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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2012 16:18:50 BDT
M. T. McGuire, Yes, there is a growing feeling that cheap books are rubbish, which is odd considering that many indies price their books low simply to test the market.

For readers, Amazon has many safeguards - the look inside feature and money back within 7 days, so I can't really understand the problem some readers have with indies.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2012 16:22:51 BDT
Anita says:
Joanna: time

In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2012 16:30:34 BDT
Ah now THAT, I can understand! I'm a stay at home mum with a 3 year old. When he is at nursery it's heads down, there was a point, when he was there less but equally lively, when I resented the time I spent in the loo on free days.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2012 19:30:06 BDT
DC says:
Thankyou, Stella. Forgive me, if I'm mistaken, but I assume this is directed at me. I feel it's a little unfair, since I did thankyou, and revise my MS for any similar errors. I was genuinely grateful for you pointing it out, I want my MS to be of the highest standard possible. As for the same mistake in my reply to you, not proof I haven't 'learnt', just a cheap shot. From this, I conclude it's more a case of if YOU want to read into a post what isn't there...

Posted on 25 May 2012 21:08:51 BDT
Some trad published authors have now taken back copyright of their books and uploaded them as 'Indie' books. It's worth looking out for these books as they are less likely to have errors. You can google them and see if there are any 'authoratative' magazine or newspaper reviews for the paperback version.

(Amazon.com have a section for 'Editorial Reviews' on the book page above the product description, but unfortunately Amazon UK don't have this facility. )

Posted on 25 May 2012 21:24:29 BDT
Mary Bale says:
Thank you Stella for your welcome. I have just been able to return to catch up with the thread.

Posted on 25 May 2012 22:53:54 BDT
Mary Bale says:
Stella,
I did read the first post and many of the others. I made notes on some of them and the resultant post was my reaction to these. Expressing some of the issue which may effect content. There was discussion about whether it was best to have a print version of one's e-book so I gave my experience of this. I understand from the guidance from Amazon that it is important to realise a thread has moved on. It might have been a little compact but I was on lunch break!

I hope this helps explain my content and apologise again for any difficulties it may have caused.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 00:02:29 BDT
No, no, don't you worry, I have a no-voting fan club. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 00:11:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 00:33:36 BDT
The thread just jumps back and forth, Mary. I'm just a bit annoyed with many people just dropping in, talking about their experience re self-publishing, and then either place links to their books or say something along the lines: please have a read, if you like. That's a plug, too.

The initial question was and still is: how do readers see the self-publishing movement. Threads always derail a little, I assumed you misread the title and just jumped right in, as many do since there was no quote, if you know that I mean? You will see I now replied to your post. :-)

All good, cleared it up. I rather tell people what I think than using the no-vote button.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 00:15:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 00:34:00 BDT
You see, Dan, had you just said thank you. Fine. I thought the 'you misquoted me' a little off-putting. And I think that was definitely there. I didn't even quote you one bit, apart from the name as I could remember that from reading the first chapter.

My initial reaction, by the way, was to the plug, you cheekily placed.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 08:02:42 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 26 May 2012 08:04:22 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 08:05:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 09:41:22 BDT
DC says:
I apologise for the plug, Stella, I had no idea that wasn't allowed. If I had, I wouldn't I have included it - and have now deleted it. I am also sorry if my reply sounded cheeky or sarcastic, I assure you that was unintentional. I realise that there must be number of contributors who take offence to advice or criticism, I'm not one of them. It was helpful advice, and again, I thankyou. I think I have a firmer grasp on grammar than many, but am not above making mistakes, or admitting to them. than many, however, when posting and the like I am speaking informally.

With reference to the original thread, to which my original response was positive towards SP as a platform, I would say that my experience, though not as extensive as others, it largely pain, due mainly to other points raised here. Sometimes poorly written, sometimes poorly conceived, sometimes both. My reading time is valuable to me, so I try not to waste it, but a lot can be learned from good and bad.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 08:13:28 BDT
LoveBooks says:
M.T., I'm also a stay at home mum to an almost 3 year old. He doesn't go to a nursery yet but is going to school this year and possibly a toddler art workshop in the summer. :)

Posted on 26 May 2012 08:54:52 BDT
LoveBooks says:
I need to catch up with this thread but need to rush... Before I go, I want to wish everyone a GREAT weekend! x

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 09:52:15 BDT
All fine, Dan. :-) See, I'm someone who points things out. From what I've seen, your writing seemed adequate, but I didn't read deeper, just flew over it when I saw the commas missing. (I see it now in your reply which, trust me, has me smiling.) And hopefully those who didn't know about it will read our exchange and dash off to correct the error in their mss, too. :-)

Your answer did indeed sound snarky, but then so was I. You most probably have a better grasp on grammar than I have, but since your mother tongue is English, I expect nothing else. Ha! Admitting to mistakes is no shame, we all do them, but learning from them is strong. Unlike you, by the way, I pointed errors out in e-mails in the past and got comments back like 'The reader won't notice or probably won't mind.' No kidding.

