My list of books to read and review keeps growing and I’ve noticed that it’s pretty unbalanced in the genres I select. If the sample of a book looks bad, I trash it, and unfortunately, most of the books I’ve been trashing are in genres I’d like to review. So far, I haven’t found any science fiction worth bothering with and that led me to think about numbers. It seems that the vast majority of books are in a very few genres — fantasy, romance, YA, and mystery/crime. There aren’t a whole lot of science fiction novels out there in indie land, compared to those, so the chance of finding something worth reading is pretty low.
I do read some fantasy, but only if it’s extremely well written, original, and doesn’t have fairies, magicians, talking animals, etc. I have zero interest in crime/mystery, families, coming of age, female-centered stories of career struggles, recovery from trauma. Whether I misspent my youth too submerged in literary fiction, or the seen-it-all ennui of old age has taken over, I find that I’ve seriously narrowed down the number of genres I find interesting. Which isn’t exactly a good place for a would-be reviewer to be in.
So, I’m in the process of rethinking my whole approach to reviewing indie books. I haven’t decided whether I’ll try to force myself to broaden my interests, as least far enough to allow me to read samples in non-favorite genres (unlikely). Limiting myself to Smashwords authors seemed like a good idea, but it makes it that much more difficult to find books worth reviewing. I’m going to sign off on the Smashwords affiliate program, partly because I doubt I’ll ever make any significant amount of money from it, partly because it could taint the legitimacy of my reviews (in the minds of some readers).
An indie author is an indie author, whether they’re publishing through Smashwords, Amazon, B & N, or selling from their own site. And a good book is a good book, no matter where you find it.