I've received lots of yummy books in the mail of late. I love getting books by my favorite authors delivered to my door. I also get unsolicited requests to review books. That's ok, too. I even say yes to some of them. Now this is a well-worn subject. It's going to continue to be bandied about because of the advent of print-on-demand technology.
What am I talking about? Self-publishing, of course. This is going to step on a lot of toes. Please don't misunderstand me. I wish all the best to writers who can make it work. Here's the problem from a reviewers standpoint. When a reviewer starts accepting self-published books, his or her TBR (to be read) pile starts looking like a slush pile.
I think the only way forward for self-published works that are good is for there to be some other form of vetting. Granted, the ivory towers of the top publishers may not always be the best authority of what is good or what readers will like. But it's better than just the author deciding that for us. Anyone can publish a book, with or without talent, if they self-publish.
Now let's talk about reviewers. Personally, I'm not just a reviewer. I'm a writer. I like to review books because I get all these lovely books delivered to my door and it makes me read more -- which is good for my writing. I don't get paid for my reviews. I just get to keep the books. This is not just true of me. I don't know any reviewers who make their living just reviewing books.
I hate it when I get a book for review and don't like it. I don't like giving bad reviews. Most especially, because I'm a writer, too. I'd rather just give it a pass than give it a bad review. My editor at Mostly Fiction, bless her big heart, feels the same.
I wish there was a better way. Are there reviewers out there that are paid to read self-published works all day in the hopes of finding a gem? Or could there be another way of vetting these works? Freelance editors, perhaps? But then, how do we know the freelance editor isn't sayin' it's good stuff because it's their third cousin's book and they owed their uncle a favor?
I have so many books to read. I'll never run out. I like what I do. I don't want a slush pile, especially since I'm not getting paid for reviewing these books. And this isn't my main gig. I'm first and foremost, a writer myself. I want to be a best-selling author, or at least be read by enough people that I can make a difference, make people laugh, make them stay up all night reading.
But I do wish authors who choose this route all the best. Really, I do.
vote it up!