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Recommend me a great self published book


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Showing 251-275 of 378 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 14:20:53 GMT
Dan Holloway says:
I agree there was something brewing in the air back in 2008/9 when many of us met on Authonomy. I think the wider digital self-publishing world was incredibly exciting at that time because it was so new that there were ruls or preconceptions - no one trying to be "just as good as a traditionally published book" or, for that matter, trying to make it sales-wise (because at that stage there certainly wasn't a Kindle in sight in Europe, at any rate). People wanted to see what it was possible to do, and were jumping ship from a publishing mainstream they felt was tired and was cheating readers. Nowadays it seems the places that fed that excitement and creativity have dried up as a source of creative inspiration and have turned into discussions of how to be the same as the mainstream - which has its place, but leaves a lot of us looking for where we now fit in. I've turned largely to live performance in the past few years, which is one of the areas where there's still a sense of real excitement, but many are still self-publishing great stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 14:29:39 GMT
Dan Holloway says:
I find the whole thing really difficult, because I know and really like literally hundreds of writers. I've read something by pretty much all of them. And a lot of it is really good, but I try to only "recommend" work that I think is not just truly outstanding but would be of interest to people who follow my blog or know the kind of weird things I like. It's very hard, though, especially as I also run live shows and publish other people's work, because I get a lot of submissions from people I know, most of which aren't suitable because I work in a very small inche - that again is one of those hard things - working in a very narrow area is by and large the thing that has got me the little bit of attention I've had, but the more attention you get, the more there's pressure to move outside that niche, but if you do that you lose the thing that made you worth listening to in the first place. So I try to have some platforms like some of my live shows, and some exhibitions, where the whole point is to be as diverse as possible, and then I'll have other things like my publishing, and the articles I write for newspapers and magazines where I'll be absolutely niche and will only mention things within that tiny niche I think are genuinely outstanding. And I hope people understand what I'm trying to do enough that on the one hand writer friends don't get offended but most opf all readers know that if I actually recommend someone it's not because I know them but because I really, truly believe in them.

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 15:49:45 GMT
I'll give you an example: A while back I posted a rant on my blog. Suddenly, I had authors commenting and recommending each other's works. I was baffled. In a longer, heated discussion, it turned out they're a collective who recommend each other's books. The chosen books, to them, have some sort of 'stamp of approval'. I looked at the list, picked one book, started to read, liked it, until it became terribly repetitive and got on my nerves. I gave up on it.

To me, if you're part of a collective, you're dealing with people regularly. Who has the guts to tell an author of said collective that the newest book isn't up to scratch? I think it's a very difficult situation.

Apologies if there are any typos; I'm down with a flu.

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 16:57:38 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 25 Feb 2013 20:36:06 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 17:11:33 GMT
Marion Stein says:
For that matter, there are "collectives" and "collectives." I'm a member of a "collective" in that I used to be able to post on its website until someone changed the password and no one has been there in over a year. I think in order to get "in" you had to ask someone for the password to the website, and you had to have read and agreed with a manifesto. There was certainly no voting or formal process once I joined. (Maybe in the beginning, but not when I got there). Nor was there any approval process regarding other people's work, although some folks did use each other as beta readers. We didn't "deal" with each other regularly. There are some writers who also belong whose work I love (which I why I wanted to join). There are others whose work I keep meaning to get around to reading. I can't speak to other collectives or groups or writers banding together on websites. I just wouldn't make generalizations.

I'm tired of people assuming that a good reviews of self-published books all come from friends, relatives or review exchanges. When I read a good review and then read the book and disagree with the reviewer, I don't question the reviewer's objectivity, I question his or her taste.

As for telling people their books aren't up to scratch, I've certainly been less than gentle when people have sent me work before it's been published. (I think that's why they are sending it.) As for stuff after its out written by writers I "know" if they didn't specifically ask for my opinion and I didn't like it, I'd keep my mouth shut. If pressed, and if I might send them a critique, but not publish it as a review. That's not a special favor. It's just my policy on customer reviews. I only write them for books I'm enthusiastic about.

You are assuming it takes "guts" to tell someone their work "isn't up to scratch." I don't think pointing out flaws in someone's writing, or simply explaining that you didn't like it takes "guts." It's not personal. It's about the work.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 19:18:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Feb 2013 19:28:11 GMT
I think you're getting way too defensive here. I merely mentioned an observation I've made. I'm tapping into simple psychology: of course you're more inclined to like someone's work if you've exchanged a few (maybe more) words. If it's your type of read, that is.

