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Self Published Books? Do you accept them?

I know as bloggers many of us hear the words "self published book" and we shudder / want to run away screaming but why is that??

Is it the books themselves?
I think there is a bit of stigma to self-published titles. I know cynically in the back of my head when I'm offered one I will often think to myself that they only reason they are self published is because they couldn't find someone willing to take the book on because it is bad. I know that is an awful thing to think especially because of the very few self published titles I've actually read I really did enjoy them. In fact thinking back now the first title I ever reviewed for someone was Siobhan Curham's Dear Dylan which I really loved. Infact I loved it so much that I was ecstatic when I found out that Electric Monkey had picked it up to publish it (and even more excited to see that I was quoted in it!). Not to mention a certain American writer who has done very very well self publishing her titles on Amazon before picking up a publisher later down the line*
So to cut a long story short no it's not always the case that the books themselves are bad although they certainly can be.

*No I'm not naming names with this one - there's a long story behind why I'm not a fan. My blogging friends have heard that story to death.

Is it the authors?
One of the reasons why I no longer accept self published titles is because I feel under a lot of pressure. Often the author themselves is sending you the book and I feel like I can't review it how I want to because if I don't like it I risk their wrath. One of my blogging friends actually had a self published author name and shame her to another blogger (without realising they were friends) and I've seen goodreads blow out after goodreads blowout and don't really want to be involved in that scene. Not only that often emails asking for reviews that come out are so clearly generic and not geared towards my tastes that it's obvious that the author hasn't actually read my review policy (infact had they done that they wouldn't have sent the request in the first place!) But again on the flipside some of the self published authors I have dealt with have been lovely and so grateful for the support that I sometimes feel bad that I don't accept more self published titles.

So what is is bloggers? Do you read self published titles? Why? If not what puts you off?


CarlyB said…
For me it's mostly the unprofessionalism of the authors who have approached me. Obviously not all self-pubbed authors are unprofessional but I honestly haven't had a single half decent pitch from a self-pubbed author before.
I probably get between five and ten emails a week and usually my name is wrong, BCC hasn't been used and I can see the same email's gone to 50+ bloggers, the book is fantasty or paranormal romance... etc etc. I've had it plenty of times where authors have chased me up and sent me a stroppy email because I haven't replied to their original pitch or they've offered me compensation in exchange for a good review.
When I first started blogging I did accept self-published books but every one I got sent was such terrible quality I stopped reading them. Again, I know there are a lot of great self-pubbed books out there but I have such a big TBR pile as it is... Plus, I'm not keen on spending hours reading and reviewing a book when the author can't even be bothered to spend two minutes getting my name right and checking my review policy!
Basically, it's 25% the quality of the books, 75% the attitude of the authors who have approached me.
Aaaand end rant.
Christi said…
I think that I've accepted 3 or maybe 4 self-pubbed books in the 18 months I've been blogging. I generally have the same concerns that you do--in general I find that self-pubbed books lack polish--authors should be willing to have a friend/coworker/freelance editor look over their work.

I also agree that the generic form letter is a serious turn off. If you read my (admittedly brief) review policy, you'll see that I don't read fantasy or paranormal, but approximately 98% of the requests I get are for those genres. I have a separate email account for review requests, so I generally delete any that come in through my regular email. And if you misspell my name (which is THE NAME OF MY BLOG), I delete the email immediately.

Or am I asking too much??
If I have the time and the book does sound interesting to me then I will accept a request. But if the author can't even greet me by name or make a point of showing they have actually taken a look at my blog then I don't accept. The way I see it is if they can't take a few minutes to take the time to check out my blog, why should I waste 8+ hours of my time reading their book.
On the other hand I have met some fantastic authors who are genuinely nice and actually make a point of look around and are willing to wait for their review. Who's books are just as good as the company published authors.
Unknown said…
I have accepted and enjoyed a few self pubs. But again, for me to accept a book, You really have to sell me on it and the generic and vague emails make me not interested. If you can't write at a a DECENT email request. I am hesitant you can write a decent book.. but again, it all depends.
Daisy said…
I have the same prejudice against them as you mention at the beginning of your post, and I feel horrible about it! I've tried some of them before and most I feel could really use a round of edits or two before getting sent out into the world. Though I'm sure there are some great ones out there! I just haven't been lucky enough to come across those... Great post!
Hmm...this is really interesting, thanks for bringing it up in a post!
As a matter of fact, I have been accepting quite a few self-published books for review (mostly because I have problems saying no! But also because I like to give everything a chance - what if I refused to read a book that I might have ended up really loving?) I do agree with you with feeling a bit under pressure because of the fact that it is the author themself (mostly) who is sending you the book and, therefore, I feel a bit restricted in writing my review because I'm reluctant to upset the author (I know - I have problems with worrying too much about upsetting people!)
One thing that bugs me sometimes about self-published books is that they are often unedited/not really edited that well, meaning there are SPELLING and GRAMMAR MISTAKES! Maybe this is just me, maybe not, but I am rather strange in that I practically flinch every time I see a spelling/ grammar mistake, wherever it might be - in a book, a magazine, on a sign, in a friend's piece of homework...
So yeah! Thanks for bringing this up!

Catherine :)
Sarah said…
I will occasionally accept self published books but an author has to really catch my attention to make me want to read their book. Considering I get at least 40 requests per week from self-pub authors there is no way I could read them all even if I wanted to so a form email about a book that isn't even in a genre I like isn't going to make me say yes. I don't even have time to reply to all of the emails any more lol.

I have read a few really good self published books - ones that have been properly edited! - but I've also read some awful ones. One thing guaranteed to make me delete a request is bad spelling and grammar in the email. If you can't spell check an email it doesn't give me much confidence that your book is going to be any good! The couple of self published authors who I love and regularly buy new releases from are ones that all pay for professional editing and I think that is often the difference between a good self-pub book and a bad one.