Saturday Book Review: “Pluto the Starfish: An Undersea Tale for Children 1 to 101”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of the Midwest Book Review:

pluto the starfish

Pluto The Starfish: An Undersea Tale for Children 1 to 101

by Bonnie M. Anderson
Illustrated by Malinda Raines

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478730408

Synopsis:

It’s a beautiful day in the crystal blue waters surrounding Buck Island. This magical undersea world, with its glittering rainbow of colors and fine, sparkling sand, is home to Pluto the Starfish…but Pluto is feeling sad and confused. Many of his friends can swim gracefully and swiftly. Some can even breathe air and move about on land, and others are large and fierce-looking. But Pluto can’t even swim! It took him all day to move two feet in the sand near the coral reef. He believes he’s not even good enough to be considered dinner! Pluto wonders why he is so different.

Why can’t he do more things like most of the other underwater creatures? What is his purpose?

Luckily, Pluto has good friends-like Lewis the Lobster, Lolita the Latina Leatherback Turtle and Nancy the Nurse Shark-who teach him that everyone is important and wonderfully different. Pluto the Starfish is a charming, delightfully illustrated book that not only helps children discuss their feelings and fears but it also teaches respect and care for the spectacular and varied inhabitants of our waters. A must-read for children of all ages.

Critique:

Pluto the Starfish: An Undersea Tale for Children 1 to 101 is a delightful children’s ocean allegory that stars special marine creatures in a search for life’s purpose and meaning. Pluto the Starfish is sad because he has no idea of his purpose in life. He is comforted by many different marine characters, including Lewis the Lobster, Nancy the Nurse Shark, Lolita the Latina Leatherback Turtle, Harriet the Humpback Whale, Konky the Conch, and even a human diver. Answering Pluto’s fear and sadness, Lewis the Lobster tells him: “You are the star of the ocean…You don’t have to swim… or be fast… or be furious…. or even be big. You are our star and you are humble, beautiful and kind. You are a good friend, too. That is your role and we respect and love you.” Pluto the Starfish is an entertaining and imaginative marine fantasy that encourages outside the box thinking while educating about many fascinating facts of marine biology. The expressive illustrations provide living, vivid background to every page of white text.

reviewed on the Fantasy/SciFi Shelf of MBR ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Like all truly universal tales, chances are anyone who reads “Pluto the Starfish” will see aspects of themselves in the little guy who feels he doesn’t quite measure up to his underwater friends. But thanks to their kindness and wisdom, Pluto learns that everyone has something to contribute and that “we’re all here for a purpose.”
Apart from teaching little ones about our neighbors who live under the sea, Pluto also imparts lessons about why we must all look out for one another through charming characters, a touching story and illustrations so vivid they jump off the page.

– Amazon Reviewer Gail O’Neill

This is a great tale to encourage children and to show that while everyone has unique qualities and talents, everybody is important and of value. Personally, I found this story oozing with morale, but then this is my personal impression from the POV of an adult which is not the target group and therefore shouldn’t affect the rating of this book too much.

My son really loves the story of little Pluto and his friends, which shows that its simplicity combined with the beautiful pictures meet a child’s perception perfectly. He had a lot of questions regarding the different sea animals and their characteristics as well as each animal’s talent and worth. We had to interrupt reading several times to discuss the story’s details and the book kept us thinking for a long time. His detailed and lasting interest in this charming adventure show that Pluto the Starfish is a fascinating book sure to attract and inspire children.

– Goodreads Reviewer Elke

Book Trailer:


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Paid Review Services, Are They Worth It?

Books reviews are very important in the publishing industry, especially for new and self-published authors. Book reviews help authors promote their work and increase their credibility. In the highly competitive publishing industry, the success of your book depends on positive reviews.

A book published by an unknown author has little chance of gaining attention, while the same book (and the same “unknown” author) with a number of positive reviews can begin to gain momentum.  Those positive reviews can help persuade potential new readers to buy the book and the word-of-mouth continues.

So how do you get reviews?

