So who the Heck are you, to think you can tear my book apart?
Err… sorry about that…
My name is Anne, and I am a newly-graduated English/Psychology Major from New Brunswick, Canada. As an avid reader and would-be writer, I believe that self-publication has a lot of potential, especially for new and undiscovered authors who may be struggling to get acknowledged by the publishing industry. Unfortunately, there is a lot of content being produced and very little real attempt to analyse or promote any of it. Self-pub ebooks get a bad rap, in part because there’s no guarantee the book has been edited before being submitted for publication, and in part because people trust artificial gating to separate wheat from the chaff. The purpose of this blog is not to brutally attack self-pub novels, but to give my opinion on what I’m reading: what I enjoyed and what I hated.
English Major? So you’re looking for pretentious literary fiction then?
I won’t lie; there is a soft spot in my heart for pretentious literary fiction, but I also enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, horror, comic books, manga, and hackneyed amnesia plots. I will also admit to disliking most romance books and I try to avoid young adult novels where possible since I’m generally not their target audience.
So how do you decide which books are “good”?
I believe that good and bad are entirely subjective concepts, so while I do rate each book out of 5 stars, I try to avoid calling any book worthless or stupid. I also include two blurbs at the end stating who the book is recommended for, since my tastes are not representative of all readers.
I tend to read several things at a time, so I will be comparing your work to whatever other things I’m reading. As of this moment, that means comparing Apocalypse to The Stand, The English Patient, Lions of Al-Rassan, Iron Man, and Assault on Titan. If this sounds utterly insane to you, consider that people manage to follow the plots of multiple tv shows, video games, movies, etc. at a time without confusing the plots.
You’re comparing self-pub books to traditionally published books? That’s unfair! Those are written by established authors.
I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I believed that was an acceptable excuse. My whole purpose here is to showcase self-pub books that are just as good as traditionally published books. If you choose to self-publish because you believe that your novel isn’t good enough for traditional publishing, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t be surprised when critics call you out on it.
It’s kind of unfair for you to criticize my work when you’ve never published any of your own.
Fair enough, hypothetical debate partner. I may eventually share some of my own fiction for you, but for now I’d rather this remained a literary criticism blog. Until then, you’ll have to put up with criticizing my criticism. One of the great things about the internet is that it allows you to build a discursive community. If you think I’m dead wrong about a book, I’m hoping that you’ll tell me why in the comments, or on your own blog. Shoot me a link, and I’ll make sure to share it on that book’s post. I only ask that you focus on proving me wrong, rather than criticizing me as a person. I love hearing alternate perspectives, but like most human beings I dislike being verbally attacked.
You said that you also read a lot of traditionally published work. Will you be reviewing that as well?
Probably not. I try to review relatively new novels and things that haven’t been discussed to death. I’m not sure the world needs another post praising Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I may occasionally review something from a small, indie publisher, but for now I’m trying not to rehash something that’s already a national bestseller.
If you want to know how I’ve rated other works in the past, this is my Goodreads profile. Keep in mind that Goodreads uses a slightly wonky version of the 5-star rating, where 3 stars means that a book was good, rather than merely okay, so my Goodreads ratings will not always match the ratings you find on my blog.
Will you review my book? Can I use this blog for my blurb?
I don’t foresee myself becoming that influential, but sure! Just send me a digital copy of your novel. I don’t mind acting as a beta reader either, but in that case, you’ll need to send me a word file, pdf, or something else I can make notes on, and for goodness sake tell me that you don’t want it reviewed!
I’m citing your book on this blog. It’s only fair that you should be able to cite me in a blurb. You can quote anything I write about your book, so long as you cite ASP Reviews as a source.
How do you decide what to review next?
I will shamelessly admit to getting most of my books from Book Bub. What this means is that someone out there has already decided that these books are worthy of being read, much like the editors so many self-pub authors resent. I’m always on the search for new ebooks, but I’m largely limited to what comes on sale, and Book Bub is an incredibly useful tool in that regard.
As I’ve already stated, I try to steer clear of YA and romance novels because I feel unfair evaluating those genres. I also avoid later books in a lengthy series, erotica, and books with an overwhelming number of grammatical/spelling errors.
Can I add you as a friend on Goodreads?
Sure? I’m not sure why you’d want to, but you absolutely must see what I’m reading, or you’d like to recommend something for me to read next, you can totally be my reading buddy.
What do you do when you’re not reading/reviewing?
I also enjoy piddling around with my own fiction, singing harmony to pop-rock songs, and playing MMOs.