This is probably going to turn into a massive mistake that will take over my life and create an unrecoverable meltdown, but here goes. I’ve been thinking, for quite a while now, about the need for a blog that reviews self-published ebooks, and nothing but self-published ebooks. I even made a few notes about what would be involved. Naturally, a review blog can’t survive on the output of just one reviewer, especially if it’s someone as scattered and prone to “moods” as I am. So, the site would require multiple reviewers, who are also self-published authors.
Basically, I’m saying screw the requirement that reviewers have to be professionals. What they have to be is intelligent, literate, and perceptive. Also honest. I’m also saying screw the sites that base ratings and reviews on how books appeal to the reviewers on an emotional level, but ignore petty details like editing, and writing quality.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that, as a self-published writer and an avid reader, quality is one of my primary concerns. Which means an automatic default to the question of how people are to find quality writing. See my posts, Where is the Renaissance? and How to Encourage a Renaissance? More important, the question, for me, is what can I do to encourage, maybe not a renaissance, but a way to help good writers rise above the slush pile. Which, despite the desperate mantra that quality will always find a way to the top, is damned difficult, if not impossible.
What spurred me to take action was reading a blog post by Hugh Howey, author of an ongoing series: Wool. I’ve only read Wool 1 so far, thanks to the way the Kindle desktop app mutilates Wool 2 every time I try to download it, but this is a guy who’s winning a fan base built on the quality of his writing. But he can’t get reviewed. Read One Indie Disadvantage and if you’re a self-published writer, you’ll be nodding your head.
Now to the nitty gritty. I’m not going to give out any details here, though I’ve worked out some of them. The first thing I need to know, before I even set up a blog, is whether there are self-published writers willing to do reviews for a site like this. I would need at least three or four reviewers, to start with. There would be no minimum number of reviews required, but I’d hope for at least one a month. I would vet all reviews, mostly for editing and to make sure the necessary information about the book was included. A template might be a good idea. Reviewers would be able to include links (what kinds and how many, to be decided) and a short bio at the end of every review. They would also be able to suggest books they know about and would like to review.
To start with, only fiction will be reviewed, and authors can submit, following the requirements I’ve started developing. I have a short list of genres I won’t be including, mostly because they’re the ones most likely to be crude amateur work, because they’re the ones that are crowding out practically everything else, and because they’re already being reviewed. So, if you want to review romance, erotica, or anything to do with zombies, vampires, shifters, or other paranormal stories, or sword and sorcery, magic, elves, etc., this won’t be the site for you.
Discussion? Suggestions? Offers to join a quixotic project?