Self-published fantasy month

Why I haven’t read many self-published books: A ramble

selfpubfantasymonth

Why Don’t I Read More Self-Published Books?

I’ve been thinking about this a bit since Jason over at Off The Tbr first started talking about having a month dedicated to self published books, and I have come to a couple of conclusions. Yes they may seem unfair and I might come off like a judgemental mole, but hey, sometimes I am.
1. For a long time the term Self-published automatically made me think of spelling mistakes and bad formatting.
When I couldn’t afford to buy books I used to get the free ebooks from iBooks. Mostly romance, paranormal romance and some fantasy. 99% of them were self-pub and easily 50% didn’t seem to be edited. There was simple spelling mistakes on most pages, characters names getting mixed up and sometimes parts of the stories seemed to be missing. I find those constant errors really mess with my reading experience.
2. Fantastic ideas, bad execution
I thought this happened a lot more in the fantasy self-pub that I got from iBooks. The ideas were there, but it would seem like the plot wasn’t fully fleshed out. Maybe the author needed a bit more guidance. I’ve since learnt that a lot of self-pub authors get there books edited and such but I guess it doesn’t come cheap and so a lot don’t do it either.
3. This was pretty specific to self-pub romance that I came across – Once you’ve read one book by an author, you don’t need to read anymore as they were basically exactly the same but with different names for their characters.

They are the three main things that put me off self-published book. I never used to do reviews, I wasn’t on Instagram or Twitter. I didn’t know anything about the bookish community. So if I only put a rating in, I didn’t feel bad if it was low.
Two years ago I joined Instagram and found my bookish people. Last year I started making an effort to review what I read on Goodreads. Late last year I started my blog, hoping to overcome my anxiety and learn how to write reviews that made sense. I also joined Twitter and discovered readers and amazing authors at my fingertips. And now I’m here, I still don’t know much, but the few things I do know are; The publishing world is tough, most authors have a full-time job and fit their writing in on the side. Authors are real people and self-publishing is a big deal.
I guess this leads me to:

4. Not liking a self-published book. I’ll do my best so this makes sense.
Once you realise authors are people and you interact with them and watch their excitement over their work grow, it can become pretty tough to write a negative review.
But, true or not, I feel like a book from a big publishing house can handle a negative review or low stars given on Goodreads. They seem to be able to get the books into a lot more hands and therefore my thoughts and rating will get lost in the crowd. The author probably won’t notice my review rating or review.
But when it comes to self-published books you might be the first person to ever review it on Goodreads (yes this happened once) or there might only be 10 ratings, if you didn’t like it and you put your thoughts out onto the interwebs, there is more chance the author will see the review and rating. I feel mean if I rate it low. I wont bump up the stars but damn I feel so mean. I don’t put a star rating on my blog and in the past I might of just skipped doing a review if it really missed the mark for me, but joining the self-published fantasy month, I want to review everything I read.

Kudos if you are still reading, because this has all lead up to me saying – I feel really fucking mean guys. Really mean. Like a total asshole. I’ve been trying to come up with an angle for a book review that is honest, but not negative and I’m drawing a blank. I’m going to review them all, but why oh why did I wander over to Goodreads to see what others had thought. Now I’ve seen a picture of the author, I’ve read their bio, they are 100% real and I feel so bad for not enjoying the book.

Do you have any tips for reviewing a book you didn’t enjoy? Do you just skip it? Do you ever feel mean giving a low rating?

Don’t forget, to find out all the information about Self-Published Fantasy Month, click HERE.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SelfPubFantasyMonth

5 thoughts on “Self-published fantasy month”

  1. I think reviewing any book is not easy .We should read it from the author’s point of view only than we can review it better.Everyone has different opinions it depend on that completely.If I would review a book I would focus on what author wants to convey.

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  2. I can relate to everything you said. The first self-pub book I started reading was a DNF. The second was one an author sent to me that I waffles back and forth on whether to give it a 2 or 3 Star. Some reviewers will tell an author (if the author requests a review) that they will only post a review if they like it. Others will just tell the author they have to be prepared for good or bad. I also see over and over that even bad reviews are good on sites like amazon because it helps get them to that 50 review threshold where other algorithms kick in. In the end it’s your call though. And it can be hard if you have gotten to know the author on Twitter or elsewhere. I will post the review good or bad though. My feeling is the reviews are for readers.

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    1. I completely agree that reviews are for readers, especially on Goodreads. In the past I would have happily put my thoughts on there, but I seemed to have softened since starting my blog.
      I have spent way to much time thinking about this over the last week and I’m going to review them all, if the author chooses to read it, so be it.
      Thank you for your thoughts 🙂

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  3. Hey, there is a saying out there: you’re not a real author unless you start getting stinker reviews from anonymous people. I actually felt pleased when I got my first (and so far only) 1 star review last year. Sadly the reviewer didn’t post it on Amazon and Goodreads which is why most people won’t ever get to enjoy it half as much as I did.

    I seldom give 2 stars and less on reviews. The book must have caused a really strong negative feeling or be really poorly edited. Most of the stinker reviews were written by clearly non native English speakers and I always try to point out the reasons why in the hopes they’ll consider at least fixing that problem. They could get someone on fiverr to at least improve that for a small sum of cash.

    Many times, if the book is “not my cup of tea”, too slow, too flowery, annoying protagonist or riddled with plotholes but otherwise had some good merits, I give it a standard 3 stars. Some of these books will have something that caught my attention like a really likeable character or some good descriptions and it gets 3 1/2 stars which I tend to leave as 4 stars on review sites because Amazon and Goodreads sadly don’t offer reviewers half stars for their reviews.

    I seldom give 5 stars unless the book blew me away. I will forgive some spelling errors for indie writers because I know that forking 2000 dollars for an editor is just unfeasible if the book will likely not sell more than 60 dollars in return. But I don’t feel guilty about low star reviews and do mention authors that I might do so if I dislike the book.

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