Are We Cutting Self-Published Authors Too Much Slack?

Recently, I was given an ARC of a soon-to-be-released self-published novel to read and review. And I was excited to do so. In fact, I was the one who contacted the author asking for the ARC, because the concept seemed interesting and like something I’d love to read. Unfortunately, my experience reading the book was… less than fun. It was so flawed in so many ways that, at fifty percent of the way through my read, I had to stop.

This left me in an uncomfortable position: Should I review the book or not? I felt torn, because the author had been so sweet to me during our few interactions, and because it felt like maybe I was critiquing his book too harshly. After all, it was self-published. That meant he didn’t have a team behind him to help him make his book shine and shimmer. So should I really be holding him and his book to the same standard as I hold traditionally published books and authors?

Then, I stopped and I realized that people like me are part of the problem. I realized that if we let books like this pass without honestly critiquing them, we’re basically ensuring that self-publishing will never be taken seriously. I mean, self-publishing is notorious for half-baked novels getting put out into the world before they’re ready. And if we say, “Oh, well, it’s bad because it’s self-published, so we should be less critical of it”, we’re only making things worse. I mean, Jenna Moreci’s novel The Savior’s Champion is proof that, when done right, a self-published book can be just as well-made as a traditionally-published book.

I’m not saying Moreci’s book is perfect, but neither are most traditionally-published novels. What it is is well-structured and written, with no glaring grammatical flaws, and a well-developed world and characters. It doesn’t feel like an amateur wrote it, or like someone tried to save a buck by foregoing a necessary step of editing. It is, essentially, the same quality as your average traditionally-published novel. And that’s what I want from all of the novels I read.

So, I’ve decided to write a review. I plan to be as nice about it as I can, because I understand that the author is a person and that being rude or mean is completely unnecessary, but I don’t plan on holding back on my critiques. My personal standard for self-published books is for them to feel professionally made, and from now on, that’s the standard I will hold them to. And I encourage all of my fellow book reviewers to do the same.

Don’t give a self-published book four or five stars just because you feel bad and are trying to be nice, or because you think it’s okay that it’s poorly written because it’s self-published. Don’t avoid writing a review at all just because you can’t think of anything positive to say about the book. Not only are you doing the author a disservice by letting them think their book is flawless when it isn’t, but you’re also doing potential readers a disservice by not warning them about what they’re getting themselves into. And you’re doing the self-publishing industry a disservice by letting sub-par novels pass without even a slap on the wrist.

What do you guys think? Does it seem to you like we’re giving self-published authors too much slack? Or do you feel like I’m wrong, and that they shouldn’t be held to the same standard as traditionally-published authors? Let me know in the comments!

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So, Your Local Aspiring Author™ Is Querying Their Novel… What Does That Mean Exactly?

So your local Aspiring Author ™ is ranting and raving all over their social medias about how they are “officially querying their manuscript.” Which is all well and good, except… What does that even mean? After all, you work a regular nine-to-five job like a normal person, and all of this writing hoopla that they’re always tossing about never actually makes sense to you. So, okay, they’re querying their novel. Does that mean it’s about to be published and you can finally get some peace and quiet on your Facebook news feed? Well, my good non-writerly friend, let me explain to you a thing.

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The Pressure of Finding the Right Agent

Hey guys! How’ve you been? That’s good, that’s good… Oh, me? Ah, well, to be honest, I’ve been pretty stressed. Why? Well, let me tell you why. It’s because I’ve been dedicating hours of my life to doing copious amounts of research on literary agents. It’s been a long and arduous process, one I’m hoping will pay off in the end, but I’m not going to lie. It’s taking quite the toll on my poor little brain. Because it isn’t as easy as you may think. Not if you’re me, anyway. It’s funny, because in most areas of my life I have the most Type B personality one could have. But when it comes to writing–and, in the same vein, researching literary agents–I’m a Type A fiend. The type of Type A that my Type B side would hate very, very much.

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2018 – The Year of Success?

Hey there, y’all! Call me foolish, but I’m entering 2018 incredibly optimistically. I know, almost everybody enters a new year optimistically, with their New Year’s resolutions about joining a gym or working to become a happier person, and I also know that usually those resolutions fall through in one way or another. But that’s why I didn’t make any resolutions like that. Sure, those are things I’d like to do, but there’s only one thing I need to do, so that’s the goal I’m focusing on. My single goal for 2018 is to get a literary agent.

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No “Right” Answer? More Debating Over Self vs. Traditional Publishing

I know, I know. We all thought I had my answer. Self-Publishing was definitely the way to go when it came to The Caspian Chronicles, right? Right? Well, maybe not. I don’t know. The last time I was so torn on a decision, I was trying to figure out if I should break up with my high school boyfriend or not (I did). That was three years ago… today, actually. Wow. Time flies. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that apparently this is the time of year when I question my decisions in life, and this year’s dilemma is the self vs. traditional publishing one.

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31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep: Day 1 – What is NaNoWriMo?

Well, here we are. Day one of the adventure that is “31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep.” Now, I won’t lie. I’m a little nervous about this month. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love writing, and I love giving people writing advice, but to tackle 31 topics in 31 days is a pretty big task to take on. I think I can do it, though. So, with that said, let’s jump right into it.

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Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? A One-Woman Debate (Part 2, Definitely)

If you also follow my YouTube channel (check it out here), then you’ll know that the result of this debate has been decided for a while now. Honestly, it may have been decided while I was writing part 1. There’s a solid chance that writing that post completely talked me into my decision, which is: I’m self-publishing! Yay!

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Writing is Work (and Work is Hard)

Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of people in my life seem to discredit the fact that my writing–and everything that goes along with it, from research to marketing and more–is actually work. I’ve had people say to me, over and over again, “Wow, you’re so lucky, you just get to sit around and write all day!” And, I mean, yeah. I am lucky. Or, at least, I will be when that’s my full time job and I’m able to support myself with it. But, the thing is, even when I do reach that point, it isn’t going to be all fun and games. In fact, it’ll be less fun and games than it is right now.

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Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? A One-Woman Debate (Part 1, Probably)

You know how, when you’re little, you hear somebody say something once and, no matter how incredibly wrong that thing is, you believed it wholeheartedly? For example, when I was in the fourth grade, one of my friends “informed” me that babies were made by the mommy and daddy running around their bed naked. Yeah. And for literal years I honestly thought that was how babies were made. Even when I was old enough to think, “Huh, that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense,” I couldn’t be convinced otherwise… Well, until one fateful day in health class when they showed us a video chronicling the life of a baby from conception to birth. That… changed things. *shudder*

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