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How To Use Indie Book Evaluation Sites To Reach New Readers (Part 1 Of 2)

How to Use Indie Book Evaluation Sites to Reach New Readers (Part 1 of 2)

Indie book evaluation sites assure readers of the quality of self-published books, but how can indie authors get involved? Find out today from Jessica Bennett of Compulsion Reads. Come back next Saturday to hear from Tahlia Newland of Awesome Indies.

Compulsion Reads logo

Welcome, Jessica! Compulsion Reads is run by indie authors – would you like to mention their names?

Yes, Compulsion Reads was created by me, Jessica Bennett (writing under J Bennett), and Leslie Ramey, both self-published authors.

Jessica, why did you decide to set up an evaluation program for indie books?  

As self-published authors, Leslie and I found that marketing our books was really challenging, because there were just so many other books on the market. We looked for a company that provided a third-party quality endorsement of indie books. No one was doing it, so Leslie and I had this crazy idea that we could give it a shot. After a lot of planning, testing and building, Compulsion Reads was born.

How does it work for self-published authors? 

We accept self-published, indie-published and soon-to-be published works of fiction and creative non-fiction. Authors submit their novel through our website, and trained evaluators read the book (an initial assessment followed by a full read). If the book meets all of our quality standards, the evaluator will recommend the Compulsion Reads Endorsement. A quality control specialist will then do a spot check. We explain how our evaluation process works on our website and post our exact assessment standards. All authors receive their completed evaluation sheet with personal commentary. Endorsed authors receive our endorsement seal and a book review. Authors who do not earn our endorsement are allowed to edit their novels and resubmit to us once for free.

Cover of Becoming Human by Eliza Green showing Compulsion Reads' seal of approval

Click the image to read Compulsion Reads' endorsement of this book

Can you please supply a quote from an indie author whose work you've reviewed? 

“I submitted to Compulsion Reads and my work received plenty of ticks, and a few areas to work on. I found the critique really helped focus my mind on specific areas. I had one of those EUREKA!! moments, where the final pieces of the writing jigsaw started to make sense. I can’t think of a better way of kick starting any author’s discoverability with a Compulsion Reads endorsement!” Eliza Green, ALLi author member

Eliza resubmitted her revised novel, Becoming Human, and it earned our endorsement the second time around.

Does it cost indie authors anything to have their book considered? 

Yes, we charge a submission fee. The price depends on the length of the book and starts at $19.99. This fee allows us to compensate our evaluators, who give their time to read and comment on each submission, and to market our endorsed books to readers.

What are you currently doing to attract readers to your site? 

We have an ongoing online advertising campaign geared towards readers. We’ve also attended two large events this year primarily to support our authors. At the Los Angeles Festival of Books, we gave away over 1,000 goodie bags! Also, our book reviews have recently been syndicated by IDreamBooks.com, a site that seeks to become the “Rotten Tomatoes” of book reviews. We also believe that the Compulsion Reads Endorsement Seal is one of our best marketing tools.

What is different/unique/special about your service?

I believe that we are currently the only service that endorses books based on a set of clearly defined standards. We provide personalized feedback to all of our authors, including those who did not earn our endorsement. We also work really hard to promote our authors and increase awareness among readers about what our seal means. Lastly, Leslie and I try to bring a touch of whimsy to Compulsion Reads. This is a labor of love for both of us.

Thank you, Jessica. I'm sure our readers will be very interested to visit the Compulsion Reads website to find out more. 

(Don't forget to come back next week to read a similar interview with Tahlia Newland about the indie book evaluation site Awesome Indies.)

Author: Jessica Bennett

Compulsion Reads, created by Jessica Bennett and Leslie Ramey, seeks to spotlight quality indie books by endorsing those books that meet CR’s strict quality standards.


This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Respectfully have to comment that if you go on Amazon threads, readers scoff and laugh at sites who ask money for a review, no matter how well intentioned and serious the process is.

    Discussing with readers, there are some who actually reply they AVOID those indie books that sport a logo from sites that “sell” good reviews. It is certainly not your case, but perception is reality, and readers’ perception is what sells a book or not.

    And yes, they changed (the readers) their negative attitude and “ban those books and authors” when I showed that Awesome Indies (my book has the Gold Seal on its cover) does not ‘sell’ reviews, and I actually got a couple who took a chance on me and wrote their readers’ review for the novel.

    I would have been hissed and vilified if I had a seal or a banner of Compulsions Reads.

    My two cents

  2. Love this idea, Jessica! I had to sift through 35 good, bad, and ugly Amazon reviews to have that aha! moment about how to improve my book. Luckily, I only released it electronically and it’s part of a series, so I can go back before I go forward. I will definitely submit to Compulsion Reads when I prepare the print version!

  3. HI Jessica

    And I thought we were the only group doing this. It’s good to know that there are others. We’re a bit different in process, and don’t charge, but the end result, ie a quality assessment and a stamp of approval is the same.

    Good on you. I know how much work it is to run something like this, but it’s so necessary for both authors and readers.

    1. Hi Thalia,

      Yes, I couldn’t agree more. There are so many new indie books hitting the shelves every year it can be overwhelming for an author to try and stand out and overwhelming for readers to find new high quality authors. I don’t think systems for spotlighting great books have yet caught up to the huge sea change we’re seeing as more and more authors choose to self-publish or go the indie route. Keep doing what you’re doing!

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