Friday, September 21, 2018

Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher 
Step Three: Seek Industry Approval

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

One thing those pesky traditional publishers have that I have always wanted is editorial reviews. But where? How? Kirkus charges indies over $5oo and Romantic Times just closed!

I strongly encourage you to Google the heck out of options, hunting for all of the review sites you can. While hunting for your future reviewers, you can also hunt for contests!

I’ve recently learned about The BookLife Prize. BookLife is the indie arm of Publishers Weekly. They have quite an assortment of “stuff” for indies to take advantage of, but my personal favorite is their contest. It costs around $1oo to enter, and gives you feedback pretty quickly—feedback you are allowed to use as editorial reviews!

The book I entered received a mediocre score, but even so, I received some very positive feedback that I was able to use for marketing. Example: “
Plot:Hilton's novel is well plotted and fast paced. The story will keep readers guessing until the end.” For a book with a mediocre score in the contest, that’s still a great clip for helping sell a mystery!

Of course, BookLife is far from the only contest. Blue Ridge has the Selah’s, my local conference has the Cascades, Mystery Writers of America have the Edgar awards, and on and on. Search out the contests that best suit your work and give it a go! If you win, that’s an incredible boost to your professional polish, but even if you don’t, you will have received feedback that will improve your future work, and depending on the rules of the contest, you may get to use some of the feedback as editorial reviews—just make sure you are allowed to before you do any copy and pasting!

But wait—why do I want editorial reviews so bad?

Editorials reviews fill out the Amazon page for your book, give potential readers unbiased opinions of your work, and look great on the back cover of your paperback. In essence, they spruce the place up a bit and make your book like it has a publisher backing it. Which it does. You.

What really sets a book apart as professional to you—or as unprofessional

Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher 
Step Three: Seek Industry Approval - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Even #IndieAuthors see a boost with industry approval - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at


  1. Hmmm. I hadn't thought of how to get theses. Thanks.

    1. You're welcome! These can also make a difference when booking ads. :D

  2. Wish I weren't so late to the party. I've had a growing interest in the contest concept lately and wondered how to find them.