Recently I read a blog written by Gavin C Pugh, a 30-something reader/writer/book reviewer from Cardiff, Wales. The title of Mr. Pugh’s blog was, Thoughts— Reasons Why We Reviewers Won’t Read Your Self-Published Book.
For those unfamiliar with the term, Miriam Webster define self-publishers as: those who publish books using their own resources. However, according to Mr.Pugh, his book reviewing world defines self-publishers as annoying appendages; one more layer upon the crushing slush pile of literary “submitters”.
Yet, Mr. Pugh heralds good news for reviewers when he issues an industry absolution that allows, nay encourages, disregarding books submitted by self-published authors. No reviews required appears to be the general industry guideline. Mr.Pugh then proceeds to offer six reasons for this literary attitude, all of which. in my opinion. follow an, “all about me” line of thinking.
As someone entering the realm of self-publishing, I will soon be one of those authors looking for reviews from people like Mr.Pugh. And I have to admit, I am frustrated and annoyed by his blog. Yet rather than allow this man the final word on the subject, I thought I would self-publish my reply to Mr.Pugh’s blog, point by point.
1) We Don’t Know Who You Are
I have no idea who you are either Mr.Pugh, but from your words I deem you to be an individual lacking in common courtesy and consideration. Because I have chosen to publish my book outside the once-traditional realm of literary agents and publishers does not automatically mean that my work is poorly crafted. And it definitely does not mean that my writer’s efforts such be summarily dismissed by you, or anyone. Rather it means that I am intelligent enough to realize that in this day and age the tried and true method of bringing a book to market has evolved into a brave new world of opportunity and potential. It’s an exciting time for authors, Mr.Pugh as we now have some control over our literary destiny. Time to catch up, or be left behind.
2) We Don’t Know How You Will React
I am really not sure what you mean by this point, Mr.Pugh. Are you worried that I might blast my semi-automatic BIC through your PC or Mac because you gave my book a negative review? Truly, if the reactionary words of an angry self-publisher are that intimidating to you, then I would respectfully suggest you discontinue your blog as the realm of the world wide web is a cesspool of virulent dispositions and attitudes. American translation: if you can’t stand the heat…..get outta the book review kitchen.
3) We’ll Feel Guilty When We Don’t Read It.
First off, congratulations,Mr.Pugh. With this point you at least revived a bit of my faith that you might have compassion somewhere in your being. Sadly, that positive is counterbalanced by the reality that you have no problem telling a self-publishing author that their work is meaningless and not worth your time, without even knowing about them, their talent or their book.That sounds a lot more like arrogance than guilt to my ears.
4) We know you’re not going to generate hits.
I do have followers and a strong social media base, Mr.Pugh, so it is frustrating to think that I may generate hits for you through this blog post. However, it’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to give voice to the many talented and dedicated self-published authors that you have so cavalierly maligned and discarded.
5) We don’t read cute bunny love stories set in Ancient Rome…
… or whatever genre you’ve written in.
How about a story of a college newspaper writer who interviews a young business entrepreneur and the fantasy relationship that ensues, set in modern-day Portland, Washington? Literary taste is a personal choice, Mr.Pugh and as such, helps to define the expertise of a literary reviewer. Sarcastic appraisals of an author’s work, self-published or not, reveals a short-sightedness that reflects as much on the reviewer as the reviewed.
6) We know it’s going to be rubbish
Knowledge is power, Mr. Pugh. I know what you profess about self published authors is quickly becoming dated, and as such is exactly as you describe it….rubbish.