It seems like only yesterday that The New York Times declared they wouldn’t dirty-up their venerated best seller list by including self-published titles, and now—lo and behold—there’s one featured on the front page of this week’s Sunday’s Book Review.
But before you go and get all excited about what this seismic shift might mean, we should point out that the title, A Hologram for the King, was written and published by Dave Eggers, author of seven books—including the well regarded (and, not coincidentally, traditionally pubbed) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Zeitoun.
The fact that Eggers also happens to have “established” McSweeney’s Books—responsible for publishing the title that the Times reviewer calls, “a kind of Death of a Globalized Salesman‘, alight with all of Arthur Miller’s compassion and humanism”—is casually mentioned on the inside page of the review, as if writing and self-publishing a great book was a regular occurrence.
Which, we’re here to tell you, it is.
While we totally agree that Mr. Eggers book may be “supremely readable”, “haunting, beautifully shaped and sad”, we would argue that there are many fine writers who—sometimes by choice, sometimes not—end up self-publishing their work. The unfortunate part is that getting those books reviewed— in The New York Times or any other mainstream publication—is, shall we say, not a regular occurrence.
Yes, dear book reviewers, it is harder to wade through titles that don’t have a traditional publisher’s imprint and yes, it does take time to sort the good from the terrible. But resources such as IndieReader were created to make that task less odious.
So, in celebration of Dave Egger’s front page New York Times review, we invite book reviewers at other big traditional media outlets to find out what they’re missing. To take a chance and review a self-pubbed book, perhaps somewhere between the time they make it onto your bestseller lists and before their authors are signed by one of the Big 6. And we humbly submit that by not taking a chance on these books, it’s not just the indie writers who are short-changed, its your readers, as well.