A friend of mine's mother writes short stories, and they were looking for an inexpensive way to have them bound to share with friends and family. I just sent a link to Lulu.
While there, I figured I'd do some perusing to see what's new and interesting in the world of...
GAAAAAAAAH MY EYES!!!
Followed by sighs of incredulity.
Each and every one of the competently (not even well, just competently) written blurbs that I've read so far has been either from a book put out by a commercial press, or an anthology collection from a well respected magazine. Those are also the books that sport covers that don't make my eyes want to leap from my head and run under the sink, where blessed darkness may ease the burning.
Yes, I'm sure I'll hear 'there ARE well written self published books' recited back at me like the mantra that it has become. My response?
Who the hell wants to waste hours digging to find the one that appears at least competent? I clicked on about fifty links this morning. There was ONE self published fiction that looked well written, and it was only marginally fiction: a series of hauntings from one county in Tennessee. While marginally fiction, the book appears to be interviews and history, with a bit of paranormal speculation.
Every single other blurb that I read was swamped with awkward sentence structure, clunky writing, and in some cases, mind boggling spelling and grammar issues. If the blurb is incomprehensible, the thought of suffering through an entire manuscript by that writer makes my hands shake.
The only thing worse (or funnier, depending upon your taste) were the obviously shill reviews from friends and family, raving about how great they were. When a self professed non reader takes the time to say how 'grate' a book is, and how it was a 'page turner' without hinting at the story itself, that doesn't help sell a book. When 'a reader' waxes on about the skill of a writer (which is clearly belied by the blurb) with zero other thoughts to that book, it kills any semblance of reliability of that review.
Reviews CAN help you sell this thing to someone other than Aunt Edna, but only if that review feels realistic and balanced. I'd be far more inclined to take the chance on something that 'could've used another round of copy editing' or 'exposition fell flat in some places, but still an enjoyable story' far more than 'teh gratest book evar writen' and 'I couldn't put it down' without saying WHY. (Didn't that type of advertising go out of fashion in the mid 1980's?)
Used car commercial language is silly in used car ads. It's absolutely dismal in an obviously biased, poorly thought out review from a friend that wants to help. Honestly, it doesn't help.
And for dog's sake, do not give a raving review about your OWN book. It makes you appear a bigger ass than those other reviews.