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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 12:34:13 BDT
Editing is hell. I can't do it because I see what should be there not what is there.

Apparently Amanda Hocking's books were full of errors, but she did brilliantly, so maybe the readers were so engrossed they didn't notice or care. It depends on the genre I suppose.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 12:46:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 12:51:36 BDT
They were. I read My Blood Approves and didn't approve of her story. Totally disappointing. To me, she didn't handle the 'tying loose ends' very well. I waited for the big bang to happen, but it was more like a deflated balloon. Still, teens and adults loved it, but I didn't buy the next book in the series.

I heard Hollowland (I think that was the title) was much better.

Editing is not the problem, proofing is. As Mary said, never proof your own work. I did it again with CS, I'll see what comes back this time. I went through it via Kindle and very slow. It'll drive me mad if there are equally many. But, as I said, a few typos don't bother me, it's the storyline that concerns me with most novels.

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 13:01:05 BDT
I don't think e books are the reason for customer reviews but more that the books - whatever their format - are ordered online. And it isn't just books. In the past year or so I have booked and paid, partially or in full, several products and services online, ranging from M&S clothes to 2 nights in a pub B&B. Each time I am contacted by email after the event and invited to write a review.

But here's my take on book reviews:

With the traditional model, the big publishers decide not only which books to publish but which will be placed on special promotion in shops, which will have the best display position, how and where they may be advertised AND where they will be sent for review. All of this is decided and paid for by the publisher and the public are then told what is on offer and given encouragement as to which they should buy. The customers are effectively passive and their feedback is irrelevant and unlikely to make much difference.

With the indie model, the important difference is that the process is reader/customer driven. Keen readers are often invited to be beta readers and give editorial advice and feedback during the writing of future books, and recommendations and reviews by readers give ongoing advertising and promotion to books, enabling the authors to get on with writing. Reviews and forums give readers an opportunity to be involved in the writing process in a way they never were before. And their time and effort in writing reviews enables the prices to be kept low and allows the authors to get to know their reading audience and consider their views and likes and dislikes when writing future books.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 13:17:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 13:19:37 BDT

This makes perfect sense... My book is based at university at the beginning but my problem is that I am new to the whole thing so I need to find the best way to introduce people to my writing without spamming! I don't like to be spammed so I can't expect others to see it differently. On twitter everyone spams but they also post good stuff so it's a balance. Then I've just joined goodreads which is fantastic. As an avid reader it helps to chat about books and get people to know you that way... Then they might take a chance. Ultimately, as an unknown with no major marketing machine working for you it's luck as much as anything else...

When the iPad was launched iBooks was a novelty and new books were pounced upon. Now the market is flooded and readers want to read good books not have to check if they are good first. As a reader I have to admit a preference for hard books not ebooks... So again hard to flog my ebook if it's not my preference. I am currently proofing a real book but it comes down to price. I just bought 4 books at 2 each form the supermarket... Who would pay 7 for a new author? Would you?

This is a huge learning curve for all writers... The ebook revolution has taken everyone off guard. But like I said the big players are now in on the game and for us self published authors all we can do is hope that readers are willing to pay very little and take a risk on unknowns...

Vanessa :) xx disheartened but trying to be upbeat indie author...

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 13:19:34 BDT
'...On twitter everyone spams but they also post good stuff...'

You've been lucky! I think there should be a rule on Twitter too (oops, sounded like an owl there), so that every plug had to be counterbalanced by 3 non-advertising Tweets. Well, I can dream can't I..?!

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 13:24:21 BDT

I think that if you don't do that anyway you will quickly lose followers and will not be RT'd. I have started to make some great friends and support others as they support me. All indies want to help each other out. Personally, I usually check the reviews of the books before I rt - I don't want to rt bad stuff just for the sake of it... :)

Hey, if you want to follow me... Time for a plug... Do! @Vanessa_wester
I am allowed to do that right? Will this post be deleted now... Ahhhh ... I have committed a crime! Lol... Okay I'm a sad person what can I say...

