Reviewing Self-Published Books & Where To Find Your Next Read

Mabuhay, friends!

I was inspired to write this post after reading Let’s Talk Bookish topic on Should Reviewers Go “Easier” on Self-Published Authors?

What are self-published books?

Self-published books are books where the authors are ones who handle the entirety of their books publication, without the help of a publishing company, and its release. Some examples of self-published authors are Jenna Moreci, Rob J Hayes, M.L. Wang, J.C. Kang, and many more.

I am, generally, very open to reading and reviewing self-published books. But in comparison to traditionally published books, I am way more critical of the self-published books I pick up. Though I am a part of many FB groups dedicated to self-published and indie books, I find that I no longer rely on word of mouth and the Amazon best-selling tag when picking up a self-published book.

Choosing a book or adding it to my TBR rarely depends on how the book is published but rather on, one, the premise, and secondly, what the reviewers I trust say about the book. In fact, it was through Novel Notions that I found out about The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang!


Were I not a book blogger, I would have the time to pick any which book but when you have a list of ARCs and backlists you want to get on, it is a bit difficult to throw caution to the wind.

Do self published books affect how harsh I am with my review?

That’s not an easy question to answer, for me at least. I do believe that I have a certain bias when reading self-published books especially when that book has less than 1,000 reviews on Goodreads. I do know that when I first got into reviewing I was lenient towards self-published books but by doing so I didn’t feel my reviews were credible. It didn’t help that some of the books I reviewed would be provided directly by the author and knowing that they are only a one-person team as compared to a traditionally published book, I feel bad about being harsh.

That is another reason why I have become more critical of the self-published books I choose to read. I don’t want to be lenient because of the path took to get published. At the end of the day, it’s the writing and the story told that I’m reviewing, not the author. With that said, one of my goals for the Goodreadance 2020 challenge is to go through past indie books I’ve read and re-review them.

🌸 Spring Cleaning My Book Collection – My September #goodreadance2020 Action Plan

I now prefer purchasing self-published books for my Kindle rather than requesting review copies which, I’ve found, has made me be better with the way I review self-published books.

How do I find more self-published books?

This list is targeted towards fantasy readers because that is the genre I am most familiar with.

🌸 Author Rob J Hayes publishes a monthly book list of the upcoming self-published fantasy reads. His recent post is the September Self-Published Fantasy Releases.

🌸 Facebook groups are a good resource especially one like Indie Fantasy Addicts which not only promotes self-published fantasy books but also hosts a yearly summer indie reading challenge.

🌸 I like to stay up to date with the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition which was created by Mark Lawrence.

🌸 Check out the Self Published Fantasy Month twitter account for recommendations and interviews.

🌸 Are you more picky with self-published books?

🌸 Do you think it’s fair to be lenient towards self-published books?

If you enjoy my work here at Camillea Reads, consider helping me by donating to my buying me a coffee through ko-fior joining my Patreon.

11 thoughts on “Reviewing Self-Published Books & Where To Find Your Next Read

  1. riv @ small stained pages says:

    I used to read a lot of self-published books from requests and I think that scared me a bit from that category because I ran into the problem of saying yes even when the books didn’t interest me. I think now that I’ve been re-entering the blogging community and also (kind of) have a better perception of my limits as a reader and my reading tastes I’ll definitely have to look into self-published books because there are so many gems as well (I need to read Sword of Kaigen ASAP!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charvi says:

    Such an interesting post! Usually I don’t look close enough to figure out if a book is self-published, more often than not I don’t realise if they are self-published or not. For the ones I am aware of, like Descendant of the Crane and 100 Days of Sunlight, usually rating isn’t an issue because for some reason I mostly love the self-published books I read. However, there was one point when I was asked to review a self-published book which was going to sort of contribute to a horse charity and I absolutely hated it because it had some harmful tropes and the plot itself made almost no sense and was cringey. I did end up rating that harshly even though I felt bad for the author but I had to be honest. I’m actually not sure what I’ll do whenever I come across and average self-published book. It’s an interesting thought for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

      Oh wow, I didn’t know Descendant of the Crane was self-published?

      That’s why I’m gonna be more picky with the books I choose cause I really hate the dissonance that comes with reviewing ahaha That is is an interesting question! An average book would be so much harder to rate for sure, especially since I’m trying to stay away from 3 stars.


      • Charvi says:

        Ashshhsjsj ignore my idiotic brain, DOTC was traditionally published, it’s just that Joan did so much of the promotion herself that my brain thought it was af published 🤦🏻‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dani @ Literary Lion says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to be more lenient to self-published authors, and I actually think it’s sort of disrespectful to be. It’s saying “as a self-published book you cannot expect to be as good as traditionally published work”. I treat all books I read the same. If an author chooses to self-publish (and there are countless reasons for this) I will still grade them the same way I would traditionally published books.
    I’m glad to see we mostly feel the same way and I’ll have to look into some of the good ones you’ve discovered!


  4. Vanessa Sprankle says:

    Wow thanks for writing this! I am working on my first novel and figure I will probably self publish. I would hate for a review to go easy just because that’s how the book got out. And ANY review is good, because it is proof someone took the time to read the work. I am really new at all this so thank you for the links you provided.


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