PW Squashing the Self-publishing Bug?

Posted: April 29, 2012 in Self Publishing, Small Presses, Traditional Publishing

A couple of years ago, Publisher’s Weekly decided that for the low, low price of $149, self-publishers could buy the right to MAYBE get reviewed by them.

One blogger, a self-published writer herself, says that she feels PW is so entrenched in the “traditional” publishing model that they are deliberately trashing self-pubbed novels in their reviews.  She gives statistics that of 99 novels submitted one quarter, only 25 merited a review and of those 25 only 4 were at all complimentary.  In fact, she calls the other 21 reviews “scathing.”

I do not see any proof of her implication that PW is deliberately trashing these books in order to squash traditional publishers competition.  I’ve always heard that 99% of queries received by publishers are rejected.  By those numbers, giving 4 good reviews out of a total of 99 books sounds like a win.

What do you think?  Is big publishing and their cohorts trashing indie books unfairly, or no?

I know there’s a lot of bad writing out there (I’m not defending it!) and that self-publishing was, and a lot of the times still is, a venue for vanity. But it’s becoming more and more mainstream, the way to go, and I find it hard to believe that of the nearly one hundred novels submitted, PW couldn’t have found a few more things to like. You can practically sense the glee emanating from the reviewers as they rip apart these books. …read more

via Publishers Weekly seems to relish scathing reviews of self-published books | A City Mom.

  1. dborys says:

    Thanks, Stasa. I totally agree with the idea, too, that they need to take a new view on the idea of only reviewing books that are UNpub lished unless they are paid. That was the same “tradition” I ran up against with bookstores. The model they are used to is getting advance notice on a book with a set in stone “release date” and they don’t seem to know how to deal with something that already out there, or happening in a shorter time frame.

  2. I tend to agree with your (not your referenced writer) assertion. 4 positive reviews is not bad. First, a careful examinatio of PW website indicated that the 25 review is a set minimum number. Knowing that there is a set minimum, I instantly assumed that would be the maximum (also) for some time. So, 4 positive reviews out of 25 is not bad. Not great, but hardly terrible. The number of books published by authors that get reviewed is a LOT lower than 25%. This sounds like a win in terms of percentages of books getting reviewed.

    The truth is a positive review helps A LITTLE BIT, but one from Publishers Weekly hardly makes or breaks an author.

    I think that the model PW is using is a good compromise and support it. In fact, I think a lot of small publishers may end up paying for reviews, because this format is the only one where PW (and others) will review an ALREADY PUBLISHED BOOK by a publisher, small or large. Small publishers get the books out faster. This means less venues for reviews. PW needs to change the format just a bit and not call it self-publishing, but call it small press publishing.

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