Tag Archives: cream rises to the top

Derogatory Self-Publishing Thoughts


Okay, so that’s a heck of an incendiary headline up there. I did that on purpose; I want you guys to be reading what I have to say.

You know I work for The World’s Toughest Book Critics. I am a paid reviewer for them, and they assign me to read indie books, or self-published books, or whatever term you want to use for books NOT put out by an organized business such as Harper Collins, Penguin, and the like. Not even books from places like Coffee House Press or The Mysterious Press. You know: us people who are riding the wave of the Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad.

The books submitted to The World’s Toughest Book Critics that find their way to me are submitted along with money from the author to the reviewing source.

We can argue the value of a paid review until the cows come home. But I’d like to point something out: the big publishers have the finances to help fund these book review sources via advertising. We indies usually don’t have a couple hundred — or more — to throw into an ad that may or may not sell books. (Better to give that kind of money to a good editor or…)

The review sites need to find a way to replace the lost revenue, after all. And so, the paid review was born. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, or so the thinking goes. The site or publication (or, in today’s world, both) doesn’t take a hit in their revenue stream. The author hopefully gets to brag about their really good review from The World’s Toughest Book Critics, or the World’s Oldest Review Publication, or The Librarian’s Favorite Review Source.

Notice what I said there, about the author? HOPEFULLY.

That’s because of the 20 or so books I’ve read for TWTBC, I’ve been lukewarm, at best, about three of them. The most recent book WOULD have been fantastic if it had been copy edited by someone with a clue and an eye for more than their bank account. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, lady, who thinks it’s fine to add an apostrophe s to a plural in one line, but not when the same word, still a plural, appears on the next.)

Now, take a step back and pretend you’re a famous author of the best-selling variety, and some journalist has called you up and asked for a quote about the self-publishing phenomenon overtaking the world. And you go to those review sites and look a few over before answering and … all you see is negativity. Why on earth would you NOT say you think all that’s coming out is garbage? Those reviews you just read… they didn’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies.

I’m not advocating that us reviewers change our policies and stop telling the truth. Not at all.

You guys know where I’m going… I’m issuing a challenge to us writers. Improve our craft. Expand our storytelling. Find the right editors to work with. Don’t be in such a rush to get something on the market that you become one of those authors who gets an e-mail from a book blogger, saying, “I’d have loved to have read this like I said I was going to, but the typos are so bad, I can’t.” — and then the author says, “I know, but I wanted to get this on the market and start making money.”

Up your game, folks, and there won’t be a reason for anyone to put us down anymore.