Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Self Publishing and Dreaded Reviews

I love Entertainment Weekly. That crisp magazine in my mailbox each Friday is like weekly Christmas without the travelling. In a word: Heaven!

But last week, I read an article that kind of threw me. Titled 'The Hottest Self-Published Books,' the article talks mostly about Amanda Hocking and John Locke and how their self-pubbed books are, well, not so awesome.

Two points, then I want your feedback.

1. I never agreed that book reviews, whether on personal blogs or other media, should always be happy, fluffy puppy stuff. Each one of us looks and acts differently, we like different foods and colors and animals and BOOKS, so I may not love a book that rocks your casbah (yep, rocks...your casbah). But I am against bashing, and that's why the article shocks me. Its language is downright harsh, calling Hocking's latest "a bunch of goopy, romantic nonsense." Yikes. That, my friends, is bashing.

2.  I sit firmly on the fence about self-publishing. Is it a valid option for authors? Sure. Have I considered it? Nope. That's my personal choice and for personal reasons, the biggest of which is that I don't have an inkling of a clue how to successfully market my work. Is everyone going to have Amanda Hocking's success? NO! I haven't read any of her books, but she's a rarity, not a rule. Should self-published books be treated like any other book? I think so. Yes.

So, with those two things in mind, I suppose the author of the EW article reviewed Hocking and Locke's books as he would any other book. I've read movie and music, and yes, even book reviews in EW that didn't hit me like this one, but holy hot dog! My mind was blown.

Thoughts? Did you read the article? Have you read any of Amanda Hocking's books? How about John Locke's? What did you think?



Judy Croome said...

Marie, I did chose the self pub route and I'm glad I did because it's right for me (but won't be for everyone else).

I haven't read any of the books or articles you've mentioned, but I can speak as an author who has made a definite career choice: I would *want* my self-published books to be judged and reviewed by the same high standards as traditionally published books. To me, there could be nothing worse than a comment like "this is a good book *for a self-pubbed book*". I want my books to be good. Period. If they're not, the readers must tell me so I can improve and grow as a writer.

However, by the same token, reviewers and readers need to also be fair...a self-pubbed book should not be savagely trashed *just because* it's self-pubbed. So many book review sites refuse to even consider self-pubbed books. I find that sad - this is a brave new world of reading and writing we're entering and yes, some bad self-pubbed reading experiences may occur, but there could be some really great reading experiences too. To close oneself off from that possibility, just because of old prejudices against self-publishing(which are thankfully rapidly crumbling), is a pity.

Judy, South Africa

Andrew Leon said...

I want to have an opinion about this, but I really don't. I haven't read the books or the article. However, coming from a major publication, I'm not sure I could trust the reviewer to not be going in biased... to not be going in in order to bash self-publishing.

You know, the way movie critics bash Michael Bay for being Michael Bay.

Alleged Author said...

What a great response now that traditional publishing companies are looking at acquiring self-publishing arms of their corporations. You can never tell what is going to happen because opinions are like belly buttons...

Julie said...

Hi, Marie! I am new to your blog, and I'm glad I found it. I am an aspiring author living in Ohio as well, so it's great to meet you! :)
This post was very interesting to me as I'm still learning about all the publishing options. I haven't read Hocking's work so I have no comment on that, but I do agree with others that I'm not surprised the review is harsh coming from a traditional publication.

Interesting post and comments, I'm looking forward to following your blog!

Elliot Grace said...

...I'd like to think that the bashing of Hocking's work was simply a matter of not enjoying her latest story, rather than putting down the self-published writer. One can hope, I guess.

I'm not a fan of Hocking's work, but respect the fact that she entered the scene during the vampire craze, and fed off the madness to success. Kudos to her keen awareness of timing.

I agree however, the review on Entertainment Weekly was tough to swallow.