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Self Publishing...time for quality assurance.

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Showing 1-25 of 150 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 13:27:47 BDT
Marion Stein says:
I disagree. I think most good writers have self-critiquing skills, but these are SKILLS. They don't come naturally. It's helpful to start out getting critique and opinions from others. This usually comes from other writers, which isn't necessarily ideal. Some of the critique will be worthless, but over time you can see what keeps coming up again and again. There are also many workshops and courses taught by experienced, published fiction writers where your work will be assessed by them, and they will lead the class in assessing others work. Again, not EVERYTHING will be useful, but over time you'll learn your strength and weaknesses and what to look out for in your work.

Another thing happens when you begin to send work out. You may receive rejection letters that actually contain information about what worked and what didn't. If you're really lucky and something -- a book, or even a story is accepted, it may be edited for publication and you'll see what the editor cut or where his/her notes were.

All this should "teach" you to look at your own work more objectively and make revisions BEFORE anyone else sees the work. It should also make you more accepting of what others say and better able to assess what critique is useful.

Posted on 13 Jun 2013 10:48:11 BDT
M Byrne says:
Sherlock, you can check mine out, here

...Hmmm! link not showing blue, if it doesn't take you there, just type Fatman Butter into search at top of page. Then email me: stevepbyrne @

Everyone else, sorry about using this as a private message board.

Posted on 13 Jun 2013 10:34:44 BDT
Backbarrow says:
I have no idea where this discussion is going. Wherever you are complete the novel and take it there. Take it easy edit kinda slow. Be honest and true. If it does not entertain start again.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 22:54:20 BDT
Sherlock says:
Why don't I edit one of your Fatman Butter books? And in return you can edit my work. OK, neither of us are professional editors but we have a lot of experience with writing and we can tell (probably) what works and what doesn't work, where the story is a little 'thin' or predictable or where characters stretch credulity. I'm offering another pair of eyes over your material with suggestions and comments that occur. And you could do the same for my work. Then you don't need to spend $2000. What say you? Here's the product link to mine. Abduction!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 08:57:54 BDT
Backbarrow says:
Thanks Nav. My own odd but true 'Publisher' story occurred in 1972. I was in London and had written a novel. Took a punt and dropped it off at the London office of a not so well known Publisher. Received a phone call and picked it up. The guy came outside to smoke a cigarette and we talked for almost half an hour about books. His final comment was " should I write some more he'd be interested." Years went by and I never communicated. Then recently I looked them up on the Net. The guy I talked to is now well known. That Publishing house today has the rights to all James Bond novels. I suppose my point is never say die.

Posted on 2 May 2013 16:06:00 BDT
M Byrne says:

Just saying as by-product of mention of shorts.

Hear what your saying, but I'm thinking all exposure is a good thing---certainly not a bad thing, and you never know when a couple of published shorts on your CV might be the sway factor in getting you somewhere you want to be.

Anyway info is yours to use or ignore as you choose

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 15:53:09 BDT
Cheers, M Byrne, but I'm not really sure why you're telling me this. I don't want to take part in any collaborations, nor do I submit to anyone. I have my own collections and publish them myself, under my name. I'm happy to do this and so are my readers. I have my doubts that one story in a collection will result in thousands of sales of my other. :-)

Posted on 2 May 2013 14:54:08 BDT
M Byrne says:
Stella, All

A heads up for your short stories. As I mentioned somewhere earlier, I recently had a short accepted for publication, this was by, SPARK: a Creative Anthology. This is an eclectic quarterly publication, and its chief editor has two goals. 1/ to provide feedback to everybody that submits; (I know he has been swamped by submissions, so whether he is still able to hold to that I can`t tell you). 2/ to increase the standard payment for submissions. (This is something he cannot do at the moment, as he has financed the venture from his own pocket and donations. I gave my fee to his kick-starter fund, being more than happy just to be published in a quality publication alongside established authors). Also he accepts poetry submissions, which in the publication are interspersed with the short the stories. Almost forgot, all submissions are put to several house readers, so everything gets a fair crack at being accepted.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 09:52:18 BDT
Yes. One of their authors/reviewers sent me a long e-mail listing a lot of things he thought is wrong with my book (he thought I'm a first-time writer and needed to lecture me by telling me how well read he is). I went to take a look at his writing and found that all his dialogue punctuation is wrong. And the writing didn't smack me of particular brilliance either. Laughed and deleted his e-mail. He didn't want to write a public review (2 stars) I said he should.

I don't take sites like that seriously. I submitted my shorts to them as Al reviewed them with 4 stars. They took it on. Later on I received two 4-star-reviews for both of the 'rejected books' and could have sent them over again, but really couldn't be arsed. Having the shorts on that site didn't do anything for sales. I suspect it's not doing much for other authors either.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 09:35:58 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
yes, what's really dangerous about some of these sites is the way they advertise one thing to readers but do another in practice - so they will say "this is where to find "the best"" (whatever on earth that means) but will then do things like you mention, rejecting something just because of its POV (I have to say I didn't realise they'd do that, that's just ridiculous and surely makes a mockery of any claims a site would make)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 22:58:32 BDT
There's judging on merit and there's judging on personal taste. If sites reject books because of a certain POV it's dangerous. I hated a few very popular books, but if given to me based on merit, I'm sure I could have found positive things to say.

