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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 22:50:54 BDT
The problem is that forums such as this tend to establish their own 'rules'. A number of people who are not professional reviewers, nor necessarily qualified to make judgments on books, have somehow become known as accepted reviewers to whom you may submit your work. I'm certainly not knocking them - I've had very positive interactions with those who post on this forum and that was in the early days, before they became known as reviewers - but nonetheless, the way in which these customs evolve (re whom you may or may not ask to review your book) seem bizarre. In some countries, self-appointed reviewers are making a lot of money out of authors by offering to advertise their books and I'm glad that, to my knowledge, that hasn't happened here.

So long as you are wary of amazon's rules, it's up to you whatever else you do to promote your work. Some of it may not make you popular amongst other readers and writers but that's their problem as much as yours. I certainly don't agree with some authors' methods of attempting to get sales (and some probably don't approve of my own behaviour) but I try to avoid confrontation and do whatever I feel is acceptable.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 23:04:56 BDT
You didn't, A.B.

It's very confusing in the beginning. However, this thread it not the place to ask the questions. It's not about the 'how to' even if we discuss reviews. I've given you the thread link to the Meet the Author forum. Maybe you could search around there?

Of course, we were discussing proofreading and editing, review sites, but that was already derailing the initial topic partly. Readers are often not particularly interested in our struggles. They just want a good book and that rightly so. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 23:05:52 BDT
A B, what i see you have not yet done is to place a link from your profile page here to your author page. That's essential.

The 'received wisdom' -and please don't ask me if it works, I'ne no idea! - is that you engage with members in the open forum - you interest them, so they click on your name to see who you are, follow the link to your author page, and then buy your book.

Plus, in the Meet our Authors bit, you can put your book link down as often as you like.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 23:18:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 23:19:43 BDT
Alan, nobody forces you to stay. All I see you doing is wait until someone says something remotely negative about this thread (I assume by 'forum' you mean this thread) and jump in to agree with the person. Not sure why you hang around if it's so terrible and full or arrogant judges.

Nobody criticises 'mere mortals who have dared to put pen to paper', but readers have a right to criticise those who don't take care of their writing and toss second unedited drafts on the market, or stories that have holes as huge as craters. They judge those who think just because they've written a book makes them a writer, or better, a good writer.

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 08:40:41 BDT
As a newish person to amazon forums i've seen some of the bickering that goes on it most unmoderated forums - but its not difficult to ignore if you don't like it esp now i've found the ignore this person button - though i've not yet used it! too nosy i guess.... threads get derailed very easily and i think its right that others remind authors this isn't a " post your book " thread - there are plenty of those eslewhere on amazon discussions. its really irritating when people just throw in one link and disappear - forums NEED members to take part in discussions to be interesting - if they consist of a series of links with no other input they just drop off the radar - saying one hadn't read guidelines is not acceptable - before posting on any forum its polite to find out what they are - after all internet space costs so its courtesy to find out and adhere to hosts guide.

MTM i did look at your book but childrens books aren't for me though i do know a couple of kids who read who are in age 10ish age group but whether you'd get a decent review from them dunno - could be interesting project - read this book and write about it using this criteria. i know my 10 yr old granddaughter had to review a book couple years back for school project. they both have kindles if you want to try it just email me a copy and i'll pass it on to them. jeannie at

