RSS Feed

Free blog idea (if someone hasn’t already done this…and if you have, let me know)

Posted on

I had an idea for a blog the other day. I don’t have time to do it myself, but if anyone wants it, please do take, as I’d like for a thing like this to exist.

So… I was thinking about self pubbed novels the other day, and chatting to a blogger about it – @LizUK on twitter, whose blog is here.  She was saying that she doesn’t review indie authors – there’s hardly enough time to review all the traditionally published authors, never mind starting on indies. Fair enough – George RR Martin isn’t our bitch and book bloggers aren’t either. Even less so because people pay George RR Martin.

First off, I should probably check… is there a blog out there that focusses entirely on indie authors? I’d be curious to see how they go about it. How do you deal with authors taking it personally, for example? When there’s no wall of publisher and PR people between you and the author? Not that trad pubbed authors don’t make a stink sometimes when they don’t like a review, but at least there is some distance there by merit of the relationships involved.

If no one’s done a blog like this yet (or no one’s done a good one), if there’s anyone out there that’s interested in doing a “Gatekeeper” blog, one thing I thought of (with Liz’s help prodding me and teaching me more about the book blogging experience) was that it might be easiest to do it by only writing reviews of indie books you’ve enjoyed – ie those are the only ones you let through the gate. You are the filter for the rest of us lot who are all at sea when it comes to choosing indie books. (Not saying everyone is – but I don’t trust Amazon reviews on the whole, and I’m rather lazy when it comes to looking for new books that I haven’t been recommended by someone…I want someone to do the hard legwork for me….). This is what I want as a reader:

I want a gatekeeper. It’s what I expect (though am sometimes disappointed) from publishers and the established reviewing community of broadsheets, lit mags and book bloggers.

Can anyone point me to a blog like that? Or would anyone like to start one? And… what other mechanisms can you and do you use to filter which indie authors to read? I’d be interested to hear from indie authors too – how do you go about getting your books read and reviewed? How can you help stumbling eejits like me who don’t know where to start?


6 responses »

  1. I have reviewed a few Indie writers recently, for the British Fantasy Society (just search ‘@mangozoid’ in the Search tab on their website: Although I would agree with Liz (@LizUK) that the general standard is lacking, and yes, there definitely isn’t enough time to go round when there are so many ‘Good’ authors out there, but professional authors write crap books too.

    I do feel that Indie writers deserve to have their work given an opportunity to ‘get out there’ as much as any other writers… My only frustration with Indies is that the majority really should have had their work assessed BEFORE they opted to go the self-published route, and my fear is that maybe they have, and then been told that it’s lacking, and gone through with it anyway… This kind of bloody-mindedness deserves to be ridiculed, and opting to ignore them simply plays into their hands, encouraging them to carry on…

    • Thanks for the comment @mangozoid! Off to check out your reviews now 🙂 Only recently got back into fantasy after a long gap (apart from urban fantasy), prompted by George RR Martin. I mean, not by him personally. That would make this the most namedroppy comment ever. But, his books.

      That’s interesting about some writers putting their work out before it’s properly cooked. Who would you see as a good assessor for them? Hiring a pro editor? A literary consultancy? Beta readers? All of the above? I wonder if this is something that will improve in time, as more people make assessing their business (in both senses)?

      • To be honest, I have started seriously considering offering my own services to help nail down grammatical errors and offer a general nit-picking service — I spent so many years as an editor and freelance (15+), and some of the stuff that gets through is shocking and so damn annoying.

        As I said, my fear is that these people may have already done this, in which case they have either chose to ignore the advice, or they have palmed it out to somebody who cannot possibly be truly objective about their work (friends, family, etc). I have no time or axe to bear against literary consultants or Beta readers, but the former are expensive (and not genre specific enough for my liking), and the latter extremely difficult to organise effectively, and of varying quality.

        In my opinion, the single most important person to see work before it ‘gets out there’ should be an independent, professional editor (I am not one, by the way) — at least then an author can be sure that the basics and core grammatical errors have been ironed out. That said, I do like the term ‘assessor’, and although this fits in with the Beta reader idea, perhaps this is something that should be pursued more vigorously after some thorough investigation?

        I have no idea if there is any such thing as a professional Beta reader, but I would venture that any regular book reviewer (myself included) would probably offer more of a critique than one’s immediate family and friends… I know I am highly critical of shoddy workmanship (IMHO) when I’m reviewing, but that’s because I don’t hold any heirs and graces myself, and have no qualms about calling a turd a turd, irrespective of how it’s dressed up.

      • Just saw this…. you should definitely get involved! It’s in the interests of all indie authors that the overall quality is perceived as good. There are still lots of people who wouldn’t read an indie author. It’d be great to break that down!

  2. You know, we have this friend Steve, who is a voracious reader. By that I mean: he reads a book a day, if not more. We’ve stopped trying to keep up with recommending books to him, because he just overshoots us. He recently bought a kindle and downloads swathes of self published books on to his kindle to read. He loves it, he says you read say 100 books and out of those, you’ll find two that are maybe really good. I genuinely wish I could convince him to blog but he’s not good with words, he says. Steve’s the kind of guy we want to be the gatekeeper. He loves books and stories and has no agenda – if you’ve entertained him, that’s enough and he’ll say so. He doesn’t even write Amazon reviews, which is sad. But I think Steve is in the majority – most people will read them, like them, but probably not review them.

    We need people like Steve…but who want to tell the world about it!

    • Hey Liz! Thanks for visting 🙂

      Your friend Steve sounds exactly the sort of person we need here. This situation reminds me of something I read a long, long time ago, about politics, so I forget where: “The ideal ruler is the person who has to be persuaded to take the job”. The reluctant judge is often the best, because they’re not coming at the subject with an agenda, just their honest reaction. But, as with your mate Steve, it’s hard to know how to persuade them. Pressganging probably isn’t the way… but it sure is tempting…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: