Swoon Reads Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This week’s Freelance Publication Review is Swoon Reads.

Swoon Reads is an online crowd-sourcing site for unpublished writers hoping to get their novels published. Inspired by shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice, Swoon Reads works on a sort of reader’s voting system. Readers vote on the books they enjoy and Swoon Reads awards publishing contracts to the books with the most votes each season via Macmillan Publishers.

But if you’re anything like me, you guard your writing with your life. So I did some digging and here’s the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY about Swoon Reads:

What do they publish?

For now, it seems it is only young adult and new adult novels.

What does it cost?

Free to join. Free to read. Free to submit.

Can I put my Amazon self-published novel on Swoon Reads?

Swoon Reads asks that all material be unpublished, unless it is currently online without sourcing income. i.e. your book can double-dip on Wattpad and Swoon Reads, but not on Amazon or any other online seller.

The Good

  • Great for YA or NA novelists trying to break into the field
  • Chance of getting your story read
  • A possible Publishing Contract
  • Free to submit
  • Connect with other writers and better your craft
  • Fewer members than other publishing sites, so your chances of getting noticed are higher
  • Sometimes it’s good to get in on something before it really takes off
  • If readers like your book, they have the ability to share it via their social networks which means free publicity for you!

The Bad

  • The site hasn’t gained in popularity the same as Wattpad. Fewer members also means fewer readers
  • Unable to make actual money on your novel while listed on Swoon Reads, so you are banking on a publishing deal
  • Not really an option for writers in other genres
  • With Swoon Reads critique section, reviews may damage a newby writer’s delicate skin

The Ugly

  • When the company first opened, there was a lot of buzz about it. But most google searches now don’t lead to any current hype. This could be for a number of reasons, but if you’ve spent years on your novel, it’s possible Swoon Reads may be a dead end.
  • Getting that publishing deal may still lead to less money than self-publishing, as traditional publisher’s royalty rates for authors is quite low.

Is it worth it?

It’s hard to say. To date, Swoon Reads has awarded traditional publishing contracts to over 45 books and counting, showing they follow through on their promises. There are still quite a bit of manuscripts waiting to be read on the site. Want an honest review from a real life Swoony? Check out this review from 2015. To check out the current 2017 novels in the running for a publishing contract, go here.

The Bottom Line

With self-publishing on the rise, there are many options for today’s writers. If you have a highly-polished novel, I’d recommend trying Amazon’s KDP. That way you can earn a little cash while working on future projects. If you’re just starting out as a writer, but you’ve written a novel and want instant feedback before dumping anymore time into it, then Swoon Reads might be the way to go. At the very least you’ll get constructive criticism on how to make your story better and maybe a few fans along the way. At the most, you just may hit it big with a publishing contract. Either way, you’ll be writing. Which is why you got into this in the first place.

Still not sure if Swoon Reads is right for you, check out the Swoon Reads FAQ page. And let me know if you try it! I’d love to feature a follow-up with your very own Swoony experience.

Check back next week for my Freelance Publication Review of Wattpad!

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