why do reviews? as a reader i always skim thorugh reviews looking to see what others think of book - i don't understand those who simply write "bought this book as it looks good but haven't yet read it" or those who have only just started the book - weird to me and useless to readers and authors but i've seen a few of those. i review to give something back as i rely on reviews before buying - if reviews look good then i read sample. i look through so many that i don't have time to read all sample but they are invaluable in making a final choice.
i'm not sure about this "professional" reveiwers comment though - what are they? i review books i've bought and also ones i've received free either from author or the review site - discovered recently i'm listed as reviwer rank of 3,196 which stunned me - i've never reviewed with intent to get in rankings but just to help other readers and authors.
self publishing must be really difficult with the mass of books out there - how do you get your book seen? reviews help once they've picked up an interest but how do you get it that far? with art we have similar problems - i stoped membership of one site - its wasn't that expensive but had increased til there were over 40,000 paintings on it and the chance of mine standing out negliable. for art its keywords and snappy title ( both thinks i'm really dire at) that get the intitial intesrest plus pushing it on forums etc so it comes out high in google searches - does stuff like that work for books?
i guess thats one of the costs with trad publishing - promoting books but then again publishers are only going to take those they're pretty sure will recoup costs and its unlikely a new author will get accepted regardless of how polished the work is i would think? but ebooks give authors a chance to go it alone and be a success if they have the talent and work hard at the craft and promotion. i certainly buy more books since i've had kindle - i used to buy trad books from amazon rather than high street as we've only smal booksellers nearby and the range is limited and expensive. kindle and the range of free/inexpensive books has been a marvel for readers like me and i'd rather pick form any number of badly written and edited books than lose the function. those not up to scratch won't get picked and if by some chance i have picked a free one - even if its only free on promo- and it doesn't hold my interest i simply abandon it. with print book i'd struggle though a story i didnt really enjoy just becuase it had cost me - life is too short to waste like that so hurrah for ebooks and self publishing.

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 09:03:23 BDT
What a wonderful feeling to see my name on the initial jacket sent by my trad/pub, made me feel quite proud.

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 09:33:21 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
Phew! Thank you! one and all for the considered, measured replies I was expecting to be savaged! Learning as I go.
Its not as if I'm new to internet forums or anything, so should have known better really. The discussions did not seem to be very topic specific. You are all incredibly nice!

I've actually discovered more self-published books since doing two myself, and especially knowing that authors can do free promotions. So have discovered that free e-book list for kindle and have now ended up buying quite a few. Now just need to sit down and read them. As to the quality, it is difficult. I was trying to get myself interested in the chicklit genre after being a staunch sci-fi/fantasy type person.

So I got a book out from the library - traditional, big publishing house, well known name good publicity but could not get past the first 20 pages. It is all such a pile of stream -of-consciousness nonsense that I was amazed. Dislikeable characters, whom you could easily throw in the bin, stupid situation, I couldn't believe it!

And then I have been trying to review someone's indie book and it is going really well. Good basic premise, slow build-up of emotion and tension. It is great!

So, I suppose it is for the individual to decide what most appeals to them. Some people can read past grammatical mistakes and bad punctuation and for others, each error is a stab in the neck with a rusty knife.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 10:07:01 BDT
The professional reviewer I mentioned was the one who gets paid to review books from the traditional houses. Those who review for the press, which gets distributes to millions of people. Like the film critics.
You say you simply abandon books that don't hold your interest, that's exactly what I do, but it happens far too often with self-published books. Free or being inexpensive shouldn't be the new low standard. It should be all the same standard because the free books normally have a price tag to it. Some higher, some lower.

Re promotion: don't know, I think it'll boil eventually down to clever marketing strategies or money, or even both. Maybe a few books will make it with the free promo, people who read a book recommend it and it will start a wave of sales. Unfortunately, the 'free promo' is the only thing many of us have at the moment, but it destroys the market. Maybe it would look different if each book had only one chance, only 90 days and that's it.

Most of the books I abandoned were for free and two or three I paid for. It's not the price tag, it's the self-published books.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 10:16:33 BDT
True. But don't you think it would be great if the grammatical errors not existed? So that the reading experience isn't limited to those who can overlook them? (And I'm speaking as someone who just correct 35 errors, missing spaces/ speech marks missing/ missing words and words too many.)

That's what the traditional standard is. You didn't like the book you started, but I could bet you that you'd find a consistent storyline. I'd buy any storyline if it's told well. I read sci-fi as a kid and bought that they were in a spaceship, visiting other planets. Why? Because it was well executed, their world became reality. (I actually decided to work under Captain Kirk on the Enterprise when I was little lol.)