Hope you all have a good book to read at the moment - I now have 6 to chose from. I am in book heaven. Starting with missing you by Louise Douglas... I'll let you know how I get on if you're interested
Vanessa :) xx

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 13:34:20 BDT
A. Hayes says:
I think Sou'Wester is really and East ender and a serial snob

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 14:36:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 15:07:51 BDT
Anita says:
And I think Sou'Wester is one of the most intelligent persons over here. As seriously as I can get. I don't know about East End, I've only read his (?) posts

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 15:07:59 BDT
Before sending it of to a proof reader I enlarge the text. It's amazing what jumps out at you - lots of things that I missed when the text was normal size.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 15:09:54 BDT
Perhaps there should be review guidelines that readers have to read before they can review.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 15:13:06 BDT
One huge advantage with e-books is the sample which can be read at leisure at home. I never rely on reviews. I check the blurb, then the sample.

Another big advantage is the money back within 7 days feature.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 17:53:41 BDT
I would, yes, but not for an Indie author just yet. Reasons: see first post.

I bought many new authors' books for 7 in a brick and mortar shop, but they were traditionally published, which meant they went through a certain quality control. With my current experiences regarding self-published authors, I'm far more wary.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 17:54:38 BDT
I should do that next time. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 17:58:40 BDT
I like this interaction and I like that authors and readers 'work' together. Through this forum, I already met wonderful people who I just asked if they'd like to beta read. This will improve my books and perhaps will become part of a regular process: authors and readers connecting and hopefully improve the overall quality of self-published books.

Amazon sends me e-mails, too, to review the last product I've bought, but I find it odd when authors ask their readers at the end of the book. Somehow, the reader did what a reader does: buying and reading and if the book is good, he'll hopefully recommend it to his friends.

Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned to not demand more. I don't like to be asked. If I want to, I'll do it anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:23:31 BDT
Oracle says:
I agree. To me, the author asking for a review at the end of a book looks unprofessional and desperate.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:30:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 18:31:55 BDT
I'm glad you said it. :-)

To be honest, I'd rather have a reader recommend it to their friends than give my book a review. In the end, word of mouth is what counts and what makes sales. Reviews, to me, don't sell books, not when they are low in the ranking with dead sales, but someone who goes and recommends, no, urges their friends to buy a particular book does.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:32:35 BDT
Oracle says:
I've not seen any evidence that Sou'Wester is a snob (and I don't get the Eastender comment). Would you care to elaborate rather than just name calling?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:38:23 BDT
Oracle says:
I think that asking for a review also gives the impression that the author assumes that the review is going to be good, which comes across as arrogant.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:41:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 18:42:43 BDT
The question is often accompanied with the words: 'if you liked what you read', (please don't forget to leave a review.)

Sounds like reminding a pupil of his homework (the latter phrase).

That said, asking for honest reviews on the forum is fair and square. As long as the authors can take it.

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 18:43:13 BDT
I don't think I'd mention it in a book. But I'm not saying never. I was lucky to get two books established when authors and readers interacted more on the main forum and there were far more sales and reviews than there are now. My third book, published late last year under the pen name, Melanie Dark, has gone virtually unnoticed, with very few sales or reviews. Perhaps that shows how difficult it is for a new author now. I do think authors need to be proactive in seeking reviews, though perhaps requesting this directly at the end of a book is a bit much.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 18:44:11 BDT
And I think you're barking up the wrong tree, my dear.

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 19:35:23 BDT
@J Zelos, I've just sent my book to darkiss (four days ago) so you might get mine in your next batch... although they haven't got back to me so either my e-mail has gone straight into their spam folder or they're busy...

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 21:46:31 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
I don't understand any of this, neither the snobbery about reviews, nor the I'm an author, but I don't ask for reviews. ( and then hundreds of mentions of how reviews were obtained and proved to be ultimately useful and asking each other to review). It is completely bizarre.

Don't mention to anyone that you have a book they might be interested in in the main forum
Don't ask anyone to review, it is cheapening
Don't tell anyone on Twitter about your new book

Anyone have any bright ideas about how the heck a new author is to get the message out there?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 22:13:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2012 08:17:52 BDT
Alan Fleet says:
To A. B. Syed

I agree with your critique of the forum.

It is quite simply a case of some people thinking they are good enough and wise enough to be published because they feel they know what to do, but are very quick, in fact breathtakingly quick, to criticise mere mortals who have dared to put pen to paper.

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 22:18:48 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
I hope I did not come across as too critical, it was more of a plea for help if anything.
I just learned today that most people start advertising their work long before it is even published. In the doldrums...
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  409
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Initial post:  17 May 2012
Latest post:  9 Jul 2014

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