Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Reedsy has a lot of services and tools to help you publish a book, but is Discovery something you should consider? After all, exposure and marketing are ultra-vital to self-publishing. Can Reedsy Discovery help with that exposure?
It’ll cost you $50 per book submission to find out.
What is Reedsy Discovery?
Reedsy Discovery touts itself as being a way to help get indie, self-published books in front of more readers while providing a professional review of the manuscript.
Users are able to read the first chapter of your book and then vote on whether it’s good or not. Then, your book is provided with a small landing page where others can read the reviews or buy your book.
Overall, it’s a platform that attempts to get your manuscript in front of as many people as possible by targeting readers who signed up that are interested in the genre.
Then, you can take the landing page of your book from Reedsy Discovery and share it across various networks and social sites. Not only does it have the professional review front and center, but the “buy” button is predominantly at the top of the page.
For those who don’t have their own blogs or websites, this could be quite beneficial in the long run.
As a Discovery Reader
Reedsy Discovery isn’t merely for authors. As a reader, you can apply to become a reviewer on the platform. This gives you access to books before they’re published while earning cash rewards.
However, the earning potential is more akin to tipping platforms such as Buy Me a Coffee, Ko-fi, or Patreon. This means an individual needs to like or appreciate your work to give you a cash reward.
In other words, there is no absolute guarantee you’ll make money.
Something else to consider is how authors can directly request you to review their books. This could help increase the odds of getting a tip from the author, but it’s not a guarantee.
Perhaps the three biggest benefits of becoming a reviewer on Reedsy Discovery are:
- Getting books before they’re released.
- Building a brand as a professional reviewer.
- Possibly making a few bucks from the tips.
How Reedsy Discovery Helps Publish Your Book
Marketing your book as a self-published author is nearly a full-time job. Because if no one knows your book exists, no one is going to read it.
Platforms like Reedsy Discovery can help shine a bit of light onto your book. But you’ll still need to do your part to get the word out.
Search phrases and keywords will only get you so far. So, how can Discovery help?
Professional Book Reviews…Maybe
First, after signing up and submitting your manuscript, the book is put into a list of over 2,000 book reviewers to read. If your book is chosen, the reviewer will provide a nice breakdown of the book and whether it’s a good story or not.
Then, it’s put into the Discovery feed where anyone can pick up the first chapter and give it a read. At that point, the reader can also provide reviews.
However, there is no guarantee that a professional reader will pick up your book. They have a month to do so, and if they haven’t, you can re-submit the manuscript up to three times at no extra cost.
At this point, you’re relying purely on the reviews of Reedsy’s readers.
It is possible to send your manuscript directly to a specific reviewer. Then, he or she has up to 48 hours to accept the request, or the book returns to the open review pool.
One thing that does pop a red flag for me is the extreme similarities between reviews from those who read the first chapter. A few are so closely related that it seems that either they were made by the same person or generated through AI.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I’m not sure if I trust the reviews from the open pool.
As with any kind of writing, you better have a thick skin. Paying $50 for a review doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to like the results.
You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time. So, never assume everyone is going to love your book.
Best Books Are Featured in the Newsletter
The books that have the best reviews and most up-votes are placed in the weekly newsletter from Reedsy Discovery. This further expands to finding your target audience and potentially gaining a few new readers.
Unfortunately, this is also not a guarantee. Your book has to be deemed as “the best” before consideration.
This is one of the issues I have with single-review platforms and agents. Instead of trying to please your target audience, you have to please a single individual.
For instance, there are a lot of books and movies that I love that single reviewers hated.
Some of this can be offset by the number of upvotes from avid readers, though. So, you’re technically not at the mercy of a single reviewer who hated your book.
Success also relies heavily on the user base of Reedsy Discovery. If there aren’t a lot of readers willing to give the first chapter a go, you’re not going to get a lot of reviews or comments.
And from what I’ve seen thus far on the platform, it doesn’t seem like it’s an overly popular place for readers, in general.
Keep in mind, though, that this is just me looking in. I haven’t submitted my own book yet, but I plan on giving it a go once I have the final draft ready to publish.
Viewable from Discover Feed
The Discover feed is where you’ll find all the books submitted to Reedsy. This page defaults to the Popular list, in which you’re book needs to meet certain criteria to become listed.
However, you’ll still show in the “Recent” section regardless if people like your book or not. This means it’s still searchable by those looking for specific genres, authors, or storylines.
Though, after spending a few minutes in the “Recent” feed, it feels more like a black hole of poorly written novels, those with terrible reviews, or filled with what Reedsy deemed as “Explicit and Sensitive” materials.
However, after reading those explicit warnings, I really didn’t see anything that would be triggering. So, I’m not sure exactly how Reedsy Discovery determines “sensitive” content.
If you’re a horror or dark fantasy author, good luck getting out of the black hole.
The Book’s Landing Page
Perhaps the most important element of Reedsy Discovery is the book’s landing page. With your $50, you’ll get something that you can easily promote in a variety of ways.
As I pointed out earlier, this is useful for those who don’t have a website.
These landing pages look well-designed and provide the important details of the book. This includes the professional review, reader reviews, links to buy the book, ratings, and even an author bio.
So, what would you do with the landing page? Well, you can copy the URL and share it on social media, link it in your email signature, or otherwise share it any other way you’d use a website link.
For example, you can share the “Reader reviews” page on Twitter. This could prompt sales if you have a lot of those types of reviews.
Of course, this also depends on whether you have your book available on platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or even Apple Books.
You’ll need to publish your book before the landing page would be of any use.
