I've come across a couple of great articles about self-publishing, the temptation every struggling writer faces. They confirm my earlier argument that most writers should avoid it. Paul Krupin at Direct Contact PR interviewed a long list of book reviewers about their feelings when they receive a self-published book for review. The article is here.
It isn't pretty. There were comments such as,
"They go to the bottom of the pile."
"Do not send them, I will not read them."
"So far I have not found one that I would recommend to any reader."
"Rarely do I examine such a book, the quality is likely unappealing to readers."
Ouch. The thing is, book reviewers cover books their readers are likely to read. Since self-published books rarely make it into bookstore shelves, and are usually ranked so low on Amazon that nobody sees them, readers aren't going to find them. A common theme among the responses was an aversion to the poor editing, self-indulgent plotlines, and amateurish cover art found on so many self-published books. There was also a distressing confusion between POD (a method for making books) and self-publishing (which often uses POD)
On the other hand, several reviewers said they occasionally found good ones, and that they're far more likely to review a self-published work if it has a local angle. Check out Paul's excellent article for more information.
Kel Munger, book reviewer for the Sacramento News & Review has an informative rant on the subject here. The skinny: if you're a worthy writer, you'll put in the time and effort and eventually you'll be rewarded.
It worked for me. Well, with my nonfiction. Apparantly I have more time to put in before my novels are up to snuff. I guess I could self-publish them, but then what? Sell a dozen copies?