What was the book you liked? Out with the link! I like to hear good news when someone stumbles about a great book. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 18:44:52 BDT
I hear you with the paintings. Mine were on Etsy for a while but you needed to intereact on the forums, like here, to get to know people and make your first sales to get anywhere. The forums moved so fast I just couldn't keep up.

I wouldn't call my book Children's exactly. It has been tagged as that but it's mostly read by adults. I tend to market it as 'tweens' or 'teens' because like J K Rowling, if you write that kind of stuff then no matter who it's for, you're supposed to. That said it's for me and the other reader I had in mind was my 14 year old nephew.

Although I have to say I am pathologically against age-banding anything because it's random to the point of being meaningless. What will scare the living daylights out of one 11 year old will leave another unfazed.

So, I'd rather give it a film rating, PG - or what I think they still call an A in the States.

The sort of reader it's aimed at is someone who likes Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman. There is plenty of humour and action but there's also violence, adult themes and some dark stuff so while it's light in many ways it's definitely grittier than Disney.

Most of the people who've read it are adults but then, a big chunk of the people who read the Harry Potter series, myself included, were also adults. Indeed just about the only kids who've read it so far are the nephew it was written for and the panel for the Wishing Shelf Awards.

Up to you. If they're ten I wouldn't expect them to write a review. If you look at the reviews I have they're all from adults.



Posted on 15 Jun 2012 10:10:54 BDT
hey MTM i just got latest book list from darkissreads and you're on there. i assumed it was kids as thats what it was tagged - my mistake - should have looked beter instead of looking at tags. still not my thing though sorry - terry pratchett et al are all the stuff son no 1 reads - he spent years tring to convince me i'd like them but i don't... odd how we both love fantasy but opposite side of spectrum. YA is prob a better description than childrens as lots of adults read that - even me sometimes if the subject appaeals. i've asked freind if any of her grandkids who are all teenagers have kinlde but don't think they have - shame as couple of them are avid readers :( and would be perfect for several darkiss review requests. kindle and other ereaders getting more popular but seem to be mostly adults - once you have one you realise how brilliant and money saving they can be but people still shy away ( as did i for long time ) from the initial outlay. self publishing mostly depends on erreaders i'd have thought though i know you can self publish trad books i'd have thought outlay is greater? but i know nothing about either route TBH so i'm just guessing. lots more indie writers since eraerds though so thats why i make the assumption. my reading genre has certainly broadened since getting kindle as i'm more willing to ry new stuff when its free or under two quid. trad book at 6-8 quid is more of a considered outlay but when a kindle book is same as or less than many magazines and likely to be re read its actually value for money. well thats my excuse - to be honest my book spending has increased since getting kindle even with the free books etc (blush)
if you don't get a response i'll try one of the kids if you like and if they write sort of content what they liked or not review i'll tidy it and add my other criteria so we do a joint effort but they do the reading - they're both quite old for their age as regards reading and avid HP fans though none of those were on kindle last time i looked.
film rating seems more useful that age banding as regards who books aimed at - like you i agree that people vcary widely in what they read and this makes it easier to work out of its one you'd like/want kids to read.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2012 17:50:57 BDT
Bless you! Don't worry. I'm dead chuffed to be on the Darkiss review list though. Let's hope someone picks it up. It is published in paperback, too but I don't usually send out review copies that way because they cost quite a lot! Not too much, but enough to break the bank if I send them out as standard practise.

Right with you on kindles, I love mine. I read one book in about two years (I'm a stay at home Mum with a 4 year old) and after I got my kindle I managed to read 10. Somehow it's just easier to whip out a kindle, read a couple of pages and put it back.