Don't read more into my posts than there is: I never said all positive reviews are by friends and family or review exchanges, but there are quite a few who do it, even openly admitted/asked for it. But that's beside the point anyway.

Maybe I'm completely whacked up, because I find it difficult to find a SP read that engages me from cover to cover. I've peeked at many 'solid' recommendations from other Indies and none of them grabbed me. That's probably why I've never listened to recommendations in the first place. Always preferred to browse.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 19:57:58 GMT
Ethereal says:
"As for stuff after its out written by writers I "know" if they didn't specifically ask for my opinion and I didn't like it, I'd keep my mouth shut."

Perhaps that's what Stella meant by needing guts to speak out. As a reader I have no qualms giving honest feedback even if my rating of the work is low, after all it's for the benefit of other readers primarily; if the writer also happened to be a friend I'd probably leave it too, the time to speak out when it could have helped them with that book would have passed. Though I don't consider just chatting to other writers on anonymous forums makes them friends - however, there are other reasons to be wary.

"I don't think pointing out flaws in someone's writing, or simply explaining that you didn't like it takes "guts." It's not personal. It's about the work."

That's true and I think that's the problem. Many authors do take it personally. A critical review from a reader can be bad enough but if you're an author too you take the risk of spite reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:03:27 GMT
Nope, it's not what I meant. If a book is published, it's sort of 'too late' anyway. I won't say anything to an author if I chose to read a book without the author 'prompting' me.

I will be upfront when I'm asked for an opinion, though. I just found that Indies who regularly visit the fora and communicate with each other, have a tendency to read other's books and then recommend them, and I can't help thinking if the 'contact' they had might be a main trigger for it.
I might be wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:10:19 GMT
Ethereal says:
You not joining the short story "collective" on MOA, I notice your name was mentioned?!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:12:14 GMT
gille liath says:
As I said earlier - on this thread or a similar one - even if that's not being deliberately organised, there's no incentive for SP authors to pick holes in one anothers' coats, and every incentive to big each other up.

This discussion continues to confirm that there is hardly such a thing as someone disinterestedly recommending an SP book.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:16:52 GMT
Anita says:
Hey, gl, must you be *that* remorseless with naked truth? :)

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:19:22 GMT
Was it? No, I'm not joining.

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 20:21:23 GMT
Ethereal says:
It doesn't explain sp authors doing each other down or genuine reader reviews!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:27:29 GMT
donegalgirl says:
You aren't allowed to promote here - and you aren't allowed to review your own book either. The only thing that is hilarious here is your stupidity.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:30:09 GMT
donegalgirl says:
"I'm tired of people assuming that a good reviews of self-published books all come from friends, relatives or review exchanges.

But in practical terms that is the reality - particularly the family & friends reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:33:06 GMT
gille liath says:
Always happy to oblige, ma'am.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:36:39 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 25 Feb 2013 20:41:17 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:37:47 GMT
donegalgirl says:
At least I am not a cheat!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:52:06 GMT
Marion Stein says:
What could the incentive possibly be for plugging someone else's book if you know it to be lousy? How does that "big each other up"? If someone looks at the lousy book on my recommendation and finds it to be rotten, they are less likely to buy my "good" one. That sounds pretty self-defeating to me. I'm taking a risk when I recommend a book.

I'm not being naive, but how exactly would it benefit me to say someone else wrote a "great" self-published book if that wasn't true? It might benefit the reputation of self-published books if more "great" ones were known, but not more lousy ones.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2013 20:54:08 GMT
Marion Stein says:
That's an assumption on your part. I've seen some exceptionally lousy books with one or two five star reviews from close family, but good books with lots of reviews? Most people aren't that popular.

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 21:14:08 GMT
Liz says:
5000, Howard Steadman

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 21:51:48 GMT
versedabbler says:
I suggest you look at the self publishing sites like Lulu or Xlibris who have their own library and book store...you have not said what genre of book that you like so that makes a recommendation tricky "one mans meat...etc" but have you tried poetry for a change....now there is something different....if so try "the poetry society" web site where you will find many self published books on their "bookshelf"..hope this helps ...best of luck

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2013 09:36:22 GMT
Only a couple of my family and friends have read my books. Most refuse to, so I guess I'm quite lucky like that.

