Trad vs. Self-Publishing: Periodical Reviews

Blog 51 ImageIn 2014, I began a series of blogs about a first-time writer who’s completed a fiction manuscript and is deciding whether to search for a traditional publishing contract or to self-publish. When I left off, I was writing about non-financial considerations like lifestyle and control.

This week I’m blogging about a writer’s access to media reviews, mainly from newspapers and magazines. I’m focused on the Canadian experience though all indications are it’s the same in many other places.

There’s no two ways about it. As a writer, it’s very hard to get discovered. It may not seem like it sometimes but the writing is the easy part.

So, devoting time to promotion is key. Even so, many writers do the same thing and the discoverability problem remains. One thing that can make a big difference, though, is strong reviews.

There are several sources of reviews: readers/customers, blog reviewers and review agencies, among others. However, many of us think first of the book or review sections in newspapers and magazines.

Here, though, there’s a real difference between being traditionally published and self-published. A traditionally published writer at least has a chance of getting reviewed in a newspaper or magazine. For self-published authors in Canada, it seems closed off. I haven’t found a newspaper or magazine here that consistently reviews self-published books. And if you know of one, let me know!

Presumably this is a function of too many traditionally published books for too few review spots; shrinking book sections; the gate-keeping function traditional publishers are seen to provide; and the sheer volume of self-published books.

Outside of Canada, I’m aware of one newspaper that isn’t foreclosed from reviewing self-published books: The New York Times. Good luck!

Copyright ©2015 Peter Fritze

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One thought on “Trad vs. Self-Publishing: Periodical Reviews

  1. Peter: The world of writing/publishing has changed materially since I took a stab at the literary world about 25 years ago. This was the pre-internet days and as it turned out the dawn of something new but unfortunately the end of something important to writers. Here I am referring to the publishing industry which was quite rich and diverse at one time. In Canada there were at least a dozen publishers of one stripe or another and many many publishing agents and intermediaries. Of course today it is ‘easier’ to self publish and self promote but with ‘ease’ comes a significant change in the competitive environment. Here of course I’m speaking of the many, many individuals who attempt to ‘self publish’. When I return to Canada (shortly) I’ll secure your book via Amazon and get a ‘review’ going. I’m sure that you will have a number of your readers doing the same. You might also want to check out methodologies for getting these reviews kicked up the browser chain. My sponsor Bill Andersen is somewhat of an expert in these matters and I’ll touch base with him (again upon my return). All for now and all the best. Patrick

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