Re self-published books: absolutely with you on that. If you are time-constrained, it's even more important to read a book you can thoroughly enjoy, or not toss into the corner after 20%. It's really frustrating if you start ten books to actually be able to enjoy one.

Posted on 26 May 2012 09:53:57 BDT
i'm a reader - tried writing short stories years ago but even i was bored by them so i knew that wasn't for me :) i do paint though and love it and we have the same discussions re pricing....
anyway back to books - i've read thousands via library and have maybe 1500 at home, LOVE my books since i began to read aged about 6 - buy them when on offer, from charity and secondhand shops, ebay etc re read my favs over and over so i never never thought kindle would be for me but april 2011 him indoors bought me one for my birthday - i think he had visions of ceilings collapsing with weight of books....and was fed up of the dusty towers where i run out of bookshelves. i haven't bought a print book since except for ones in a sereis where for some odd and annoying reason some not on kindle.
i've read on kindle ones by my old fav authors and loads of indie ones and found some real gems. i check free lists daily and download whatever i think i might like - yes there is some rubbish but if i'm not sure i flick through sample - even thats not foolproof but if it hasn't cost me then i don't worry about giving up on it. i've around 250 unread ones now and have about 800 books altogether on my kindle - grammar and punctuation are real big hitters for me ( and yes i make lots of typos online - i can spell and am literate but my fingers have the nasty habit of hitting wrong keys - or as eric morcambe would say - the right keys just not necessarily in the right order!) i get really annoyed about continuous errors - have pointed obvious repeated ones out politely to a couple of indie authors and had very positive response. i can understand that proofreading is an out of pocket expense for some writers - its very similar to why my artwork is mostly seen and for sale online only - framing and preparing for conventional exhiboitions, plus costs of getting there and back and insurance means i simply couldn't afford to paint if that was my only sales route. online i can offer work unframed and that menas buyer can save money and choose frames they like, so using that analagy i'm happy to be used as a proofreader for minor errors but not for continous obvoius ones that are simply hallmarks of sloppy, lazy, unprofessional work.
i'd be really sorry for any indie author to be put of self publishing because of expense or feel they have to have print books too - though again thats coming down as it gets more popular.
always remember indie authors - how many rejections did jk rowling get before finding a publisher ??? if she'd given up a whole genration of kids and genre spawns of her work wouldn't be here. if kindle had been around when she was writing at first i'm sure she'd have gone that route and been a sucess so much sooner.

things i look for in a book -
length - seems many indie authors write novellas rather than full length books - thats fine if book makes it clear but i hate to think i have a book when its an extended short story.
Good punctuation and grammar, good spacing and paragraphs - makes it easier to read rather than huge blocks of text.
i like dialogue based books esp those written in first person but sometimes when there are lots of pages of speech its not easy to work out who is saying what...so every now and then an "xzy remarked" or similar helps rather than going back and working out line by line...
continuity of quality, some books i've read - and one recently - seem to be great at beginning and fizzle out as they go along with the big secret referred to constantly being dealt with near the end over a few lines and in such a simplistci way that its a let down. its almost as if author wriote themself into a hole they couldn't get out of.
i like books with not only the main plot but some smaller subplots to hold interest and if its a sereis i am happy for new lines and characters to be introduced but HATE WITH A VENGENCE being left on a real cliffhanger - a bit of a suprpise yes but not when it feels like the book has stopped before the end. esp with authors that write one book per year...
well, thats my input!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 10:02:18 BDT
Ditto, Natalie. I mean the wishes for the great weekend. I need to get to the garden later, but I already have a sun burn. That's what you get for showing off your um.. cleavage, but we might get another addition to our jolly project and I'd rather be there, since I spoke to her yesterday. She saw me pottering around with my secateurs and seems keen to take part.

Lovely book title, by the way: Pottering around with secateurs. Just you watch, I might even bring out a book on gardening one day.

By the way, I'm reading (almost finished even) a book at the moment, self-published, which has good grammar and punctuation, but I can't figure out what genre it should be. The blurb clearly states romance, but it has elements of crime in it. Weird. I thought it might be something Cente Stage sort of books as I enjoy dance movies, particularly with ballet in it. Rather disappointed. It has to do with dance, but doesn't much circle around the dancers or the dance school. I'm skipping a lot. Plus it had 'making love' in it, which I loathe. Not the act itself, but the expression 'making love'. Urgh! Terrible. lol

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 10:11:15 BDT
Wow! Thank you for sharing this. And welcome to the thread. Nice to meet you. :-)

Really good input and perhaps the same issues I have with books. The starting strong than getting weaker and weaker. Hate that. And a cliffhanger is terrible. I love my books, even in a series, to be able to act as stand alone novels. Re spacing: I don't mind having a huge block of text, was the same in print books back then. Doesn't put me off, in fact, I find the space irritating. But that's something everyone has to decide for him- or herself.

