Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fellow Travellers

If you are paying attention, you might notice that the list of links on the sidebar has changed slightly. Instead of merely linking to interesting blogs about POD and self-publishing, it is now linking exclusively to people who are making a contribution to the community. How? These people are taking it on themselves to review self-published work. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Interestingly, I made the decision to collect these reviewers after I got yet another email from someone pointing out their new blog, Fantasy POD. This person was inspired by my mission to seek out the best self-published science fiction (a search that is well under way, by the way) to create a blog so that he could review the best in self-published fantasy.

This trend in niche reviewing is inevitable. The Girl on Demand cannot possibly read all books in all genres; in fact, she specifically restricts what she is willing to accept. It was that restriction that led me to offer my services as a science fiction reviewer. Fantasy POD is setting up shop to accept fantasy. iUniverse Book Reviews accepts anything by an iUniverse publisher. Pub Guy, like the Girl on Demand, reviews general fiction and local Midwestern products.

If you know of anyone else (or if you, yourself, are willing to chip in with a blog of your own), please let me know so that I can send the links around to the various people in the loop. The concept of the Long Tail economy is centered around micro-niches - places where individual authors can find their perfect audience and flourish. Independant, anonymous, credible reviewers that target a specific genre are important, but they are just the start. The readers have to know that the reviewers exist as well, otherwise the exposure is still somewhat obscured.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, please take the time to post about me on your blog. I believe that a healthy self-publishing environment will only benefit the publishing industry in the long run. But the only way to prove that is to ensure that the environment becomes healthy, which means creating a positive, presentable, credible community. I have Opinions about what it will take to get there. I am happy to get constructive criticism; if an idea can not stand up under critical examination, then it will probably not stand up to real world conditions.

Edited to add: There are four more review sites on the sidebar now. POD People, P.O.D.Lings, None May Say and Gloomwing Magazine.

Son of edited to add: Pub-ioneer has also agreed to throw his reviewing hat into the ring. Stay tuned for genre and submission guidelines from that quarter. If you know a self-published author that is looking for reviews, send them in our direction. I've been expecting a deluge of inquiries, but I haven't more than a slow trickle so far.