I've been looking for book review sites, trying to find places to send my books for review when they are finally released in January or February of next year. There are so many people with published books trying to get them reviewed that most of the good places aren't accepting or else they charge exorbitant fees. Even the not-so-good places have a waiting list, and many of them charge a fee, too. (Rule of thumb: don't pay for a review on a blog with less traffic than yours.)
The problem? When self-publishing first became popular, the authors were more or less satisfied with selling 100 copies to family and friends, but now they are learning how to promote. With the big guys making most of their debut authors do their own promotion, writers are beginning to wonder why they should bother with traditional publishers -- if authors have to do their own promotion, they might as well get paid. Several bloggeries I've read mentioned an expected explosion of self-published books in 2009, and that a large percentage of those books will be aggressively promoted by their authors.
Makes me wonder if the whole book business could implode, with more writers than readers. Many of the people I've come in contact via this blog are readers as well as writers, but at least half of the writers I meet elsewhere do not read books. Nor do they buy them.
In the future, perhaps more money can be made reviewing books than writing them. I've mentioned before that I've been toying with the idea of becoming a reviewer. It's tempting -- especially if I could find others who would be willing to review the genres I don't read. It's one way to eventually cash in on the superabundance of published, POD, and self-published books out there, and I'd never lack for reading material. I have only a few objections: I'd have to review for nothing until I could build up a reputation, and I'd have to give strangers my address. Also, I am so jaded when it comes to reading that I'm not sure I could think of anything nice to say about any book, and if I tried to say something positive about a book with negative appeal, would it harm my (so far non-existent) reputation? Even worse, all that reading would take me away from writing, and I have enough distractions as it is.
But still, it's something to think about as I try to figure out how and where to promote my books.