Novel Notions is a feature where I discuss whatever bookish thoughts (ie. Novel Notions) I have running through my head. This is not a regularly scheduled feature but rather one that I just post as ideas organically come to me! I'm hoping that you will join in on the discussion either by simply commenting below or running with my idea and linking up a post on the subject in the comments at some point during the upcoming week.
So for this edition of Novel Notions, I'd like to discuss reviewing Indie/Self Pub books vs reviewing Traditionally Published books. Because I think I may have a confession...I may have realized that I don't review them the same way!
To start I'll admit that I am less likely to read an Indie/Self published or small vanity press book than I am one published by a larger more well known publishing house. Guilty :/ Since I started book blogging however, I have opened up quite a bit more and have read quite a few of these books.
But do I go into them with the same mind set?
I fear that I don't...and this may be a big problem. I fear that I may automatically set the bar a bit lower for these books by not expecting as much out of them from the get go. Expecting that they will be more rough around the edges...expecting that they may not be as grammatically perfect...expecting that there may be minor plot holes or transition problems.
Even just writing this I feel horrible...because I think...I know that I should go into every read (unless it's an ARC or Beta read) with the same expectations. Otherwise...aren't I doing a disservice to the author, myself and any potential reader of my review?
Yes I may expect different things based upon reading level, genre etc...but should how the book was published factor into that?? I don't think so....
Taking this one step further...
How does the difference in expectations based upon publishing method translate to the review and rating?
This may be even harder to admit, but I'm baring all here. I think that I let those expectations (or lack thereof) color my reviews. I don't think that I am as critical of Indies or Self Pubs. I think that I may gloss over some of the problems and may even rate them a slightly higher than I would if they were traditionally published. And the more I think about this, the more I personally realize that this is not good.
It's not that I am being dishonest in my reviews, but I think I am definitely less judgmental than I would be for a traditionally published book. And that makes me "feel" a bit dishonest in retrospect. I don't like feeling that way...and I really don't like thinking about the fact that were I an author...I would want the unvarnished truth (as long as it was polite and respectful of course) And as a reader, I definitely would want a reviewer to not sugar coat anything. I am a huge proponent of negative and or DNF reviews as long as they are written respectfully.
So I am going to make a concerted effort in future to go into every read with the same set of expectations and to hold each read to the same set of criteria when reviewing.
Please tell me that I am not the only one struggling with this? Do You Review Indie/Self Pubs Differently?