Publishing and the TAO of Self-Promotion

I generally refuse to review what I’ve been reading, but a book-seller friend recently sent me several books to look through. He wasn’t sure whether he really wanted them on his shelves. 

Now Please… excuse my rant, but there seems to be a dangerous trend in publishing (beyond that of the all-too-frequent passing, like the dinosaurs, of major publication houses) that cannot be ignored. 

I refer to so-called ‘independent publishers’; so-called because it seems that almost every one of them appears to have but one client; the author whose book they publish. 

… and it is amazing what wonderful reviews these independents receive over their marvellously talented authors work. Why, the reviews positively glow with such enthusiasm. 

Five stars… every single one of them receives five stars by every reviewer. One would think that simply a glance at the cover art with the hitherto unknown authors name on it guarantees a smash review, and let us not ignore the glowing praise for the authors style and descriptive abilities and how their characters are ‘brought to life’, and how amazingly exacting and polished these authors are. 

…etc, ad nauseam. 

Of course it is only natural that every single reviewer should use almost the same exact descriptions in their praise of the work. 

< ~Sigh~ > 

It’s all B.S… every sodden bit of it. 

The problem with all this self-aggrandisement is that it does effect book sales. People read these glowing reports and go out and buy the books; then afterwords wonder if whoever wrote the reviews was drunk, stoned or simply taking payola. 

Worse yet, quite often these so-called ‘reviews’ are never checked by book sellers to find out if they are truly legitimate or just self promotion by the author/publisher. 

… and far too often they are the latter. 

Lets call all of this it what it is, which is self-publishing and self-promotion. 

Most professionally published and well known authors don’t get reviews like these independents do, which is a shame. 

Even the chart toppers get critical analysis by the legitimate trade press, and their audiences are even more critical. The slightest continuity error in the story line gets noticed… especially if the book is part of a series. 

But not the ‘independents.’ 

Now, in all fairness, let me say that there are self-published books out there that are really very good, and some of them are fortunate enough to be noticed by the main-stream press. 

… which is a good thing because legitimate talent deserves to be noticed and given access to broader markets. But in this day and age where anyone with a computer and a printer can become a ‘publisher’, how is it that they cannot bother to use the spell checker? 

It’s a shame all that energy can’t be used as an alternative fuel source. 


About Gwendolyn McIntyre

Author, editor, businesswoman, musician, lover of jazz and horses. Chief investigator of all things that go BUMP in the night.
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