Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tardy Thursday (belated Writer Wednesday post)

And the Beat Goes On …

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me say repeatedly how much I love being part of the indie publishing world. Most of this experience is fantastic, but there are some negative aspects. One of them is the yet prevailing bashing of independent books/authors.

Even though I’ve turned my back on the traditional side of publishing, I read several blogs by trad authors/agents. Lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the comments on these sites. Many of these commenters seem determined to bash indie books every chance they get. They claim to have tried indie books and were appalled at the poor quality. This statement really annoys me, almost as much as when certain readers say, “I’ve read romance, and find those books to be pointless stories featuring weak-willed women whose only goal in life is to be ravaged by a long-haired, shirtless man.” Obviously, these people read a handful of romances back in the 1970’s or 80’s and have based their judgment of the entire genre on books written in another decade.

Today the self-pub haters are doing the same thing. Most likely they have read a few books they picked using the eenie-meenie-miney-mo process. Just this morning I read a comment, in which one poster said,

“…It really sounds like the biggest reason is because you hope to be the one-in-a-million gutsy makes it biggest off self publishing, and that you are too impatient to go the traditional route.

If you are banking on being the one-in-a-million... Why do you think you're more likely to hit that jackpot this way rather than through traditional channels?

Also, the two year lag in traditional publishing is because they help you make your book BETTER. Editors for grammar, continuity, voice, story, and all kinds of other things. Professionals making your book the best it can possibly be. You want to cut owe kind of corners?

I have yet to read a self published novel that wasn't riddled with problems. Granted, I haven't read your work, and I will be happy to hopefully be corrected on this someday. But at is stands, I think self publishing is the impatient way.”

If this person can’t find good indie books, it’s obvious she has no clue about the hundreds of indie books web sites, blogs and Facebook pages where she could’ve read reviews. It also seems she never thought of downloading the free sample in order to see what the writing was like before she bought the book. In my opinion, this person and many of the other vocal critics, are the folks that need someone to tell them what to read.

I just finished reading two books published by major New York publishers that contained typos and formatting errors. That’s not the author’s fault. The responsibility rests on the editorial department of the publisher. It’s strange how I never hear the haters bashing big name authors because of the errors in their books.

This hateration was the subject of discussion recently in one of the indie writer groups to which I belong. A member had received a scathing e-mail from a reader that went on a tirade against indie books because she found two typos in her book. Below I copied two of the comments from other members to the author.

“Never, ever let legacy writers (or others) bring you down with their bull crap. They are the real “vanity press” authors now. And, I know because I’m with a traditional publisher as well. The only thing I get out of that is being able to say, “Yes, I have a publisher as well as being indie.” If that isn’t vanity, I don’t know what is. I certainly don’t get any money from them. (Last check I got from my publisher was for around $2 and I got it in December 2010. I didn’t even deposit it. This year I’ve gotten a couple of royalty statements, but no check as I haven’t made over $5 and my publisher will no longer issue checks under that amount. In contrast, my indie work is bringing in the gold each and every month!)

Another member posted:

“Last week I received a royalty check for seven dollars. Not kidding. I have 3 books still at that publisher. I get the rights to the first book in January and then the other 2 in March. I still have one book at another publisher and I’m waiting for the rights back. I actually had to pay that publisher because they had an overstock of print books, and I bought the final copies so I had to pay them for the books and buy them back before I could get my rights back. I haven’t received a royalty check from that publisher in forever. I just received the rights back to a historical romance at a 3rd publisher. The publisher wrote me and said they missed me. I wondered why. My last royalty check there was like six bucks. For four months?”

The concept of a traditional publisher being the “golden ring” for authors is outdated, but it continues to be perpetrated by the uninformed. Attitudes toward indie publishing are changing. You can see evidence of this by the indie books on the New York Times bestseller list!


Regina Duke said...

Great blog, Chicki!

I agree with everything you said.

And while it may be true that some writers go indie because they get impatient, it is equally true that many talented people are prevented from sharing their efforts because traditional publishers only want things that earn huge bucks and follow established patterns.

I have read so many fun indie books, well written, well told, and books that I would never have found on a bookshelf in a bookstore. Those places bore me!

Regina Duke

Chicki said...

You said it, Regina! I just wonder how long it's going to take the general population to realize it.