Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Double standards in reviews of self-publishing: a rant
This morning's rant is about the portion of readers who decry positive reviews of self-published books from other self-published authors. Not people who don't like self-publishing in general. Been there, don't that. Are we clear on who’s bugging me? If you happen to be one of them, I'd love it if you would de-mystify something for me. How is it acceptable for traditional or mainstream authors to give each other blurbs and reviews, but if self-published authors do the same for each other, those comments are automatically suspected as being tainted or padded?
I've found this viewpoint commonly expressed on Goodreads, Amazon discussion boards, etc. enough times to know it truly exists. I've tried to analyze it in different ways. Perhaps self-published authors are their own worst enemy. Those who write incoherent, unedited babble and scribble cover artwork that looks like a Crayola nightmare make it hard for everyone, even those who pay editors and cover artists, and can string coherent sentences together. Except, there are self-published authors who rise beyond the folly of their less savvy fellows every day. Don't believe me? Take a look at USA Today's recent bestseller list and count how many times Amanda Hocking's titles appear.
Maybe it’s because self-published authors are unknown entities and somehow lack the sophistication to judge the work of others. Is it all a matter of credibility? That argument presumes that self-published authors have no background to discern excellent writing for themselves. Thing is, I've smelled shit before and I don't need anyone to tell me when it stinks. Why do I need any other opinion but my own to judge other writers?
Perhaps the problem doesn't lie with just self-published authors, but with authors who may be friends, inclined to inflate each other's reviews. Strangely, that hasn't made blurbs any less popular in traditional publishing. So, why doesn't it work just as well for self-published authors?
I've heard enough of the assumptions about self-publishing to last me a couple life times. It's the thing you do when no one else will take on your work. It's the last act of desperation before a writer gives up and succumbs to their bitter fate as a hapless nobody. It will kill your future as a mainstream writer. Blah blah blah. For a reality check, head over to JA Konrath's blog for interviews with self-published authors who are blowing these myths out of the water each day.
Perhaps the last hurdle for such writers will be the segment of the reading public that automatically dismisses self-publishing, paints its authors with a collective tainted brush and assumes their work will always be trash. For these people, I say the following: you're entitled to hold your opinion and judge the work of such authors in any way you please. But I have to ask two favors from you: don't dare tell me that your view is the only valid one in the world. Don't presume that your opinion applies to every self-published book. Otherwise, I’ll have to tell you to take your high-minded opinion and shove it so far up your ignorant ass, that you can't ever sit or walk again.
Rant over. Now back to the regularly sane blog posts.
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