There is no question that self-publishing has created a plethora of poorly written and badly edited books because there are no controls over what is published or by whom. Now anyone can publish anything: good, bad, or downright ugly. And they do. However, the risk of purchasing a “bad” book is not limited to indie books. Have you ever picked up a book published by one of the major publishing houses, read a few pages and then asked yourself, “Really? This is a best seller?” Of course you have, so let’s get past the assumption that all traditionally published books are good. They are not! Many a successful author has written a bestseller and then fallen into the trap of pursuing quantity over quality, and relying on their name recognition to sell follow-up books that fall far short of the first one. And the big publishing houses are all too willing to join them in this money grab.
That said, in the burgeoning world of self-published books, there are diamonds in the coal bin but few professional reviewers are willing to dig for them; I guess they don’t want to get their hands dirty. For example, I had an experience with a book reviewer at a major newspaper. I asked her to read a self-published book that was getting some great reviews by our readers. She was very interested until she asked who published it.
“Oh, no,” she said, “I can’t read that.”
“Why not?” I asked, “Ralph Waldo Emerson self-published some of his books”.
“That’s different. That was a long time ago” (Really?)
“Well did you know that John Grisham also self-published at first?”
“This author is no John Grisham!”
“How do you know that if you aren’t willing to give the author a chance?”
“Do NOT send me that book”. Click.
Literary snobbery lives!
Our readers are reading as fast as they can to identify self-published books that deserve to be read. Now I will confess that the majority of the books we review are not chosen to receive a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM. That is because we want our medallion to represent a certain standard of excellence, and thereby assure potential purchasers that the book is worth their time and money. But it is encouraging to note that our readers, many of whom had not read a self-published book before, are excited about how many really good books are out there―our mission is to keep finding them!