We all know from the hype and the articles that come out daily that the self-publishing world is exploding right now. All over the world, people are preparing their works and getting them out there in the hands of readers through places like Amazon's KDP or Barnes & Noble's Pubit! program, not to mention others like Kobo or Smashwords. Yet the problem I keep seeing is that while there are literally tons of blogs and sites that will read and review a traditionally published book to help the end-user decide for themselves if a book is worth their time, there are precious few that will read a self-published title.
The worst part? They rarely (if ever) say why they won't review a self-pubbed book--they just say "Nope."
This doesn't help, and as a matter of fact, it does the reader a great disservice. What I'd like to see is more blogs--like MeMyShelfAndI.com and BengalReads.com--who are willing to take the chance on self-published novels; but, sadly, these "good guys" are too few and far between.
Readers are being maltreated because of an elitism that undermines the culture: that somehow a traditionally published book is and will always be better than a self-published title. While I would agree that the traditionally published titles tend to have more polish on them--better cover art, nicer layout, better blurbs, and tons of marketing know-how--that alone does not make them better than something that was put together as a labor of love by the author.
I have read a great many novels--just as you have--and I bet you that you've found things that are outright terrible and you ask yourself "What the heck? How did this get published?"
And that's a traditional novel. Yes, I've read some self-published stuff that made me scratch my head too, but in the regard of "this is better than that," I call it pretty much a wash.
What I'm hoping for is that the review blogs out there with this policy of "no self-pubbed stuff" will change their mind--because they are missing out on a whole world of goodness, and by not promoting the good--from whatever source--they are doing their viewership a disservice, just as I said.