Quick programming note: We mentioned on our podcast last week that we’d be discussing branding this week. Shannon had to go out of town suddenly, however, due to a family emergency — so we’re going to put that topic on hold until next week.
There’s been quite a bit of talk the past few weeks about the importance of distinguishing quality self-published work from the well, not so great.
The need was first brought to our attention on Self-Publishing Central with John Betcher’s article An Open Letter to Amazon. The post was recently revised with additions and changes from the community. It serves as an eloquently written plan for easing “self-pub gridlock.” As John puts it:
Unfortunately, at present, there is no analogous way for potential readers to sift through the huge mounds of newly printed self- and indie-published books. The reader (read as “potential book buyer”) has only book covers, jacket blurbs, sample passages and reader reviews to aid her in distinguishing the published gems from the rubble. (Kirkus and The New York Times don’t review self- or indie-publications.) Such tools might seem sufficient, until one considers that there are a million or so new book covers and blurbs to view, samples to read and reader reviews to consider every year.
No single reader can process this huge amount of information. The result is self-pub gridlock.
His letter advocates Amazon.com creating an “Amazon Select Indie Book Index,” built from independent book reviews, to guide readers toward quality self-published fare.
So, we want to hear from you:
- Would a ranking index built upon independent ratings like the one John advocates help ease self-publishing gridlock?
- What other ways do we have (or SHOULD we have) to distinguish quality self-published work?
- Or, should self-published work not be competing amongst its kin but instead against the traditionally published genre to which it belongs?
- How have YOU made your self-published book stand out from the rest?
Last time we had a discussion there were some wonderful viewpoints shared in the comments — let’s make this one just as good!
If you’d like to learn more about soliciting independent reviews of your book, check out Where to Find Reviewers for your First Book or Part 2 of our interview with John Betcher, posting tomorrow.