So, a brief (and temporary) departure from my attempts to establish my own opinions on the whole ‘Self-Publishing Vs ‘Legitimate’ Publishing’, I decided to talk about reviews.
A little over a week ago now, I submitted Adjective Narcissism to Online Book Club, for a couple of reasons. Mostly, because they are honest, often intelligently written and tend to be uninfluenced by whether or not you choose a paying service or not, but also because it is virtually impossible to get anything reviewed if you are not willing to either pay for the pleasure, or get people you know to say that the book is incredible, whether or not it is.
Besides my general objections to having to pay for someone to review things, albeit with anything other than a free copy of what they are reviewing, and my desire to have honest reviews, not merely ones that may get a few more copies bought, I have had a few other issues with finding places which are willing to review my eBook. This is one issue which actually does link to one of the main problems with self-publishing.
A great deal of ‘indie’ reviewers, or bloggers who happen to review books, only appear to review genre-specific works. Which means, you guessed it, more dull romances and shitty fantasy work. Perhaps these reviewers focus on genre-specific work because that is what is being written, but I can’t help but wonder how many self-publishing writers are looking at the industry and saying to themselves that ‘only genre pieces get reviewed and sell the best… So I’d better write a genre-specific novel!’. If that is the case then it appears to be a vicious circle, in which the self-publishing industry has contained itself.
That is just depressing! I’ve said before how I thought the self-publishing world would be one of risk-taking and innovation instead of these same generic narratives being reproduced over and over again, but maybe the culture around the self-publishers is just as bad? I can’t help but feel that many reviewers are attempting to ‘ape’ the policies of bigger reviewing sites and publishing houses, by demanding that everything be done extremely professionally.
Well, if we do work in that way, then self-publishing is not an opportunity for people who might write something that relies heavily on new ideas, on ways of twisting the given standards of the ‘novel’ into an entirely new form of media but, instead, is simply a place for those who couldn’t get their work published anywhere else.
I never even attempted to get my novella published in more ‘legitimate’ means, because I hoped it would find a place to belong amongst all the other innovative literature in the self-publishing industry. Unfortunately for me, the industry I had envisioned simply doesn’t exist.
P.S. I haven’t got my review back yet, as it can take anywhere up to a month for the review to be written, but the last I heard the reviewer had finished the novella and was writing it. I’ll keep you all updated as to how that goes!