Shareable Author Page
Reedsy Discovery provides a shareable author page that highlights any books you submit, your social links, bio, and other important elements you want readers to know.
It has a bit of a social element to it as you’re able to write updates for anyone following your account. Plus, it gives you a chance to showcase your work, links, Goodreads reading lists, and any reviews you have written for other authors.
Although the “Books” will read “0” on your profile after submitting it to Discovery, you can still see it yourself. It just won’t be available to the general public immediately. I’ll explain a bit about that in my experiences below.
Regardless, it’s somewhat nice to have a landing page as an author, especially if you don’t have a blog or any other hub that displays your books.
Why Are Book Reviews So Important?
Reviews play a pivotal role in online society. They help us determine if a product or service is worth the time and money. In fact, 90% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, according to Trustpilot.
Recently, I even came across a reader on Twitter who admitted to not buying a book on Amazon if it doesn’t have a lot of reviews.
This is one of the primary reasons why authors, especially self-published authors, ask incessantly for reviews from their audience.
Now, you can spend money to buy reviews. However, you’ll need to be careful about doing such. Some scams out there will bombard your book with fake reviews, which goes against the guidelines of most publishing platforms.
For many of us, it’s an uphill battle as many people simply don’t want to take the time to write something up.
My Experiences Using Reedsy Discovery
Easy to Use Discovery
Reedsy Discovery uses EPUB and PDF formats for submitting your manuscript. Since I used Reedsy to publish my latest book, Kingmaker, it was a quick and easy process to send them the file.
One thing that would make it more convenient for writers who use the Reedsy book editor is to connect the manuscript to Discovery. Perhaps an option to click or tap that transfers the data from the book editor to the Discovery service?
In any event, it was an easy process.
5 Week Availability
When submitting the book, the soonest it will be available on Reedsy Discovery is five weeks from the submission date. Personally, I find that a bit troublesome.
I guess it’s all about playing the long game, but if I am handing over $50 that I don’t necessarily have on a platform that isn’t guaranteed, it would have been nice to see it go up almost immediately.
I’m assuming that this would work great for those who want a review prior to actually publishing the book. You’d want to give the reviewer enough time to read the manuscript and provide a review.
Uploading the First Chapter
This isn’t necessarily a pro or a con, but you have to copy and paste the first chapter of your book into Reedsy Discovery. At that point, I’m not entirely sure why they can’t simply extrapolate the first chapter from the EPUB or PDF file you upload.
In any case, it’s a simple process of copy and paste, so it’s not consuming – just more of an annoyance.
When copying your text, make sure you give it a once over before submitting, especially if you’re using the Reedsy writing app. Elements like the scene break don’t copy over very well and may give a “Deleted” text message of some sort.
Perhaps it would be a good rule of thumb to simply proofread anything you copy to any platform. You never know what formatting elements won’t copy over well.
Editing the Book Details
Once you submit your book, all of the details are stored in Discovery. To make any changes before the book goes live, you’ll need to use the “Edit submission” button on the Submission page.
Here, you can make any necessary changes, such as adding links to your book on various platforms.
Personally, I think this option would be easier to access if it was attached to the Book page from the author’s viewpoint. Perhaps that is an available function once the book goes live.
Making changes to your submission is relatively straightforward to manage. So, if you make a mistake or need to change something, it takes maybe a minute or two.
Book Landing Page Created
Once my payment was processed, the landing page of Kingmaker was created almost immediately. Although it won’t appear in the Discovery system until its “launch” date, anyone with the URL can still see the layout.
I’m not sure how I feel about the “Sensitive content” warning. But I suppose that’s what happens when you write horror and are a bit on the graphic side of things.
Any takers on how many reviews I get when this goes live?
I plan on sharing the link on social and through other means. However, I often prefer using the actual Amazon link to the book in most cases. Still, I’d like to see how much of an impact this landing page will have on follows, sales, and reviews.
3-Day Reviewer Pickup
At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t get a reviewer. After all, I have that fancy “sensitive content” warning on the book. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone picked up the book after three business days.
I don’t know when the review will be made public, though. Will I be able to see it despite the book not technically being live on Reedsy Discovery? Or, will it show up in my view as the author beforehand?
I suppose we’ll have to see. I’m quite excited to see the results, though.
Should You Use Reedsy Discovery?
The obvious issue with using Reedsy Discovery is that the only guarantee you have is that your book will appear in the Discover feed and you’ll get a landing page. A reviewer may or may not pick up your manuscript.
For a lot of new authors, the landing page alone might be worth the $50 investment. They are easily sharable with links to buy your book, which means you can promote it virtually anywhere that you can add a web address.
Keep in mind that the Discovery site isn’t as popular as others when it comes to marketing. For example, far more people read works on Goodreads, Smashwords, and the like.
On the other hand, there are a few avid readers who don’t mind taking a moment or two to read the first chapter before possibly buying the book from Discovery.
In my opinion, it’s probably worth the $50, especially if you don’t have your own blog or website. As I said, you get a professional-looking landing page that highlights reviews of your book, should you receive any.
What Marketing Methods Do You Like Most?
A lack of proper marketing is where a lot of self-published authors fail. In reality, there are a lot of ways to market your book beyond searching Amazon.
Considering how Amazon is filling up with AI-generated books as of late, you’ll have to get somewhat creative to get your name out there. And the Reedsy Discovery platform has the potential to help.
Just remember that it’s still up to you to write a good manuscript and use that landing page to the best of your abilities. Reviews will only do so much, and you need to get the book in front of as many people as possible.
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