Debbi Mack wrote:
> One downside of putting my book up on Kindle is that some readers
> assume I'm an "indie author." I'm constantly having to explain (when
> I get the chance to) that my book was actually published by a small
> press at one point.
Barely. Quiet Storm Press was basically a short-lived, inadvertent POD
pyramid scheme that crashed and burned years ago and left a small
circle of would-be writers pissed off.
Quiet Storm didn't pay advances (and apparently, very few royalties),
their vetting process seemed like the epitome of cronyism, and their
promotional strategy seemed to be based on having their writers talk
incessantly on a handful of small discussion groups about how great
each other was. Despite the hot air, the company ran out of gas pretty
quickly. And nobody else ever heard of them.
I don't think the publisher was corrupt; He may in fact have had
really good intentions. He was just out of his league as both an
editor and a businessman. And it didn't help that he was one of his
> I realize that the vetting process helps winnow down available books
> from millions to thousands. I also know that many self-published
> books are simply dreadful. Still, why not let authors get their work
> out there, do their own marketing (which they do anyway) and let
> readers make the call?
The readers have already made the call. It's "No."
Self-published novelists have been out there, doing their own
marketing for the last ten-fifteen years, and their resounding lack of
success might -- just maybe -- just have a tiny bit -- it's maybe
possible -- to do with the quality of their books.
Ebooks will do the same for those who self-publish. All they are is
another way for writers to be published without going through any sort
of vetting process. Publish your own ebook places like Lulu do not
edit, and they're not exactly discerning when it comes to acquisitions.
There are exceptions (previously established and celebrity authors,
niche and cult markets) but most of the novels that still succeed in
today's market are still those that are traditionally published,
edited, vetted and distributed. Those zillions of self-published
fiction titles mostly sell squat -- in most cases, less than a couple
of hundred copies and many titles less than 50 copies. Viewing your
core audience as your mother, a few friends at work and fellow deluded
self-published authors is not a winning sales strategy. The most
widely touted self-published crime novel success story (M.J. Rose) was
ten or fifteen years ago, and even she has now denounced most of her
once-winning sales tactics. They simply don't work anymore in an over-
crowded book world where anyone can be "published."
Ebooks won't change that.
Genuine word of mouth, hand-selling, honest reviews, availability,
publicity and a good story -- those sell books.
A writer's main concern should be the last.
Most authors don't have the brains, resources, time, discipline or
inclination to promote themselves effectively, and all the promotion,
circle jerk cronyism and BSP in the world doesn't matter if the crime
novel in question is poorly edited, poorly written and only available
online. Saying that "many" self-published books are simply dreadful is
life saying many people have two eyes and a nose.
Once upon a time I really really tried to review self-published books,
mostly because initially, at least, it was humbled but serious writers
out there seriously trying to break into a tough marketplace. But as
the floodgates opened to daytripper dilettantes and egotistical
hobbyists, it became such a struggle to get through most of them that
I more or less gave up. A man can only throw so many ineptly written,
poorly edited, shoddily printed over-priced trade paperbacks against
the wall before the neighbours start to complain.
And the handful of authors who have successfully moved on from self-
publishing to more traditional means of publication tend to not look
back. They now view their self-publishing past as a slightly
embarrassing but possibly necessary first step. Some of them don't
like it known their first efforts were self-published. It's like if
your first girlfriend had a rep as the high school tramp.
Sure, ebooks will allow even more authors to be "published," but most
readers won't care. The lack of good books to read has never been a
problem for most readers.
I don't see nook or Kindle or whatever seriously changing my reading
habits, but it would be nice if a few hard to find books and stories
that might not be feasibly printed on paper found their way to
electronic publication. Some of those long lost pulp stories by people
like Norbert Davis or Fred Nebel would be ideal.
But there is one real advantage of real books over ebooks. Pressing
"DELETE" is not as satisfying as hurling some pompous piece of crap against the wall.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Nov 2009 EST