The book review department at The Washington Post receives about 150 books a day.
Read that again.
150 books. A day.
These are books that had to find an agent, then a publisher, then be professionally edited, and then find someone willing to throw marketing dollars at them, because The Washington Post? It doesn’t review self-published books.
They’re not alone, of course. Few major media outlets do. But if you’ve ever wondered why, or screamed about the injustice of a policy like theirs, here’s some insight.
Roger Sutton, editor in chief of Horn Book magazine, recently penned an open letter to self-published authors, explaining more or less why Horn Book magazine doesn’t review self-published books. There are several reasons, which Ron Charles does a nice job of summarizing in his follow-up blog at The Washington Post.
But this one stands out:
A related problem is that while many, many people want to self-publish their childrenâ€™s books, far fewer actually want to read them.
Frankly, that’s not a problem limited to children’s books. Plenty of adult writers are more interested in publishing than in reading the work of their peersâ€”and plenty of others are more interested in publishing than mastering the craft of writing.
The numbers don’t lie. More than a half-a-million books are published in this country every year. Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, that’s an uphill climb if ever there was one. But the roadmap for success, for both, remains the same: study your craft. Practice your craft. Know your audience. Comport yourself professionally.
And for the love of all things sacred, use an editor. And a proofreader.