The landscape of publishing has changed a lot since I started reviewing. Publishers that were big have gotten bigger, other big names have dwindled or disappeared, new publishers have come on the scene, and self-pubbing has emerged as source of great reading.
As a blogger, I’ve noticed these things. My metadata for each review used to contain the publisher name. It doesn't now. Somehow that became irrelevant a couple of years ago, and frankly, seemed like an insult to some great books to stick “self-pub” on there, so I dropped publisher's name completely. Which was weird, it wasn’t an insult. It was, once upon a time. But not when I read books like Manipulation or A Forbidden Rumspringa or Spokes.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many great books, and great looking books, that have only the authors’ names, or a mini-pub with one or two or three authors in their lineup. I’ve also seen books that seemed to be assembled by bears using Fortran. Some books seemed to be edited with only spellcheck, if that. Others had clearly been honed to maximum polish. Covers could be elegant or awful.
These exact same criticisms could be leveled across all the M/M publishers,and we all know which outfits are/were good at what.
I’ve altered my guidelines for sending books for review a couple of times in the last few years. The last time, I stated it as a challenge. “If you [self-pubbers] think your work stacks up to the m/m publishers, send it on.”
That was overstating the case for the reality of now, though it was necessary for the reality of when I posted that. Some of what I was offered in those days was awful, both on content and appearance. That challenge spared me some eye-pain. It could have cost me some good books. The general level of craft in publishing has improved.
An author recently contacted me, very cautiously because of that challenge. Had he been slightly more cautious, I would have missed out on a superior read and the promise of more, because it’s the first in the series. So thank you, Osiris Brackhaus, for making me think about what’s really important in choosing the books I read.
It isn’t a publisher name or an outdated idea of what publishers do. Some do it very well. Others have been dropped from my reading universe because I guess I do discriminate against Fortran-using predators. Sorry, guy.
So I redid the policy.
All authors and publishers are welcome.
That’s all. Anyone who wants to offer a good read in a well-formatted package, welcome. I'm not going to ask if the publisher is one person or a company with staff. I'm going to look at the file.
The book I nearly missed out on is Softpaw (Smilodon Pride Book 1). Five marbles.