Thank you so much for the offer, I'll e-mail it to you and you're welcome to pass it onto the kids anyway if they are interested. I'd love for them to read it if it grabs them and a review would be fantastic if they and you want to... I just don't want them or you to feel committed to anything, or that it's a drag!

Many thanks. I'll wing it off to you shortly!



Posted on 15 Jun 2012 18:37:47 BDT
I read more again, too. Partly Kindle's fault, partly mine, because I wanted to read again. I love it, both, that is.

Still slow and still reading on Dodge. A few things have started to irritate me at 60%, but I'll persevere. Though the repetition is slowly grating on me. Three people telling me the same is just annoying. There are more elegant ways of managing that.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012 11:17:19 BDT
Again, I'm disappointed. 70% and I'm losing interest. It was a strong 50% and now, since it's so predictable, it's just boring. There has been the sex scene (which I simply skipped without losing anything), there as been thrown in that the MC is a writer (yawn), and there's still quite a bit of repetition going on.

The book's still readable, though, and there were no errors I came across, but it's not a story, at least I believe it's not, that has me sighing at the end of the novel and rave about it. I expected that damn woman get on a horse and show him how good she is at ranching. But all she does is think about Dodge.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012 11:36:30 BDT
And here's another thing: I just read the opening of a book which had been 'edited' by an editing service, but there were no commas before names and the dialogue attributes didn't convince me either. Plus an overuse of italics, to emphasise words. Not sure if it went to a proof-reader, but these things any editor should know.

Another problem with self-publishing is that if authors rely on cheap services, they may indeed get what they pay for. I can't speak for the story, though. Maybe the editor was hired only for story line.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 12:45:12 BDT
Stella, I'm beginning to think you are secretly working for a mainstream publisher, hired to ensure no reader ever buys another self-published book.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012 12:59:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jun 2012 13:03:31 BDT

I like that book, it has a lot of potential, but it could have been much stronger. With that premise (if you read the blurb) you'd expect that the woman gets her hands dirty. She doesn't. At least not yet. Maybe that's coming later...

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 13:09:28 BDT
It's just that if I were a new reader, seeing you write post after post, listing all the ways in which almost every self-published book is so dreadful, I would certainly never bother to read one. If that's the message you want to put out then congratulations, you're doing a fantastic job. If it isn't then may I suggest you take a bit more time to consider what you post.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 13:18:17 BDT
George says:
A refreshing and well justified view. I have read printed books so appallingly bad they have gone straight into the bin and self published online material so wonderful I have wondered why it has not been snatched up and serialised on television. All you can do is go by the blurb and "suck it and see". There is "no pain, no gain". The material is usually so cheap the loss is not great and there are real germs out there.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 14:04:01 BDT
No, Ali. I've asked readers for their opinion and, as expected, they are split, some love Indie books, some don't. I'm not trying to put people off buying, that would be silly, I'm trying to appeal to authors to put more work into their novels.

It's just frustrating if you delete book after book, when all you want is to have a nice time diving into a story. If the shoe doesn't fit you, then don't put it on. ;-) You have plenty of recommendations -- even on this thread someone recommended your books, so it's all fine.

I'm sure readers are smart enough to check for themselves and not be put off by my posting about my experience.

In the end it's only one opinion.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012 14:17:50 BDT
Booktigger says:
I don't know if you are keen on techno thrillers Stella, but i really enjoyed Soul Identity and it is free

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 14:19:05 BDT
No idea what techno thriller means, but the title alone attracts me. ;-) I'll check it out. Thank you.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012 14:25:33 BDT
Booktigger says:
Can't wait to hear what you think

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 14:28:18 BDT
I have to be honest. The many negative comments and what they say don't fill me with confidence, but I'll give it a go. Might take a while, though, as I have yet to finish the one I'm reading, then I have another one on my pile until I'll get to it. I'll let you know. Promise.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 14:29:51 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Jun 2012 15:05:36 BDT]
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  409
Total posts:  9815
Initial post:  17 May 2012
Latest post:  14 days ago

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