Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reviewing Self-published Books

A while ago, I talked a little about reviewing people's self-published Kindle novels.  The reason for doing this is pretty obvious.  Self-published novels lack gatekeepers.  There's no editor or agent to say whether it's good or bad.  So when the author puts it out, potential readers have no clue how good it is.  It would be helpful if someone would read some of those novels, and write reviews, to let potential readers know where the good stuff is.

But I only did one review. Part of the problem was that I didn't really know where to begin.  I could just browse through Amazon, but the most usual ways rank either by most popular or best reviewed by Amazon customers.  Frankly, that defeats the purpose.  If I'm looking for undiscovered books, I hardly want to be looking at the books everyone has already discovered.  Granted, the Amazon reviews can be gamed, and there may be some value in seeing whether those well-reviewed books are actually good, or if the author is writing his own reviews (or paying someone else to do it).  But finding false reviews is not my objective.  I'm interested in undiscovered books.

One option is to ask people who have books they want reviewed to contact me.  I'd probably need a bigger stage than this little blog, both to make it possible for people to find me, and to make it worth their while to do so.  I may be able to do that.  But assuming that I could get such attention, how would I decide what to review?  Obviously, I won't be reading and reviewing a new book every day.  More like once  a month.  And if there's even mild interest in my offer, there are going to have to be some filters.  I figure I could ask potential reviewees to send a submission, with a blurb and a link to a free chapter, and then I'll select my favorite one to review.  This is not quite the same thing as going through all the self-published novels and telling people whether they're good or bad, but that's not my objective: my objective is to find good, undiscovered novels.  Of course, I'm not promising a good review.  Just because I like a submission doesn't mean I'll like the whole novel, just that it's showing enough promise to take the time to read it.

Overall, it sounds like a decent idea.  Maybe I'll look into implementing it.

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