The Un-Editorial Notepad #13 – Why Reviewers Avoid Self-Published Books

Posted by Rita Lorraine


Hi Everybody!
Breezing through with another un-editorial notepad about the immortal question: Why do most reviewers shy away from self-published books.

When it comes to self-published books, reviewers often become like ostriches. They hide their faces (nay, their entire heads) in the sand and hope the request goes away. Why? Here are a few reasons:

Five Reasons Reviewers Avoid Self-Published Books

1. Trade-published books have “teams” (editors, illustrators, cover designers, and publicists) behind them, so the reviewer is not just directing her comments to one person, she’s addressing a team whose members can garner strength from each other. Not so for self-published books. There is typically one lone person behind each self-published title, and if the book gets a negative review, the results can be crushing for the solitary writer.

2. Saying yes to a review is a commitment, and most reviewers don’t like to go back on their word. So if a reviewer finds herself confronted by fifteen glaring typos before she even gets to page two, she’s still on the hook. Whether she writes an unfavorable review or suggests the author go back to the drawing board, either action will likely set the author’s teeth on edge…and may earn the reviewer an enemy for life.

3. The team behind a trade-published book might go as far as to strike the reviewer’s name from their reviewers’ list, but they would probably do nothing more beyond this. The reviewer wouldn’t have to fear trolls, 1-star reviews or personal vendettas.

4. Some indies have been known to subject reviewers to everything from the “cold shoulder” to the “death-ray-stare-from-blackest-hell.” Who needs that kind of stress?

5. Elephants never forget. And neither do indies.

I hope this short-list of “reasons” helps you understand why some reviewers avoid self-published books like the plague.

That being said, there are some fantastic reviewers out there who absolutely love self-published books. Keep digging; you’ll find one!

Best wishes and happy writing,
Rita Lorraine

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