewing indie books at Big Al’s Books and Pals about two years ago. Last summer, he took over as administrator at The Indie View, a site dedicated to the indie community.

Allen Schatz

“As I got more involved in my review blog and started following several other blogs, websites, and Internet forums related to indie publishing, it was something that was always being discussed,” Kunz said. “They would discuss the small percentage of people who purchase and presumably read a book who post a review (which, I understand, their obligation ends at the time of purchase).

“I’d see stories of authors trying to get a review from their local newspaper, not to mention hassles when they’d attempt to convince their local bookstore to carry their book or do a book signing. None of these things are necessarily easy for traditionally published authors either, but in many instances indies are excluded as a matter of policy.”

Kunz has been slammed with submissions. The traffic to his submission page and the list of indie-friendly reviewers is high. However, he has noticed that some reviewers have actually closed submissions for a little while, because of the vast amount of requests they receive.

“It comes down to a question of supply and demand,” Kunz said. “There are a lot of indie books out there and not a lot of reviewers, either on blogs, or customers who routinely write reviews of what they’ve read.”

Schatz doesn’t get turned away as much as he used to, but the initial marketing was tough to handle when he had people telling him he “wasn’t a real writer.” However, Schatz stuck with it and has noticed a trend in the direction of reviewers opening their doors for more submissions.

Between his three books, he probably has about 50 reviews on various websites.

“There’s a certain ‘snobbery’ out there about it, still, despite the improvements I noted,” Schatz said. “I will agree there are tons of badly written self-published books, which doesn’t help, but all of us are certainly ‘real.’”

Kunz has also noticed the move toward more reviewers accepting indie submissions, but he knows it’s a slow one as well.

Helping the awareness of self-published authors are success stories such as that of Amanda Hocking, or E.L. JamesFifty Shades trilogy. These made it into the mainstream consciousness and have been a model for writers and publishers to follow.

“Many book bloggers in the past have specifically excluded self-published books, and I suspect when self-publishing really started to gain in popularity, that this trend escalated,” Kunz said. “But there seems to be a growing realization that the self-published books of today aren’t always like those of several years ago. I think a lot of avid readers were the early adopters of e-books, and many of them who decide to start a book blog have been exposed to indies, recognize the need, and are either going to be open to reviewing indies or even specialize in that. Not unlike my story.”


  1. Good for you, Al Kunz! That’s a biggie question I hear all the time from indie authors, “Where can I get more reviews?” The explosion of new authors and books needs an equal explosion of reviewers because readers are often reluctant to take a chance on a new book with very few (or no) reviews.

  2. Self published authors a few years ago were not read by anyone because the only venue for their books was bookstores. Those same authors are still barred from bookstores, but with the invention of E-readers, we are now read by millions, making authors who self publish, or publish through a small press, a viable alternative to the Big Six (soon to be the Big Five) New York publishing establishment.

    “My America’s Galactic Foreign Legion” series would never even be considered by the Big Six, but after publishing through a small press, I have sold a modest 35,000+ E-books. No book store will touch my paperback because print-on-demand books cannot comply with bookstores’ takeback if not sold policy, so I still do not enjoy the validation of seeing my books on a bookshelf. Instead, I have to settle for merely making lots of money from my E-books. Paperback sales on are a mere 200+, so my future business model is clear. Sales and marketing are done online.

  3. Interesting article, Susan. I have written three novels – two not edited (yes, I was one of them) one self published in print (still on Amazon gathering dust) and my latest. After three years hard work and having a professional editor working with me, (I have learned many lessons) I am more than confident that the finished novel is worthy of anyone’s book shelf. The problem is marketing. The prospect of publishing on line frightens the life out of me. Officially classed as a first time author I need to make sure that I am not only placing the work in every possible public window but rather marketing it through those windows professionally too. “Where can I get reviews?” is indeed a question I asked too until a friend in the know put me right. I have always wanted to go the agent way but I am now looking seriously at self publishing again. Walter is right. Grab hold of your own destiny – Sales and Marketing online.

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