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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 20:26:40 BDT
That is lovely. You seem to be a very nice, supportive and positive person, like Kew, Gingerlily and MerryMegso, who I've seen reading and recommending a lot of self-published books, oh and Suse and many others. I find the snarky comments on review unnecessary. If you love the book, who am I to tell you it's rubbish and vice versa? We all have different standards and requirements and we're looking for readers' opinions, those who are not involved in the process. You readers are the people that matter.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 20:29:01 BDT
Oracle says:
Thanks for pointing out The Weird, Garscadden. I never heard of it but so many of my favourite authors are in there.

On topic, I have read some excellent self-published books (Remix, The Girl on the Swing, The Unicorn Crisis, House of Skin, Twenty Tiny Tales) and certainly wouldn't be put off a book just because it was self-published. But although I've read some great self-pubbed books, the ratio of dross is far higher than with traditionally published books for the obvious reasons and that annoys me, because it gives the good self-published authors a bad name.

I look at the reviews and the look inside for most books, self-published or otherwise, before I buy. I've seen some truly dreadful trad-published books recently.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 20:31:21 BDT
I know you don't mean to be, and I also know it's really difficult to be a self-published author being attacked constantly. You say we're tarred with the same brush, with your reaction, you let yourself tar. ;-) From what you said so far, from your fan base and the recommendations people make you don't need to feel that way.

No need to defend the whole self-publishing business, but only be proud of yourself and the work you've done. Know what I mean?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 20:32:49 BDT
Thank you, Oracle and I agree with that, re the bad drag down the good.

Posted on 23 May 2012 20:35:37 BDT
And again, if someone wonders why I'm typing weird stuff: I had a beer (or two) after doing some gardening.

Posted on 23 May 2012 20:48:49 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 26 May 2012 07:35:56 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 20:58:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2012 20:59:44 BDT
I took the freedom and had a read. Found some inconsistencies in dialogue regarding commas before names.

"Look Charlie.' [Wrong because a comma's missing.]
"See this, Charlie?"

Can't recall what the real sentences were, but you had a few in chapter one already. Doesn't happen in traditionally published books. One of my quibbles with self-published authors. I openly admit to not being really familiar with commas and semi-colons which will probably put off a lot of people, too, but I have those commas where they belong. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 21:23:16 BDT
STEVEN says:
I can guarantee that no matter how many proof reads you do, someone will find an error almost straight away! Grrr! :-) A fresh set of eyes are needed for any self publisher as you tend to convince yourself it's right even when it's not.

Posted on 23 May 2012 21:29:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2012 21:32:45 BDT
@Stella thank you, wise words. ;-)
@Booktigger, people like you really and I mean really do a lot for the self publishers who do have some integrity. I definitely owe a lot of sales to Ignite and Gingerlilly... and a chap called Walrus and quite a few others...

So... keep doing what you do because the two things that sell my book are good, balanced reviews from people like yourself who are respected, and mentions on the 'can you recommend me a book about...?' threads from similarly well regarded people.

I doubt it's different for any others of us.



In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 21:41:01 BDT
And I can't argue with that. I had plenty of errors in my books. Don't ask. I had to rely on others and it went belly up. I can't even imagine how terrible it must be for dyslexic people to have to rely on proof readers and not be able to check for themselves. In my case it was language (Germish). Nobody said a thing and I was convinced my books are clean, then came the review...

I have now improved a lot language wise, still need some help, but not as much anymore and I proof-read my books myself, very very slowly and on the Kindle before a very picky friend reads it. Ideally, I'd have a typo- and error-free novel, I'm a perfectionist.

The commas I mentioned above are sort of hammered in my brain. And I type them without thinking (with rare exceptions) when writing the first draft. Same goes with dialogue attributes or apostrophes. It's basics I expect every writer to be familiar with. The 'common' comma and its rules are changing constantly and even experts are debating, but the other things should be in place and they aren't in many self-published books, along with solid characters and storyline.