You can start with friends and colleagues. Just be sure to encourage them to be honest in their reviews. Readers won’t be convinced to read your book just because your mom thinks you are amazing.

Next, there are some free review services where you can send a copy of your book.  These services are a great resource; however, because they are free, the reviewers get inundated with books and can’t review every book they receive.  Their services can also take several months and the reviews are not guaranteed to be good.

In addition to free review services, there are some services available where you can pay to be guaranteed a review.  That said, the review is still not guaranteed to be good, but if you are confident in your book (which you should be, after all you wrote and published it!), you shouldn’t need to worry about that.

Here are three pay-for-review services you can start with:

BLUE INK REVIEW

Standard Review is $395 for the review to be completed in 7-9 weeks.

Fast Track Review is $495 for the review to be completed in 4-5 weeks.

BlueInk considers for review any book that has been published (self-published and indie published).  They review e-books, on-demand books, printed books in any format, English translations and English-language submissions from outside the United States, as well as galleys. They do not review manuscripts pre-publication.

FOREWORD CLARION REVIEW

The cost is $305 and turnaround time is 6-8 weeks.

Open to all books and publishers, Clarion promises an objective 400 – 500 word review/critique with a quick six to eight week turnaround. The review will be posted on the ForeWord website (if the publisher desires), licensed to the three top wholesale databases, and made available to the book’s publisher. This service is ideal for books that haven’t received review attention elsewhere.

KIRKUS INDIE REVIEW

Standard review is completed in 7-9 weeks for $425.

Express review is completed in 3-4 weeks for $575.

The Kirkus Indie program gives independent authors a chance to obtain an unbiased, professional review of their work, written in the same format as a traditional Kirkus review. A book review can be an essential and powerful tool for promoting your book to literary agents, traditional publishing houses, booksellers, and, most importantly, potential readers.

I’d love to know, have you used a paid review service? How was the experience?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Should You Pay for a Book Review?

As an author in the self-publishing industry, reviews for your book are very important.  A book published by an unknown author has little chance of gaining attention, while the same book (and the same “unknown” author) with a number of positive reviews can begin to gain momentum.  Those positive reviews can help persuade potential new readers to buy the book and the word-of-mouth continues.

You may have already received reviews from some of your friends or colleagues, so what next?  There are some free review services where you can send a copy of your book.  These services are a great resource; however, because they are free, the reviewers get inundated with books and can’t review every book they receive.  Their services can also take several months and the reviews are not guaranteed to be good.

In addition to free review services, there are some services available where you can pay to be guaranteed a review.  That said, the review is still not guaranteed to be good, but if you are confident in your book (which you should be, after all you wrote and published it!), you shouldn’t need to worry about that.

Here are three pay-for-review services you can start with:

BLUE INK REVIEW

Standard Review is $395 for the review to be completed in 7-9 weeks.

Fast Track Review is $495 for the review to be completed in 4-5 weeks.

BlueInk considers for review any book that has been published (self-published and indie published).  They review e-books, on-demand books, printed books in any format, English translations and English-language submissions from outside the United States, as well as galleys. They do not review manuscripts pre-publication.

FOREWORD CLARION REVIEW

The cost is $305 and turnaround time is 6-8 weeks.

Open to all books and publishers, Clarion promises an objective 400 – 500 word review/critique with a quick six to eight week turnaround. The review will be posted on the ForeWord website (if the publisher desires), licensed to the three top wholesale databases, and made available to the book’s publisher. This service is ideal for books that haven’t received review attention elsewhere.

KIRKUS INDIE REVIEW

Standard review is completed in 7-9 weeks for $425.

Express review is completed in 3-4 weeks for $575.

The Kirkus Indie program gives independent authors a chance to obtain an unbiased, professional review of their work, written in the same format as a traditional Kirkus review. A book review can be an essential and powerful tool for promoting your book to literary agents, traditional publishing houses, booksellers, and, most importantly, potential readers.

DISCUSSION: What are your thoughts on pay-for-review services like these?  Do you have experience with any of the above?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT:
Kelly Schuknecht works as the Director of Author Support for Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.