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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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Posted on 2 Jun 2012 10:56:03 BDT
I've just finished a professionally-published and extremely hyped biography that was so badly written I had to re-read numerous sections to try to work out what the author meant to say and who they were actually talking about. (I only finished it because the subject matter interested me.) Professional publication is no guarantee of quality! Having said that, it's obviously true that self-published books are far more likely to be badly written. My book was professionally edited twice before I put it out on Amazon, and there are still some errors in it!

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 12:14:16 BDT
I think they're cutting down on editors, too. I must say, I never read a traditionally published book that was completely incomprehensive. Unlikeable, yes, but even if slow paced, the storyline was fine. Ah, okay, the Twilight series' last book was utter rubbish, but they probably just didn't care anymore as it was so successful. Still a big shame.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 13:13:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 13:26:05 BDT
Garscadden says:
I'm intrigued - whose was it?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 16:22:37 BDT
Marion Stein says:
I don't think it's that. People take pride in their Kindles. I could see feeling embarrassed to have something I considered "not my type of book" on there even if others aren't likely to see it.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 16:27:09 BDT
Marion Stein says:
While there are almost always typos in self-published books, I've noticed more of them in the last few years in traditionally published books as well, especially the kind that might be picked up by a spell checker. I'm wondering if reliance on spell check and other software has somehow had a negative effect. Maybe professional proofreading as a skill is becoming a lost art.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 16:30:47 BDT
But why buy it in the first place, then? You can delete it, no need to return it.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 16:33:53 BDT
Ethereal says:
If there's no way to distinguish a free book from a paid one once it's downloaded to your kindle perhaps these people expected to get a refund?
Otherwise I think it is to get a message to the author.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 16:41:51 BDT
I don't think it's a message to the author. Personally I think it's either your first reason or just to wind an author up. I have an -email address in the back of the book. Got something to say? Do it. Going through the form to return a book which is free or even 77p back then, is plain ridiculous. It happened repeatedly 6 books returned in three months and I believe it have been people who were annoyed about my being blunt on the fora.

Shrugs. If it makes them happy.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 18:11:00 BDT
Ethereal says:
Who wants such ingrates anyway?
I'd rather pick and choose readers, not necessarily only those who like my writing but people I know will get what I'm trying to do even if it doesn't always come off. And I'd exclude other writers in case jealousy gets the better of them.
Just as well I'm not selling a book - irony will one day get the better of me.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 19:44:26 BDT
This only works if you don't publish. As soon as you do, you lose control and everyone is welcome to do whatever friendly or nasty they choose to do.

A friend of mine (reader, but her husband is an author) said, perhaps authors would be better off if they ignored the reviews and sales entirely and just get on with their job: writing.

So true. But it's hard to ignore it as they are reviews are unfortunately the key to selling. And I don't blame readers for the same reasons I started this thread: too many books that have a good sample, then go flat.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 20:18:36 BDT
Stella, truly, it is easy to just ignore all the reviews and keep writing.

You just do it.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 20:32:09 BDT
I am. Well at least in the sense of leaving them in peace. But I do use them for promo, when my books receive one. It doesn't distract me from writing. I would stop looking at them when I get hundreds a day, but I don't see that happening any time soon. :-P

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 22:02:42 BDT
Actually, I'm with Will on that one in some respects in that I can ignore the reviews, but I can't not look at them.

I love to get a good review, if I get a bad one, I will definitely try to learn from it but I've been writing long enough now to know my stuff is reasonably good but not to everyone's taste. So once I've read them and thought ah, eeek or I must ask for clarifaction on that point, I absorb the information and get on with it.

If I do to much of this, I am less able to write, which is bad so definitely curbing my activities.



In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 12:38:00 BDT
I've just published my first e-book and although it's been proof read I would appreciate the feedback of others. It's called ''Unforgiven'' by Louise Hirst.

I haven't uploaded my book for a confidence boost neither for money. In fact, the money element is of no importance at this time. At the end of the day, this is my second novel, first that's been published to Amazon and I'm extremely proud of myself! I also think my story is pretty damn good (sorry to anyone who isn't used to such confidence!!) and I want people to experience the story and the characters the way I have been able to.

