BookLife, by Publishers Weekly, is an interesting approach. "Put the marketing power of Publishers Weekly behind your book," blares the headline in their PW Select offer.
"For just $149 your book cover and synopsis appear in front of thousands of book-sellers, librarians, agents, publishers, film producers and production companies," they say.
Back in 2012, I began an experiment in Indie publishing, predicting that digital books were the way of the future. As it happens, I was wrong. As eminent newspapers like the New York Times have found out, big investment in digital was ill-advised. Print books and newspapers still keep 75% of the market, and always will.
But as an experiment it has proved very interesting. As part of my own participation, I started another blog, called Kindle Publishing Hints. It has proved very popular, with thousands of hits and -- most satisfyingly -- over one thousand thank you letters. Apparently it has helped many writers through the technics of formatting, editing, illustrating, and submitting to KDP, and has even coached many through the intricacies of designing and uploading a cover.
For me, though, the crunch came when I was to advise about marketing. I promised to do it, but never came through, because it has proved so difficult.
Bean-counters have taken advantage of this, by offering marketing at various prices. The cheapest, by far (because it is free) is Draft to Digital, a firm that promotes your book with a range of digital booksellers, such as Kobo, for a commission that is just a fraction of the selling price.
Others charge hundreds, or even thousands. So when I came across the offers made by Publishers Weekly, a highly respected marketer and reviewer of new books, I was interested, as the prices of the various options seemed reasonable.
First, there is the Book Life Prize. This is an annual competition, where the entry fee is $99 (occasionally reduced to $79 as a special deal). Entry is easy, involving a download of the pdf file of your book, a jpeg of your cover, and the writing of a blurb and so forth. It is very like submitting your book to Kindle Direct Publishing. In return, you get a critique. It is not a review, being terse and formal, with various aspects of the book -- character development, plot development, and so on -- being graded out of ten. It can be very quotable, and you are allowed to quote it, as long as you give Book Life Prize as the source.
Worth it? Yes. Good value for money.
And then there is the Book Life section of Publisher Weekly. It is called PW Select.
According to what they say --