Book Bits, my blog of links for readers and writers, I lamented the fact that with up to 300,000 books being published each year, many review sites and best books sites state that they only consider books from "major publishers." I understand the problem. I can't keep up either, and leaving out small-press books is an easy way to reduce the chaos.
Obviously, publications and websites want traffic, so that goal rather lends itself to looking at books everybody's talking about. On the other hand, I don't think it would be that difficult for some of the book sites to widen their horizons by changing the major-publishers-only approach to "we consider books from major publishers and selected small presses."
By saying "selected small presses," book sites could still control the potential tidal wave of ARCs and review requests that would arrive on their doorsteps if they had no gatekeeper rules in place at all. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than providing more publicity only to the books that are already getting the lion's share of publicity.
As a writer and reader of fantasy, I look forward to the day when more reviwers widen their horizons and admit the fact that some very good fantasy is coming from small presses. It won't be easy, for the publicity saturating the market from "big publishing" is very hard to resist. I can't resist it: the minute I read about Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus (Doubleday), I was hooked. I haven't read it yet, but I will.
On the other hand, with my horizons pushed outward just a little bit, I see that The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon Publications, June 2011) is also very tempting even though it probably won't get the same amount of play as The Night Circus in spite of its veteran author. The publisher's description includes this: In this long-awaited new novel from American Book Award winner Lisa Goldstein,
an ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic,
revealing the places between them.
I'm thinking, I must have it. I'm glad to see the book is doing well on Amazon even though some sites and reviewers are keeping their horizons so narrow they won't discover it. Such reviewers can do better, I think.