In reply to GL - "there's no incentive for SP authors to pick holes in one anothers' coats, and every incentive to big each other up."

I'd say that actually there is EVERY incentive for authors who have bothered to write a decent book to pick holes in the coats of those who have not. I for one have paid editors, proof readers, designers etc to make sure my work reaches a publishable standard. I am sick to death of being lumped in with those who don't. I'm trying to produce something like a precision milled engineering part so naturally I'm irritated when so many people assume, without even listening, that it's a piece of cheap plastic tat made in China.

Surely that's reasonable. So apart from a privileged few, I'm extremely leery about self published authors. Here are some reasons why.

1. I wouldn't want to be associated with rudeness. Some authors spam forums and dump links to their books in the middle of other people's conversations without even reading what's being said. I'm not one of those, although admit I'm an author and a huge swathe of on-line people will immediately assume I am.

2. I wouldn't want to be associated with the kind of typo-ridden rubbish that gets 'published' by some. But admit that I'm an author and immediately a huge swathe of people will assume my work is rubbish. It's not rubbish - it's not literary fiction, I'll grant you but it's not rubbish.

3. I wouldn't want to be associated with leaky plots and.... ah you get the picture.

In short, I would be foolish to associate myself with dross. If I worked for a bus company I wouldn't go round suggesting to everyone that they used the train.

HOWEVER... If, and it's a big IF, in the desert of complete cobblers I find a good book it is highly likely that I will make contact with the author. I like that I can talk to someone directly about their work so yes, if they are approachable, I will write and tell them I enjoyed their book and follow them on Twitter so I don't miss the next one. If I fall in with a group of like-minded authors who produce work that I think is decent then yes, I will recommend those. But I'll recommend them because I think their work is good, not because of the way it's published. Actually, looking at that, I think all the books I recommend are by people who have publishers. Hmm....

There you go, anyway, that's my twopennorth.

Cheers

MTM

Trust me, it is surprisingly easy to say 'no' to return reviews, back scratching and all the other rubbish if you don't like the books.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2013 12:13:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Feb 2013 12:14:48 GMT
gille liath says:
Well, you obviously see yourself as being in a slightly different category, having garnered a certain amount of recognition. Nevertheless, wouldn't it be fair to say you're firmly part of the authors' gang on here? I don't want a fight about it, but I don't see how there can be any objectivity there. Or are you saying you'd only ever become chummy with people whose books you earnestly admire?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2013 18:17:21 GMT
Blimey, recognition? Mwah ha hahargh! Steady on gillie, you haven't seen my sales figures. I do see myself as different in that I try to be honest with everyone.

Actually on the objectivity front, really, honestly (I'm probably mental) but no, I don't have any trouble at all. So far I haven't picked a read with a rubbish plot so it's not been so tricky.

It is true that I've responded to people on these fora, after reading the sample, saying, 'look mate, this isn't ready for publication, get yourself an editor and put it up again.' Only politely.

It's also true that I have also bought books, read them and then written to the author saying, I loved your book but I know the name of this really good editor... In fact I've done that more than once.

There are authors on here who I get on with well but whose books I don't recommend because they're not my bag. I wouldn't say that means the stuff isn't good, it just isn't stuff I get on with. And ask Stella, who happily admits that my books aren't her cup of tea! Conversely there are many who I've never 'met' who I'm happy to recommend.

Most of the authors I hang out with, in so far as I do, are fellow fantasy or sci-fi authors. It's no different to any other type of 'work' in that way. The 'workplace' is virtual but you still stop for silly conversations every now and again - except we do it in the meet our author's forum, rather than the corridor.

On the whole where I've fallen in with folks it's because we've read and enjoyed each others books, we get on and so yes there's probably a bit of a mutual appreciation society. So yes, with those folks, where I like their books, I don't hesitate to recommend them. I don't review them on here as Amazon rules state that I'm not allowed to. Even if I've read and really liked an author's first book, I don't recommend their subsequent ones until I've read them. I might say that I'm going to read it because I loved the first one but that's not the same thing. I hope.

In a nutshell then, objectivity is not a problem. Then again, I enjoyed the kind of pre-writing career and life that has let me unfazed by prospect of telling people things they don't want to hear.

Cheers

MTM

Sorry this is a bit abstruse as replies go...
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  109
Total posts:  378
Initial post:  25 Jan 2013
Latest post:  23 Aug 2013

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