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From an article by Kim Stricland in ChicagoNow, who is a self-published author.  She talks about her expeirence with PW Select:

Publishers Weekly is a venue for book reviews, and for books published primarily by traditional publishers. Yet, when they found a way to capitalize on the self-publishing craze, I can’t help but think the poison at the end of their pen in the predominantly negative reviews [in the PW Select quarterly guide] has more to do with self-preservation than any real interest in fostering a relationship with the self-publishing industry.

What every author wants from a review of this type is that one line they can quote. I would’ve been happy with something like, “Down at the Golden Coin is a fast and witty read that could have been so much better without Strickland’s ham-fisted dialogue.” Because of course I would quote only the first part of the sentence! But reading the PW reviews in the supplement, every one of them is suspiciously crafted so as to not string together a single sentence like the above. There’s basically no way to get a useable blurb from any of the reviews, even when they do say very positive things. It reeks of sneaky, if you ask me.

Read the full article for the details.


  1. Although I’m not an author, I, too, have wondered about PW’s reviews of indie authors. I know that I have found many works by indie authors that are quite enjoyable and a few that cannot be praised enough. I suspect, however, that much of the problem with the indie author books — and I’m not talking about yours specifically as I am unfamiliar with it — lies in the misuse of language, which can become rapidly irritating. For example, I recently read a book that I enjoyed very much but which caused me to stop in my tracks because the author used “anecdote” rather than “antidote” when talking about medicine to cure a fever. There were a couple of gaffes like that, but the book was free and so I allowed for it. But I doubt PW reviewers would give much leeway when faced with these kinds of errors and with homonym misuse (you’re for your; were for where; etc.).

  2. You are the enemy of big publishing. Don’t expect to win any battles with a publication that exists to support them.

    Personally, I wish someone would start a blog dedicated to reviews for indie publishers. There are some really good indie books out there; there are also some really awful ones. I’d appreciate a little help in telling them apart…like warning me when the author has limited vocabulary and an even more limited grasp of grammar or punctuation as was the case in the last 1.99 book I purchased.

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