I read this post by TBM To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish, and it got me thinking. As a mother of an aspiring writer and an aspiring writer myself, I will likely have to deal with this agonizing question in one form or another — sooner or later. Through my recent forays into creative writing I got a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the writer’s side of things. And though I am still light years away from any finished product that would require all that effort, I can still share my opinion of self-publishing as a reader. And plenty of that I’ve got. I mean opinion, of course. And it’s not in favour of self-publishing. But let me tell you about my experience with self-published, or indie, books first.
Truth be told, I am not an adventurous reader — I prefer to stick to authors whose books I’ve already read. But it would be logical to assume that if that were really the case, I would have been stuck with Cinderella or Pinocchio stories for the rest of my life. So, whether I consider myself adventurous or not, I do discover new authors every once in a while, mostly by `hanging out` with book review blogs, through my local public library, the amazons, Kobo online store, and just browsing bookstore shelves and buying books with pretty covers.
My first indie book was In Her Name: Empire by Michael Hicks. And this time it found me for a change. It was free too. It happened in my early Twitter days, when I had 0 followers or something close to a 0. As soon as I announced to the world that I am a `bookworm,` with an eReader device, my following began to grow slowly, but steadily, consisting mostly of indie authors. Michael Hicks just happened to be among my first followers, an affable fellow, who enticed me with an offer of a free fantasy book. I had no idea it was self-published, nor did I care about the fact. I just downloaded it to my Kobo and ended up liking it so much, that I bought two more of his books. Those two turned out a little less exciting and I never finished them.
After that I tried reading several more indie authors only to discover that their books were ridden with typos and bad grammar. Needless to say, I lost my interest in them pretty quickly. There was another author whose books I was seeking out because I was intrigued by the hype on Twitter. But, guess what, the elusive writer didn’t seem to care whether his books could be easily downloaded. I just couldn’t find his books in the format compatible with my device ANYWHERE. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. But really why should I?
So, for now I stay away from indie books, and it’s not because I don’t believe there are good or even great indie authors out there. I just don’t have the time to separate the wheat from the chaff; I’d rather have publishers do that for me.
But despite my not-so-positive experiences, I believe there is bright future for self-publishing. Maybe it’s already here, if only just for a handful indie writers who either have a great self-promotion strategy or an amazing product. Not so long ago I told my son to try and self-publish his book on Smashwords, and even offered to do the editing and the cover art. (now I kind of question the wisdom of this offer :-))
If you are an indie author who dreams of being published, self- or otherwise, I wish you good luck – because you are going to need it.
- Barbara Freethy Sells Over 2 Million eBooks (ireaderreview.com)
- Go Publish Yourself by Katie Salidas (alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com)
- 2nd Update on ‘Indie Saturday’ – Calling On Indie / Self Published Authors! (randomizeme.net)
- Indie publishing is getting better (chazzwrites.com)
- Financial Indie: Financing Your Writing Career (worldadventurers.wordpress.com)
- Reader Survey Results (keystrokesandwordcounts.wordpress.com)
- Anybody Can Publish a Book, But Not Everybody Should (cultofajracewood.wordpress.com)