Posted on 26 May 2012 10:19:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 10:20:37 BDT
Being a self published author I am biased. I read a lot and I can generally get a good feel for a book from the way it is written in the look inside feature. I know fairly quickly if the style grabs me. Clearly though character and plot development cant come through with that. My view is that you wont please everyone as our reading tastes and styles are all different. For me self publishing was the only real option as I write in a specialist field (know yourself, esoteric, philosophy) and started with non fiction (eg Our Place in the Twenty First Century), and did sell a few books, so I have moved on to fiction, where I am trying to produce books that explain how to see the hidden beauty of life that I have wrapped up in both adventures (eg Dragons Triangle) and hot erotic fiction (La Crafty Cathy). Is it any good? Well as with all books that all depends on who is reading it - their own expectations and likes and dislikes. But what matters to me as an indie author is that I have made it a bit easier for the ordinary man and woman in the street who has an itch that there may be more to life than perhaps they are getting, to access such ancient wisdom and knowledge. Instead of relying solely on esoteric societies where you have to pay membership fees, and attend lots of meetings, learn ritual by heart etc. I have provided a more accessable and less costly alternative for those who are interested in such things. But I know that anyone who is not interested in my area of knowledge may not like nor get it. Just as a reader of Mills and Boon may not like Black Lace. You are never going to please everyone.

Posted on 26 May 2012 10:35:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 10:38:47 BDT
C says:
Hi

There are a lot of good Indie authors self publishing and a lot of very bad authors being published by publishing houses.

The task of finding a good book is not made easier by just selecting titles also in print as opposed to only published for e-readers. Yes, there is a storm of self publishing going on. With the rise and rise of e-readers it will only increase. If the Indie author is serious about their work then they will do their best to edit and proof read their work before publishing. I certainly do. Indie authors only in it for the kicks won't last, so perhaps look for an Indie author with several titles.

Writing is hard work, so anyone who can stay the course of self publishing several times over at least has a love for writing. There is no easy answer to discovering talented writers. However you can uncover a gem or two with patience. When you do, spread the word and the reputation of a good writer will increase. If you don't enjoy a book let the author know. I invite good and bad comments.

Writing is a learning process and it never stops. With the advent of social media it has never been easier to interact with authors, especially Indie authors. I welcome interaction with readers. It makes the whole writing experience so much richer. The future of publishing lies in e-readers and in interaction between readers and writers. Literature is entering a new phase and I am excited by it. Talent, as always, will survive.

Carla Croft

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 10:55:10 BDT
I love your screen name, Carla. Hello and also a warm welcome to you.

You are right, the author who takes pride in the book with work hard, but what if you work hard and still can't do it? What if you think you're doing your best and actually believe you've written a really good book, but it's just a load of rubbish. Again, the x-factor reference: those who can't hold a note pop up there in the strong believe they can sing. There are plenty of self-published authors who can't write to save their lives, but think they can. Just because you've been told how write lead a pen at school doesn't make you a writer, or a good writer for that matter. (Universal you.). Writing needs talent and hard work, which may lead to success. And you are right, talent will survive, but until then, we have a lot of bad stuff to wade through to get to the good stuff, and then to the gem. I find a reader shouldn't work that hard for his or her money, to get a few hours in another world without being annoyed about the story line that keeps getting worse.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 15:15:59 BDT
LoveBooks says:
Lol Stella, you're funny. The beauty of self-published books is that they can climb out of the box...still, it would be best for an author to describe to a reader what to expect insofar as length, main elements, etc. I do agree with that. The "making love" part, well, that's subjective. If it's purple prose, I'd probably cringe, unless I'm reading a bodice ripper from the 70's. Otherwise, I'm rather open. That bothers me less than stringed sex scenes with no plot...but that's also a personal opinion that means little in the general scheme of things as erotica sells like hotcakes...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 15:17:38 BDT
LoveBooks says:
Hence the importance of good crit partners and beta readers...and I don't mean family members or friends who can't point out the bad stuff...

Posted on 26 May 2012 15:21:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2012 15:43:45 BDT
Ethereal says:
If erotica is selling so well and given the number of posts I've read on these forums by both authors and readers about how it's not their thing and lack of the other, I can only imagine those who do like it don't want to admit to it in public!

Edit to add: I have no problems with sex scenes in a book, whatever its purpose. It's not always meant to be erotic but relevant to the plot and I do agree when there's lack of plot and erotica is the main purpose I wouldn't be interested. The odd porn film I've seen suffered from that and once the novelty wore off (when I was a teenager) I haven't bothered since.
Oh, and I've also read plenty of novels where sex scenes are thrown in as if they're obligatory and it's always great, even when the couple are married and having problems and casual affairs which then makes me feel the story isn't realistic.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2012 15:27:40 BDT
That's handy feedback, and on the subject of cliff hanger endings, please, please avoid any of my books until the third part of the trilogy is out next year. If it helps leaving them on cliffhangers is hell for me too, like being dragged out of the cinema in the middle of a film and told you're not going to find out what happens for a year.

Cheers

MTM
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