What’s the difference between a self-published author and traditionally published author making their way in the writing world? Online—nothing.
Thanks to the Internet, indie authors are on a level playing field, sharing a readership with traditionally published authors. Because the Internet holds the majority of consumer sales, online is where it matters.
Browsing websites, creating blogs, skimming reviews, posting instant reactions, and starting conversations on a whim—this is why the self-publishing industry thrives. Niche readers are reached quickly and effectively, and a major portion of that success is owed to book review bloggers, both professional and amateur alike.
Today, we’re seeing a problem: while indie books are on the rise, the industry is experiencing the LAST holdout of indie stigma—remains of a time where amazon didn’t rule the world and the only people who went indie were unable to get a real deal.
The result: book reviewers are ignoring indie authors when they decide which books they decide to publicly review. Review policies on countless book review blogs often cite—on top in bold, conspicuous letters—“we do not accept self-published books.”
Blog reviewers are now one of the top ways readers fill up their TBR lists. They have a lot of power.
Let’s take a look at Mark Oshiro from Mark Reads—a full-time reviewer making a living from his self-published books. True story. As he experiences all the joys and sorrows of fan-requested books (ranging from The Lord of the Rings to The Princess Bride, but all traditional thus far) and TV shows, he creates blogs and videos about them. The popularity of his commentary grew to such an extreme that he transitioned from hobby blogging to full-time blogging—oh, and did I mention he tours?—and he compiled his reviews into self-published book and videos (like Mark Reads Harry Potter!) to help cover the cost of blog upkeep and video production.
Herein lines a golden opportunity for review bloggers: they have a chance to create hype supporting the indie author gems and track their influence in a way they wouldn’t be able to do for big traditional releases.
Just think of how much online talk it took to transform 50 Shades of Grey from guilty-pleasure fan-fiction to an international phenomenon and forthcoming film.
One fan-fiction site, then a self-published e-book with print-on-demand services, a raving review on a blog or two, and boom. Bestseller. Readers everywhere have held this book in their hands and E.L. James is a household name.
By writing off self-published books, reviewers are obviously hurting indie authors. But more critically—bloggers are diminishing their own power.
The power of the indie author revolution has lead more and more authors (novice and previously traditional) to take the power of publishing into their own hands. Floods of books continue to enter the online world.
By bloggers saying “no” to self-published books in an effort to decrease their submission piles, they are unfairly and unintentionally maintaining the stigma that traditionally published books are of higher quality and will garner more traffic to their sites.
But most of these reviewer sites are not working for big names. Theses reviewers are novices—working on their own, on the same level as self-published authors. You could say they are the indie writers of the review sphere.
For self-published authors, the Internet is an intellectual and creative playground. It is where indie authors not only come to make their work known, but where they have found a respected place next to traditionally published authors.
We think that review bloggers are only hurting their own business by turning down possible gems from indie authors.
Readers, do you agree?