Most of us have done it -- picked up free e-books, bought 99c e-books, bought blogger friends' self-pubbed books -- sometimes a worthwhile read, often not. I don't think self-publishing quite works yet, even though it's been around for a long time. Due to market saturation, there is a quest to find REALLY GOOD SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS. How do we work through the maze of books riddled with bad grammar, punctuation, plot holes, unsympathetic characters, and get to the good stuff?
I like to read -- I read over 200 books a year. I review books, but only the ones I can say nice things about.
Shocking fact number one!
I'm not a big fan of e-books ((claps hands over red face))). Would still prefer to prop a print book onto my knees late into the night and read, Luddite that I am. But e-books on the kindle or phone do have a place in my life -- they are great to fill in any downtime throughout my busy day. But...
Shocking fact number two!
To be cruelly honest, most of the e-books I start, I don't get past Chapter 1. If I do keep reading, I often put it down before the finish as I just lose interest in a shaky plot or bad/no editing or characters I couldn't care less about. Even poor formatting puts me off. I know I'm not alone.
Shocking fact number three!
Our best-selling classic authors throughout history used a truckload of editors. Margaret Mitchell, beloved author of Gone With the Wind re-wrote her Chapter 1 sixty times in longhand, gulp. So...what makes us think we can do it all by ourselves, or with the help of our family or friends who won't like to tell us our story sucks? In self-pub forums you learn a lot about attitude. One beauty was from an author who said she writes her first draft and doesn't have time to waste editing. If an editor buys it, it's their job to fix it. Hmm. Wonder if she has editors knocking at her door? At the very least, I'd like to see a bright badge on e-books I buy which proclaims: "EDITED BY..."
I've discussed this problem with other writers/authors, and many of them share my opinion. The self-published amongst my friends use multiple beta readers, CPs, paid professional editors and book cover gurus. Costs them about $1300 to produce an e-book. Then...the promo begins.
Not-so-- Shocking fact number four!
Authors hate self-promotion. Readers hate self-promotion.
Self promotion is not loved by anyone, I'm sure, well, maybe by a few. However, how can you sell your book when there are thousands of new books up on Amazon et al each year unless you promote, promote, promote? Even if you're a debut author with a publishing house, you won't get much help with promotion and have to find your own way to tell people it's out there. Sadly, many authors think self-promotion means drowning their followers on social media in countless twitter hashtags about their book, countless facebook blasts, fb 'like me' requests...these just annoy, annoy, annoy when our twitter and facebook feeds contain little else other than author promotions, sometimes running one after another. And most of these authors make it clear it's all about them, nothing reciprocal about it.
I read a great post by Anne R Allen this week who calls this self promo Twitter-Fritter and Facebook-Fail.
Shocking fact number five!
Readers now know we can't trust reviews, so there goes that 'Get 10 Reviews and you'll sell tons of books' good old standby. I, along with most other readers, want to have some excellent e-books recommended to me so I can actually finish them. And if I ever go the self-pub route, I want to do it properly.
And hello, happy fact...I feel a ripple of hope.
IS THIS THE WAY FORWARD FOR SELF-PUBLISHED NOVELISTS?
A forward-looking publisher is Mardibooks. Like regular imprints, it only accepts mss with commercial potential. It does the usual editing and pre-press work and puts up the result on Amazon and Kobo without a fee. It covers its overheads by charging for the production of an e-book or paperback on a cost-plus basis. Mardibook authors then market each others’ work collectively on their own social platforms. Whereas familiar services like Lulu and CreateSpace deal with authors one-to-one, Mardibooks claims to create a ‘cross marketing’ platform: one to many.
There's always Indie sites out there, polishing their swords, ready for a good fight. Here's one I follow...
Indies Unlimited Direct from their website: 'We are at the beginning of a technological revolution in how books are written, published, marketed, purchased, and read. This site is dedicated to the independent authors, publishers, reviewers and readers who are on the cutting edge of that technological revolution.' At this stage, I am pretty impressed with what I've seen on this well-set up site.
I am indebted to Write to Done for the inspiration and some information in this post. Go here to read the full post.
We all know what a crucial marketing tool is the cover!!! What a lot of work needs to go into this to create that most important first impression.
And here is the BEST news! Beloved blogger, the gym-honed Michael Di Gesu, has illustrated a cover for Siv Maria Ottem. They will reveal this wonderful work of art on Monday July 29. I'm a town crier ringing the bell - 'Don't miss this!'
I loved Michael's cover reveals during the A-Z. They were INSANE to use one of his favourite words! I'm not going to try to emulate his talent here.
- What is your e-book experience as a reader or an author?
- Would you value a site where you could make a selection of great e-books, well edited?
- Can you add to my list of potential sites to de-clutter the e-book universe?
- Don't forget to visit Michael and Siv on Monday.