There, now I ranted. I had another beer and need something to eat. Dinner's almost ready. lol

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2012 21:43:23 BDT
Oh and again: it's mostly not about typos; they happen in traditionally published books and gee, we don't want to be overly fussy, but the basics should come naturally. Everyone has to learn, but once learned, use it, dammit! lol

Posted on 24 May 2012 00:17:22 BDT
Oracle says:
A point of interest - self-published author Hugh Howey has just sold the film rights to his sci-fi series Wool to Twentieth Century Fox and has also got a UK paper-book deal with Century:

I've not read Wool yet but I've downloaded it because I liked the first few paragraphs of the sample.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 00:34:55 BDT
Anita says:
Aha - so some of them *can* rise above the crowd. I haven't read it either, but I have heard about it somewhere and do have the book on my wish list at dot com (they offer a paperback, expensive, but still)

Posted on 24 May 2012 11:01:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2012 11:06:05 BDT
Anita, some of 'them' can rise about the crowd as them lots, who are traditionally published. :-)

Thank you, Oracle, for the links. It's always great to see this happening, though it's a rare exception. By the way, I saw, 'The Road' and found it fascinating as well as depressing. Good film, though. I quite like dystopian fiction and will put Wool on my wishlist.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 12:24:41 BDT
Hi Stella, Yes, I agree with you about authonomy, although I did find a lot of good books there, buy many were rubbish. But some of the writers had hissy fits when they got an honest review.

Posted on 24 May 2012 12:33:43 BDT

I thought I was going to get feedback on Authonomy, what I got was "great stuff backed for 30 seconds to get the points please can you read mine". I even said if people voted for my book without telling me why I wouldn't notice - explained that I was there for feedback and wanted some. So somebody contacted me to say they'd voted for my book and asked me to vote for theirs. I said no, not unless they'd leave me some feedback so they wrote "very original and damned good."

I didn't bother after that. Their forums are good though.



Posted on 24 May 2012 13:02:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2012 13:05:19 BDT
Everything I learned from that site was by participating on the forum and critiquing others. The discussions made me research, ask my 'mentor' and learn to improve. The comments I received didn't really improve my novel. It was my learning and using my shapened skills and machete, cutting the book down about 40k, getting rid of useless fluff that slowed down the pace.

The site is what it is: a massive electronic slush pile and more and more of its writers are self-publishing now. Some with more polished, some with less polished novels. What people there do is what many authors do on here: they try to educate the readers about their plots if they don't 'get' it or disliked it. Silly, really. If the reader doesn't get it, it's often down to the author not doing a proper job. Not in all cases, mind you.

But authors seem to think they are the best writers in the word and the reader is too stupid. Unless it's a highly intellectual read, I doubt the reader is.

Posted on 24 May 2012 13:05:11 BDT
And don't you always hear the same refrain:

The agents are stupid for insisting that grammar and spelling are as important as the story...and that rejecting poorly spelt submissions is foolish...

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 13:09:18 BDT
To be fair, if the book HAS commercial value, agents will overlook errors. Seen with Stacey's non fiction, now with HC, and I spoke to one agent from a very reputable London agency who confirmed that. She even said she doesn't mind a teaser-ending in a synopsis, which surprised me.

But if the book is sort of one of many thrillers, romances or whatnot, all as good as the others, story wise, of course an agent would go with the one that causes the least work, which cost time and time, as we all know, is money.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 14:21:28 BDT
DC says:
Thanks for pointing that out Stella. You misquoted me, but I noticed the mistake, and have since corrected it.

Best, D.

Posted on 24 May 2012 14:52:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2012 14:53:52 BDT
You're not making it easier for yourself, Dan.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 15:05:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2012 17:30:58 BDT
DC says:
Sorry? Don't follow. Surely you're not suggesting I leave mistakes in?

Posted on 24 May 2012 16:58:23 BDT
Anita says:

Posted on 24 May 2012 16:59:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2012 16:59:47 BDT
I think that Amazon's "Look inside" feature helps a potential reader in making their decision. If a book is poorly written, it will show in the first few pages. It would also help to look at the author's info, including their blog or the interviews they give, to gain insight into the maturity level of that author. There are so many signs that a reader can pay attention to. Really, the power is always in the reader's hands. I've read some delightful self-published books, such as Shelley Adina's "Magnificent Devices" series to give an example (btw, I have no affiliation to this author) - and I've also read terrible traditionally published books. Each book should be judged on its own merit. I don't even go by author - I go by book because everyone can have a bad day. That's why we have rating systems. I do agree that if an author wants to publish, they need to use a professional editor. There's no way of avoiding this expense. Ultimately, it's a matter of mutual respect and an open mind. An author respects a reader who invests money in their work, while a reader respects an author who has spent 6 months to a year working on a novel.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2012 17:02:54 BDT
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  409
Total posts:  9815
Initial post:  17 May 2012
Latest post:  9 Jul 2014

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