3 Web Tools for Free Promotion and Beta-Reading

Book PromotionAs an indie author, I am always on the lookout for ways to promote my books and make them better.  This week I found a few tools on the web that could potentially help me with this process.  As always, I thought I’d share:

  1. Wattpad – I had heard about this site a long time ago, but it was only this week that I decided to utilize the site to help me work through a couple of difficult chapters, namely my first three.  The first three chapters of any novel are the make-it-or-break-it chapters.  These are the chapters that will either cause your potential reader to run away or get engrossed, and I’m always hoping for the latter to occur.  What is it? – Wattpad is a site where authors can post a paragraph, a chapter, or even an entire novel and get feedback about that writing in a timely manner.  How can writers use it? – As an instant beta-reading tool, allowing potential readers to judge, comment and vote on your work.  I posted my material yesterday, and already have several comments that help me fine-tune the prose for a better read.  What are the benefits? – You can get feedback if you don’t have a writing group, but more importantly potential readers can be found and a fancies can be established when reader comments are used for revision notes.
  2. Promocave – You may have heard about it here first, folks, but – how would you like to promote your book to thousands of readers without spending a dime?  I would say that most if not all of you would.  This is a brand new site that allows you to promote your book without charging a fee, and is a real friend to the indie writer.  What is it?  From their website: “PromoCave.com is an online community where authors can market their work and readers can find great books and interact with their favorite writers.” How can writers use it? – The site is still in the beta phase (they are still writing code for it) but as far as I can tell you simply sign your book up on the site, upload the cover, choose a genre for your book, and they promote it to readers who sign up on the site to find new books to read.  What are the benefits? – Readers are just now finding this site and looking for new reading material.  The fact that readers can give feedback about novels that may need work so that the writer can then tweak their book to fit the problems discovered within are phenomenal.  It’s like having a critique group online, and the more your book is “liked” the more readers see it.
  3. Kindle Scout – This site has only been a part of Amazon’s playbook for a year, but it has already seen the elevation of the indie writer, giving indie writers more legitimacy.  Everyone and their dog is writing a book these days, but if the book is indeed good enough, it can break through and Amazon wants go reward these indie writers with a contract.  What is it? – Kindle Scout is an indie book promotion/publishing site that is simple to use.  Simply sign your book up on the site, then use social media to get people to go download and read your book for free.  If enough people like the book and vote for it on Kindle Scout, it could get on their main page where they list all of the books that are “trending” or are “hot”.  If it garners enough buzz, Kindle offers the writer a $1500 advance, a publishing contract with Kindle, and they will then promote your book on Amazon for free.  If you don’t make $25,000 in royalties in 5 years, you have the option to remove your book from Kindle Scout.  You get 50% royalties in the contract.  How can writers use this?  – You can use it to promote your book and use Amazon’s clout to get your book in front of a lot of people…IF is goes viral.  Don’t promote a book that hasn’t been scrutinized by an editor.  What are the benefits? – This may be a way to get your book in front of a lot of people who are not on your social media feeds.  Once your social network boosts the book, and perhaps if it lands on Amazon’s main page, it might get the contract offer after their “team” deems it good enough.  Free advertising is a pretty big benefit, but the caveat here is that Amazon’s contract is not as good as simply publishing to Amazon (70% royalties are better than 50%) but the trade-off is promotion.  Victoria Strauss has listed the pros and cons of using this, as Amazon’s contract has been criticized as a little draconian.

So there you have it.  Three web tools for free promotion and beta reading.  Have any of you had any experience with these websites?  Post below if you have and give us some more insight.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

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