Roxie Faulkner Kirk not only achieved the goal of completing her debut novel, Red Dirt Hymnbook, in 2019, she also took on an equally challenging endeavor: publishing it. As she entered the world of indie publishing, one thing became clear: she needed reviews to sell her book. So she turned to Reedsy Discovery, and in this post, shares why she’s happy she did.

We’ll let Roxie take it from here...

Red Dirt Hymnbook is my debut novel, and it grew from a short story that was written in answer to a challenge. My cousin, a published poet and author, called me out on the inability to truly commit to my dream of becoming a published author. “Are you a writer or not? Either write something or give up on the dream. Decide.” That ended up being the best challenge I’ve ever received, and ultimately resulted in me publishing Red Dirt Hymnbook.

I knew I needed reviews for a successful launch

Writing a book is no easy feat. But publishing one isn’t a straightforward walk in the park, either! When it came time to launch Red Dirt Hymnbook, I was clueless about where to start. I did know, however, that I needed to gather some pre-launch blurbs. 

I looked into some of the more well-known review services, such as Kirkus Reviews and Indie Reader, but they cost way more than I could justify with my completely unknown name, no-backlist, no-credentials, first book.

So I turned to Reedsy Discovery

It was during this search for book review services when I stumbled across Reedsy Discovery. I had seen the Reedsy name pop up (favorably!) with authors in conjunction with many other Reedsy services. I knew that signing up for Reedsy Discovery didn’t guarantee you a review, but the positive things I’d heard about them eventually convinced me that signing up was a good risk. Happily, I was right.

Right away, I was delighted with the professional-looking landing page that I received through Reedsy Discovery. Especially in light of the fact that my website was in a state of experimenting and changing. My landing page has become a valuable resource to direct potential readers to.

And then, of course, there’s the main event: the promise of a book review. And luckily, I managed to secure a positive one via Reedsy Discovery! Book reviewer Nicole Dieker gave Red Dirt Hymnbook a very thorough, professional, and generous review. I couldn’t be happier. 

I have already put my review to good use, displaying it on my Amazon page and adding it to any awards applications or book descriptions elsewhere. Does “Reedsy Discovery” carry the same immediate recognition or prestige as Kirkus Reviews? Maybe not. But it sure as heck is miles better than an empty “Editorial Reviews” section. It still encourages reader trust — and costs a fraction of the price!

It’s a self-publishing “risk” I’m so happy I took

For a brand-new author like me, starting with zero momentum, a professional review gives credibility.

I write upmarket fiction. I don’t publish fast, or launch multiple titles a year, so I have to maximize every book I do get out. I hope to have a second book out in late 2020, but that feels like years away in the indie-pub world. So for every book I launch, I need all the splash I can get. I absolutely plan to turn to Reedsy Discovery again for my next book, so that I can use the review as a cover blurb on the print copies.

Book reviews are good for readers, and maybe even better for writers. If we want to be taken seriously, we’ve gotta get out there and get our noses bloodied a little. The only way to get perfect reviews is to be the one and only reader of your own writing. 

It’s possible that part of the reason I’m so enthusiastic about Reedsy Discovery is that I got such a nice review for my debut. There are no guarantees. My next one may not receive such positive feedback. However, the fact that not every review on the site was positive made me feel more confident about Reedsy Discovery’s credibility. And even so-so or worse reviews are useful. If I want an ego-petting, I can go to a vanity press and pay a lot more money. If I want to be a professional, I have to accept some risk, and $50 is a risk I can live with. I’ll count myself as a cheerleader for Reedsy Discovery.

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Buy The Red Dirt Hymnbook here, and learn more about Reedsy Discovery here.

Reviewed by Nicole Dieker

Book Reviewer on Reedsy Dicscovery