At the end of the day, isn't that why we write in the first place?

Posted on 5 Jun 2012 19:52:58 BDT
Louise, to be honest, confidence is great when it comes to marketing your book, but to be able to write a great book, you need self-reflection. Only if you are critical with yourself you will strive for improvement, for perfection. Confidence may result in just the opposite.

Posted on 5 Jun 2012 21:10:22 BDT
The way I see it is this: Once you know you've written something publishable there is aan inner confidence which comes automatically. I'm not Wodehouse or Wilde; my books are not going to change the world but as writing goes, they're alright. And as I had a reasonably lengthy career in a job that involved a lot of print production, I'm probably a bit more confident in the presentation than I might have been.

So I suppose on the one hand, I don't expect people to like my stuff just because I do, on the other, I'm quitely confident about its artistic merit in a way that I've never been before about anything else I've done - except, perhaps, my job. When I had one.

Hmm... does that make sense?



In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2012 21:25:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jun 2012 21:29:09 BDT
It makes perfect sense and I feel the same, yet, I'd say you present yourself differently.

And I didn't ask who is self-confident, but readers' opinions about self-published book.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2012 21:38:42 BDT
Oh sorry I was answering this "confidence is great when it comes to marketing your book, but to be able to write a great book, you need self-reflection. Only if you are critical with yourself you will strive for improvement, for perfection. Confidence may result in just the opposite."

I was trying to answer that - really inarticulately - by saying yes but...

I'm not going to ask how I come across. I might not like the answer! ;-)



In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2012 21:43:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jun 2012 21:58:21 BDT
I know what you answered and my reply to you was a compliment. I found Louise's entry not very appealing, given that she just came to plug her book.

Posted on 5 Jun 2012 23:10:03 BDT
Thank you! And don't worry I've just lost the plot. It's half term. No school, and suddenly no car. McMini needs stimulation and we were taking him to france but since we're carless and it has to be fixed in one day (unlikely it always takes them 24 hours to get parts) it looks like we're not going so I'm even more brain dead than usual - McMini and I do a lot of stuff together but not usually at home so I've suddenly had to be way lateral, unexpectedly! ;-) It's fun but not good for the short term memory, cognitive powers or energy levels!



Posted on 5 Jun 2012 23:34:12 BDT
And that's why I have an iguana instead of a child. So much easier. :-)

Posted on 6 Jun 2012 07:01:34 BDT
samantha70 says:
Self reflection is perhaps the most important thing, I believe.
After indulging myself for three months to write exactly what I want to write, with characters that do exactly what I want them to do, it is imperative that I put the whole thing to one side for a week or two. Once I have calmed down and my sense of arrogant self-importance has subsided, I look back harshly and critically at the whole thing, cut thousands of words and rework large areas of the plot.
Sometimes it happens twice or more.
I am not published and quite possibly never will be. I did self publish but found it unfulfilling as there was no follow through on editing or proof reading, two things that I am keen to watch in progress. My merciless word cull is the closest I get to it. Yet still it remains *my* edit, and, frankly, that isn't good enough!

Posted on 6 Jun 2012 10:42:12 BDT
Samantha, if you put it aside for a few months, you'll be able to see more and be even harsher. But a few good beta readers can often replace an editor if you have a good eye for detail yourself.

How do you think about self-published books in general? Do you read a lot? I've read, three so far (deleting plenty in the process to find them) that matched the quality of traditionally published book: plausible storyline and well-edited/proofread. Not the best stories under the sun, meaning they didn't have the wow-factor, but at least you could see the author had put thoughts into it and I'm reading one now, that seems promising, too.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jun 2012 11:46:00 BDT
Love to shop says:
Also, to add to Stella's word. Edit your work in a different format ie on paper, on Kindle (you can send files to your Kindle account), on screen in a different font.

Google "beta readers" and see if you can send out your work to them.

Posted on 6 Jun 2012 11:50:45 BDT
Kindle works really good, but only if you read slowly. I still had a friend finding about ten or so errors. I just spotted an error in my WIP which I had read over three times. My brain kindly corrected it for me.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  418
Total posts:  10000
Initial post:  17 May 2012
Latest post:  28 Dec 2014

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