On the other hand, I don't care about other people's opinions on books. I read what I like.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 22:34:48 BDT
Anita says:
Considering that Dogme was quite short-lived.............. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 22:22:15 BDT
TomC says:
Sounds a bit like a literary version of the Dogme rules for film: live sound and handheld cameras only, no tripods allowed.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 22:18:28 BDT

I think sites like Awesome Indies are a little weird. They rejected one of my books (one of their readers, not reviewers) because it didn't engage her.
Right. If that were the case I could rule out about 95% of all published books for me. They just didn't engage me. They may, however, be great books.
Readers told me they cried reading the book. Who's right?

Oh and they 'rejected' another one because it's written in 3rd person omniscient POV. I don't care one bit, but it's quite funny.

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 15:42:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2013 14:22:05 BDT
Marion Stein says:
No wonder people who participate in these fora who aren't also authors get so fed up with these threads! It's not only mostly authors talking, but also other NOT disinterested parties. No offense to people offering "author services" but you do have a vested interest in suggesting that paid editors are a must, and can't possibly be replaced by beta readers, no matter what their qualifications. The point is, in this brave new world of digital self-publishing the "editors" may be no more qualified than the "authors."

Sites like Awesome Indies also involve self-appointed critics (who are also authors). You may trust them, but they are no more reliable than sites like Big Al's and Pals, or any other.

A couple of years ago, getting reviews on blogs for a well-written indie was fairly easy. You just had to ask. It's now gotten as competitive as trying to get an agent to read the work. I'm also not sure what good it does. My last five-star review on Big Al's Books and Pals may have only netted me ONE sale.

I can't imagine asking myself as a reader: "What great self-published novel can I find today?" OR deciding to look through the 99 cent "stacks" for something. However, every once in a while something worth checking up does pop up on my Amazon recommendation, or I hear something mentioned (by someone other than the author) on a forum. Even then, I check it out for myself before buying. That's the best "quality assurance."

The problem is of course some good (even great) books may slip through the cracks.

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 14:19:38 BDT
Quality assurance for indies does require human eyes to actually read the book. I can't imagine software that can assess art, even if some exists to assess grammar. There are a few organisations springing up for vetting indie books though. The IndePENdents is one of them, and they have a catalogue of vetted books at

Awesome Indies is another site that gives a 'seal of approval' after books are read by their own readers.

There are a few others. The need has been recognised, but there are a LOT of books out there.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 14:44:57 BDT
Hi Marcus,

To test it out, upload a file full of mistakes and see if it picks up all of them.


All my books are written in British English (as opposed to American English), and the spell checker is obviously smart because it doesn't differentiate between colour and color, enrol and enroll etc. Which is quite useful because I decided to allow both forms (British English and American English) in the Forever series of anthologies.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 13:23:41 BDT
I use LibreOffice and can change the spell checking for BE; it's just the online spell-checker in Firefox that's giving me grief. Doesn't help much anyway, even if it were BE, as I still manage to post posts with errors on Facebook or anywhere. I have to read all of my posts twice only to find an error a few minutes or hours later. I'm such a genius. lol

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 13:03:10 BDT
Absolutely agreed, Stella.

That's why I always turn off all the auto-correct options when I start using a new PC ...

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 12:47:33 BDT
I think that has been introduced some time last year or at least a few months back. I can't remember if it was already 'in action' when I published Rage. But I agree with Mary that I'd rather do my spell checking myself (via Word) as the AE online spell-checker always flags up my BE spelling, that damn bastard.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 12:31:12 BDT
When did they introduce that, Shelagh? I uploaded something about a month ago and didn't notice that ... unless, of course, they didn't find any possible errors (which is good!) ...

Sounds like a great idea ... so long as they don't then make arbitrary decisions about correcting those possible errors! :-)

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 12:15:26 BDT
Amazon sent me an e-mail (a while back) that, apparently, the formatting in Rage Against the Indie is wrong. After months of being 'live'. I have it formatted differently because of the examples I use. I guess someone complained to them to make a point. I meant to go through it ... Might do it next week, trying to format it so it's easier on the eye. It also said that my TOC didn't work, which is weird as it worked when I used it on my Kindle. :-(

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 12:11:00 BDT
That's an interesting feature. Though my typos are more heel for heal, and the like and that's not going to be picked up. Same with your/you're. Word has a spell checker, if anyone's too stupid to use it, then they can't be helped.

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 11:14:07 BDT
ISW, I didn't know you could still submit as word. I convert it to a .prc using mobisoft, admittedly, from a Word file formatted for Smashwords and put that up. I have a kindle though so it's easy to check it first before I go public.

Shelagh, that's very worrying, because there is no way in a million years that Amazon will tolerate British spelling so all my correctly spelled, professionally edited books will be classed as sub standard straight off.

Ho hum.



Posted on 27 Apr 2013 10:38:31 BDT
M Byrne says:
A very positive suggestion from Ishouldbewriting. You would think Amazon could have a detection which would bring up an alert instructing (step by step) how to convert your document to the right format. I'm just coming to the end of my final edit so will be finding all the conversion problems next week. At the mo my document is Open-office, OFD, I know it has to be PDF and I can see a PDF on the toolbar. I am hoping it's just a simple click, but never having used it...guess I'll find out. The only info I have found on Amazon is a page made up of scraps by others who have encountered problems, which is nice of them, but after reading a few becomes confusing.

Anyone got advice on...I'm planning on going Create Space, as I want to go print as well as E, once I do download, would I be right thinking that that my chapter headings/spacing is going to shift.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  33
Total posts:  150
Initial post:  17 Apr 2013
Latest post:  13 Jun 2013

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