The Self-Publishing Bias

Is it factual that book reviewers will not review a self published book? Or that some bookstores won’t carry them at all?

It depends.

Once upon a time, there was a huge prejudice against self-published books. The idea was that if they were good enough, a publisher would pick them up. If no publisher wanted them, then they weren’t very good.

While there are still a multitude of examples of books that support that prejudice, there are also many self-published books that are absolutely wonderful—but that just couldn’t find a good fit with a traditional publisher.

If you self-publish, you generally are going to have a harder row to hoe when it comes to getting attention and shelf space. Self-published fiction is very difficult to get into bookstores; non-fiction is a little easier. If you’re planning to go this route, I strongly recommend you do your research, starting with these books:

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing

Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual

Jump Start Your Book Sales

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers

I’d also suggest you talk to some people who have successfully self-published and get their input.

And have your distribution avenues set up BEFORE you spend a lot of money designing and printing your book.

So to answer your question: Some reviewers will not review self-published books, some will. Some bookstores will not carry self-published books, some will.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

4 thoughts on “The Self-Publishing Bias”

  1. Interesting question. I review for Meridian Magazine and I do review some self published books if the author sends me a review copy and if the book is done well enough to merit review and it fits my criteria. It must be LDS or espouse LDS standards in some way, be of interest to adult LDS readers, and released within the past six months. I don't back away from lesser expletives, but I won't review books that use profanity or excessively crude expletives.

  2. That's good info. It does seem that the prejudice is getting less, but then there are a lot of not so good self-pubbed books out there too. It's a tricky thing, but I'm not going to rule it out completely for myself.

  3. E-publishing has made self publishing user friendly. Sites like Kindle and Smashwords have made it easy and cost effective to self publish. My guess is those who chose this route don't place promotion as their #1 priority. I have read some great stories published by houses not universally accepted as legitimate or self published.

    My preference is to find a traditional house to publish my work. But I do not put down self publishing. It is growing and gaining a substantial foot hold.

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