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How This Is Going To Work

August 9, 2008

If you’ve self-published or vanity-published your book, and you’re confident that it’s good enough to compete with the books on the bookshop shelves, then send me a copy. You’ll find the submission details here.

I’ll read it as I would anything from the slush-pile. As I’m reading I’ll count the errors that I see, and once I get to fifteen errors then I’ll stop reading. I’ll include errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as problems with tense and point-of-view. If I don’t spot many errors I’ll read it for as long as it holds my attention: once my interest slips (and remember that I am known for reading the back of the milk-carton at breakfast, such is my need for reading matter), I’ll persist for another couple of pages.

I’ll post the title, author and sundry details of each book that is submitted to me, including the number of pages I got through before putting it aside (I hope the page-counts will end up as a league-table rather than a catalogue of shame).

If I finish your book I’ll write a review of it here, and recommend it to my friends. I can’t say that it’ll lead to fame and fortune for any of the writers that I review: but I hope it will give some encouragement, and a reason to keep writing.

Categories: the rules
  1. DOT
    August 10, 2008 at 8:57 am

    I am going to add your blog to my links if that is ok with you, though I wonder how many people will be brave enough to submit a POD to your ruthless eye.I feel tempted to submit a self-published S&M novel. I might then enjoy the lashing.

  2. August 10, 2008 at 9:21 am

    (Ooops. Deleted this last time, entirely by accident.)Congratulations, Dot: you made the first comment. Do link here, I’d be grateful for that.I wonder how many people will be brave enough to submit. If a writer considers their work good enough for publication then they should be confident that it’s good enough for me to have a look at too: after all, in this context I’m only a reader. I’ll not be harsh: but I won’t pretend that books are good when they aren’t. I’ve got a post about rules coming up soon, one of which is that everyone must be treated with respect here. I hope that’ll help reassure writers that this is a safe place to be.

  3. DOT
    August 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Done. :)(ooh and I am a first for the first time in my life. Another first!)

  4. August 10, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Your voice sounds like that of the former POD Critic. It would be interesting to see a few samples of your review work, if possible, since it is important for a writer to know that he or she is submitting to a reviewer who is receptive to their content and style. More important, since you have thrown down the gauntlet, we need to know that your work is of the same quality that you expect from ours 🙂

  5. August 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Anonymous, I find it interesting that you want to know my name and credentials but aren’t prepared to give your own.Moving on, I’ve not reveiwed online before so can’t give you examples of my work, but I can tell you that I’ve worked on the editorial side of publishing, and will review from the point of view of a commissioning editor rather than a book critic. As for whether or not I’m qualified to do this, you can be the judge. I’ve edited for HarperCollins, and several other houses. Part of that work involved selecting books for publication. I am satsified that my editing skills are at least on a par with those of writers who self-publish their work.

  6. August 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Hmm…a very defensive, borderline hostile response to what should be an essential piece of information. Anyone can throw up a page, claiming that they work here or there. If you are really concerned about those who need help the most your reviews would offer more than ridicule. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, let’s just say that you OWN HarperCollins. That doesn’t necessarily make you an effective reviewer, and if you are an editor who works with “the slush pile,” most likely you are not very high up in the chain.

  7. August 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Anonymous, I’m sorry if my comments appeared defensive or hostile to you: that certainly wasn’t my intention, but I doubt that you could honestly say the same.I’ve not suggested anywhere that I’m going to subject writers to ridicule: just that I’ll review the books that are error-free and which manage to hold my interest to the last page. If you have a look back in a couple of days you’ll be able to read a post about the rules I’m going to follow, which should make that quite clear. That you seem to think I am so dead-set against self-published writers implies that you came here with an agenda already fixed in your mind: it might be wise to give me a couple of weeks, and read a little more of my writing, before you condemn me. As for how far up the editorial food-chain I am: probably higher than most writers will ever get. I’m not going to defend myself for that: I’ve worked hard to get here. You’re right, you don’t know who I am, but no one is forcing you or anyone else to submit work for my attention, so if you don’t like the rules there’s no need for you to spend any more time here than you already have. Which is considerable: according to Sitemeter, you’ve already made six visits to my blog, and it’s only been running for about 24 hours. You’re my most avid reader. You must really like it to visit so often–even I haven’t been here so much! I could probably work out who you are by checking the few blogs I posted on last night, when this blog was still only a couple of hours old, and comparing their ISPs to yours: but frankly I can’t be bothered to play detective over something as inconsequential as a few blog comments.

  8. September 15, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    If you want to submit a book to the Self-Publishing Review blog, you can now email me at “hprw at tesco dot net”, putting “The Self-Publishing Review” in the subject field, and I’ll send you an address to submit to.

  9. February 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Email sent.


  10. Martin J Frankson
    February 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm


    You state “Submission details are in the bar on the right. Perhaps its my browser (I’ have checked this on Explorer, Firefox and Enigma though) but I don’t see anything to the right. I just blank off-green background space. I don’t see submission details on the left hand-side either (where all the links are).

    Can you put a link on the left hand side labelled ‘How to Submit’ or put a link within the ‘How this works’ section above?

    I do want to make avail of this service and despite the rather unfluffy tone of this site, what you are providing is unique and absolutely valuable.

    And its for free too

    Too many people unfortunately are lionised by friends and fellow bloggers and end up living in a fool’s paradise.

    thank you and I hope you don’t mind me pointing the submission details out

  11. Meg
    March 2, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Are you still running this program? I note that the original post was over two and a half years ago.

  12. Jane Smith
    March 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Martin, I think I’ve fixed that now–thanks for alterting me. The problem arose because I imported this blog into WordPress from its former Blogger home, and didn’t update this page.

    And Meg–you might want to look at the front page of this blog. That should answer your question. Ha!

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