Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gav Reads - or Why He Won't

This post on the Gav Reads blog offers a reviewer's perspective on self-published material.

It's by no means an author-bashing piece, but it does lay out six strong reasons for reviewers to be circumspect in their dealings with novels that are offered to them without mediation or provenance.
Authors can be deluded. Self-published authors doubly so. Not only have you compiled your opus without being consciously aware that what you’ve written needs to be redrafted or thrown away as it’s obvious that you’ve not yet mastered the craft of storytelling to an engaging degree. But you’ve got an ego that makes you think that someone else will not see your flaws. The reverse in fact, that we will see your genius and wonder why you haven’t gotten a six-figure publishing deal...

...Now I know this is full of sweeping generalisations and I’m sure there are exceptions to every point raised but if self-publisher writers want to be ‘taken seriously’ by those that have ‘respected opinions’ they are going to keep coming up against the default opinion that the quality of their work isn’t going to be as good as those books that have been through agents, editors, publishing committees, copy editors, book buyers for retailers – most of whom they have needed to get past in order to get published.
It's followed by a lengthy and mostly intelligent debate in the comments section, including this from fellow online reviewer Djibril:
I’m intensely interested in how we’re going to develop filtering and validation mechanisms outside of the world of commercial publishers and professional review venues. It’s a bit chicken and egg: until we do, it’ll be very hard to find the good self-published stuff out there–but until the good self-pubbed stuff can be found and gets a reputation, the incentive to build up such a mechanism isn’t very strong.
Christopher Shevlin says:
Everyone seems to agree that there should be a way to filter self-published stuff. Some people look to reviewers to do that job, but reviewers themselves need to be able to sort the angry, deluded, typo-filled books from the ones they might like.
And this from Deb Kinnard:
I hope you who won’t read self-published are being careful about titles that are published this way after putting out multiple commercially published books. Sometimes there is just no market for a story that’s of equal quality with anything that author has previously sold. Sometimes it’s just the wrong tale at the wrong time, or that publisher has had six different novels release in the past year with exactly that same theme (!) or another such deal-breaker.
It's all here.

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