by Ricardo Fayet, Chief Marketing Officer at Reedsy
Ever since we started Reedsy, we’ve been hearing time and again from authors that discoverability was their #1 challenge. And while it is easier than ever to publish a (quality) book and make it available to millions of readers worldwide… it’s also harder than ever to capture readers’ attention long enough for them to, well, buy the book.
The issue with discoverability is that it’s a two-factor equation: authors certainly find it difficult to make their books “discoverable”. But are readers really struggling to discover good new books as well? The answer to that question is a lot less certain.
What is certain, however, is that some of the platforms favored by readers to discover and discuss books have aged almost beyond repair. And all of that has led us at Reedsy to build Reedsy Discovery.
A human curation element
In a world more and more governed by algorithms (i.e. fancy formulas), it’s easy to lose sight of the “human element”. And yet this human element is what most of us humans still trust more than anything else when we’re looking for book recommendations.
Are you more likely to pick up a book that a friend recommended to you, or a book from an automated email recommendation? Would you put more trust in the review of an established blogger you follow, or that of a random customer?
At the heart of Reedsy Discovery lies this crucial element of human curation. We don’t recommend random books to readers. We don’t recommend limited-time deals either. We recommend exciting works of fiction and non-fiction that have been carefully curated by our pool of reviewers.
In other words: we have actual human beings — known for their skill as book reviewers — scouting and recommending their favorite books, before they’re even released!
Submitting your book to Reedsy Discovery
“That’s great, but can you tell me how it works for the author exactly?”
Certainly. As an author you pay a one-time $50 fee to submit your book to Reedsy Discovery. Your book has to be a new (or upcoming) release, as Reedsy Discovery focuses on frontlist titles.
You enter all of your book’s metadata, upload an ARC copy for the reviewers, paste in your first chapter (which we’ll use for the “book preview”), and decide on a “Discovery launch date”. Now, this date can be your actual launch date, a bit before (to boost pre-order sales), or a bit after. We only require that you allow at least 28 days between your submission and your launch date, so our reviewers have time to, you know, read the book.
When submitted, your book is made available to our pool of reviewers. Only one reviewer can pick up the ARC at a time, and they must commit to reviewing it before your launch date. Once your book is reviewed, it is removed from the review pool.
On launch day, the book goes live on our “Discover” feed, along with its review. There, it can be discovered by our reader community, and receive upvotes and comments. That’s the perfect time to invite your existing readership to boost its visibility by upvoting it, as a selection of the most upvoted books every week is featured in our weekly newsletter.
An element of risk
What I generally like to highlight about Reedsy Discovery is that there’s a risky element to it. Your book might not receive a review, if it fails to pique the interest of our reviewers. It might also receive a negative review. In such cases, it will still launch on Discovery — but only in the “Recent” tab of the Discover feed, which is hidden behind the “Popular” tab.
That said, not all is lost: we often move books from “Recent” to “Popular” if they gather enough reviews or social signals (e.g. comments), and some have even made it to our newsletter. Still, books that don’t get a review (or get a negative one), will generally get a lot less exposure than books receiving a positive one.
At this date, Reedsy Discovery has already established a strong community of over 350 approved reviewers, and tens of thousands of readers. We have featured hundreds of books on our Discover feed, and already helped uncover some amazing works.
But we want Discovery to grow well beyond a “review site” and become a platform for readers to engage with new books, and interact with authors, reviewers, and other readers. We’re working on some cool social features; for example, readers are already able to “follow” authors and reviewers they like, which allows them to start building a following on Reedsy Discovery.
Next, we’ll add ways for these authors and reviewers to interact with their followers, and let them know about new releases, new reviews, special promos, etc.
Of course, it’s still early days for Reedsy Discovery. We hope our initial success will encourage you to help us grow it even further by submitting your books.
What kind of exposure can I expect if I get a good review on Discovery?
We have hundreds of thousands of readers who visit our blog and Discover feed every month. Each article on our blog also features relevant books from the Discover feed in the sidebar. Here’s an example from our post on cozy mysteries:
Are reviews posted just on Reedsy Discovery, or on retailers and Goodreads as well?
Reviews are first posted on Reedsy Discovery. The reviewer may then cross-post to their own blog, Goodreads, or any retailer, at their sole discretion.
In any case, you are welcome to use or quote the review in your product description and on your website, as long as you credit Reedsy Discovery.
What’s in it for your reviewers?
They get access to exciting fresh content from indie authors, before anyone else, for free. They can also receive tips from readers for their reviews.
Can I get a refund if I don’t get a review?
No, you can only get a refund if you cancel your submission before any reviewer has picked up your book — and before your book’s launch on Discovery — or if the review you receive does not meet our reviewer guidelines.
That’s what the comments below are for! Alternatively, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ricardo Fayet is one of the founders of Reedsy, a curated marketplace to find the right editors, designers, marketers or website designers for your books. He’s also a private Facebook/BookBub/Amazon ads consultant for some authors, and is behind the launch of Reedsy’s latest initiative: Reedsy Discovery.