Will Newspapers Review Self-Published Books? - Writer's Digest

Will Newspapers Review Self-Published Books?

Author:
Publish date:

Q: The book critic at my local newspaper mentioned in an article that she doesn’t review self-published books. Is this common procedure? Are there any major dailies that do?—Joyann Dwire

A: Some newspapers won’t review self-published books simply because they’re concerned about legal issues. Self-published books aren’t subjected to the rigorous editing process employed by publishing companies, particularly the legal and plagiarism issues that most concern newspapers. Publishing companies do all the legwork and guarantee the book is original, fact-checked and libel-free—after all, their reputation is at stake. And while you may have quadruple-checked your facts, newspapers can’t rest their reputation on your shoulders.

Of course, there may be some snobbery at play at some publications, as the odds of a newspaper being sued over a libelous book review are slimmer than Paris Hilton. But some newspapers insist it’s a legal issue and, like it or not, they have that right.

Not all major papers completely turn their backs on self-published books, though. John Marshall, book critic for TheSeattle Post-Intelligencer, says that while his paper is hesitant about it, the editors will review them from time to time. “It’s true that self-published books don’t have the editorial screening that commercial presses have,” he says. “But we’re willing to make exceptions. Often the ones we do mention have either sold well or won awards.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s book page content editor, Jim Knippenberg, takes a similar view. “We don’t have a blanket policy,” he says. “It’s on a case-by-case basis. If it’s a recognizable name, like a notable local person, we might review them. In that case, often we’ll do a piece focusing more on the author than the book.”

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.