All forums > Self-Publishing > Self-publishing just can’t get no respect.
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Self-publishing just can’t get no respect.

Jake Barton

retired user

One of the great virtues of this site, leaving aside the games-players and gratuitous ego-boosters, is in having a wide diversity of readers to knock the rough edges off a work in progress. i found that invaluable in the past and my present book on Authonomy is here just for opinions. I don't want the ED, been there, done that, and lack the mental strength to do it all again, but as a place to exhibit a rough piece of work, there are few better places. Don't forget the opportunity to pick from a selection of thousands of new books - I've found some astonishingly good books on Authonomy, even if the traditional publishing houses are reluctant to take a chance on. new writers.

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:11:00

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Becca

first registered 09.01.10

last online 69 days ago

To be fair, there probably is more "crap" in the self published market than there is in the traditional market. But that doesn't change the fact that there is crap in the traditional market and some great books in the self published market, too. I think these things are what makes some writers, like myself, hesitant to self publish, but, at the same time, not completely averse. I feel like I should have to get past SOME kind of gatekeeper to put my work out there. So what I've done is found some honest book bloggers who don't know me personally to review my book for me. I tell them they don't even have to finish it--if they don't like it enough to finish, just tell me where they stopped reading. On top of that, I've hired multiple professional editors to help me with my book. Sol Stein and his sister helped me a great deal with voice, style, and character. Another editor (from a small publishing house) helped me tighten up my world building and resolve some structural problems. Currently, I'm working to make certain parts of the book more intense (I feel like some parts need to "build" more instead of being a "calm" between storms). From there, I have another editor who can help me on a scene-by-scene level to make sure that I've made the most out of the tension in each scene. I've had multiple agents and editors tell me they think another agent or publisher will pick up the book (so far, they've been wrong, but still waiting to hear back from some). I've had some agents refer me to other agents, I've had publishers contact me after seeing my work online, and I've had agents and publishers ask me to submit my next novel to them. All I conclude is that my book comes "close" but isn't there yet (or, in a few cases, their list was "full"). So, that makes me hesitant to self publish. At the same time, people are asking me when/where they can buy my book, so I decided that I'm putting it out in 2012 (unless the 2 considering publishers get back to me before that). But I do this knowing a lot of people won't "respect" me because my book is self published. Oh well. If my readers are happy, then I'll be happy.

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:15:55

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I'm Stella

retired user

I chuckled quite a bit along the lines. Yes, I'm self-published, too, but I also think there a lot of truth in this. I've read some samples that just put me right off. By the way, nobody seems to notice the 'some' in his post. He clearly doesn't address all self-published authors. If you go on fora, there are a lot of loud voices saying they are not buying self-published books anymore and I see where they're coming from. On the other hand, there are a lot of wonderful self-pubbed books out there and their authors, like Jake and Lexi have been in the top of the charts.
Certainly the respect has to come from readers, but if the market is flooded with error-riddled (mine included, which I've just learned, but that's a different matter as I had two proofers and I had to trust blindly. I'm working on it and I'm rather embarrassed about that), then the reader won't respect self-published authors either. And I disagree that every book on the desk is worth looking at. There has been enough dross on the desk in the past and many of them would have put me right off buying it. But that's, again, just a matter of perception.

Jake: one quick thing: I personally feel that many just one-click a book because it's cheap and they never really get around to read it, or if they begin reading, it's too late to return.

Okay, now I'll go and try to safe my own mistake-riddled book. I wish someone would have told me BEFORE I published it, now I all I can do is damage control. Embarrassed


Posted: 10/09/2011 14:19:04

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JanIvy

first registered 07.07.11

last online 718 days ago

Interesting discussion. I tend to agree with a lot that has been said on all sides of the argument. Lack of quality control on Kindle is an issue--but if there is a system of quality control, then once again you have gatekeepers like agents. Busy people who's attention you must grab with the first line of your query letter! I've read that over and over again--give me a break, who is that busy? I put one of my books on Kindle because I was just tired of the whole query process--there is no standardization in the system. Each agent wants your material presented in different ways--it is time consuming, irritating, and seemingly pointless. I speak not just of my own attempts but those of so many other writers I've gotten to know here and at other writing sites. I've read so many books that deserve to be published and have a chance with the readers of the world--but they haven't gotten the chance because a very small percentage of people, agents, didn't have time to actually read them. Or they did read them and they didn't like them for some reason or another.
As I said, I have one book on Kindle and Smashwords. I have written other books, but I don't have the money to have them professionally edited so they aren't on Kindle yet. I would never self-publish a book without having an editor because I know that my grammar is not that great and an author needs somebody else to read the book and tell them what works and what doesn't. I've read four or five other books on Kindle that were self-published and I have been lucky that they were all as good as or better than traditionally published books.
My book isn't doing that great, I have a very busy life and an extremely demanding job, so I don't have a lot of time for promoting and networking. But every time I check and somebody has bought the book, it makes me smile and I like to think of somebody I don't even know reading the book and hopefully enjoying it. It beats the hell out of it being a file on my computer just waiting for someone to tell me it can be published!


Posted: 10/09/2011 14:20:28

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Hyperion

retired user

To be fair, there probably is more "crap" in the self published market than there is in the traditional market. But that doesn't change the fact that there is crap in the traditional market and some great books in the self published market, too. I think these things are what makes some writers, like myself, hesitant to self publish, but, at the same time, not completely averse. I feel like I should have to get past SOME kind of gatekeeper to put my work out there. So what I've done is found some honest book bloggers who don't know me personally to review my book for me. I tell them they don't even have to finish it--if they don't like it enough to finish, just tell me where they stopped reading. On top of that, I've hired multiple professional editors to help me with my book. Sol Stein and his sister helped me a great deal with voice, style, and character. Another editor (from a small publishing house) helped me tighten up my world building and resolve some structural problems. Currently, I'm working to make certain parts of the book more intense (I feel like some parts need to "build" more instead of being a "calm" between storms). From there, I have another editor who can help me on a scene-by-scene level to make sure that I've made the most out of the tension in each scene. I've had multiple agents and editors tell me they think another agent or publisher will pick up the book (so far, they've been wrong, but still waiting to hear back from some). I've had some agents refer me to other agents, I've had publishers contact me after seeing my work online, and I've had agents and publishers ask me to submit my next novel to them. All I conclude is that my book comes "close" but isn't there yet (or, in a few cases, their list was "full"). So, that makes me hesitant to self publish. At the same time, people are asking me when/where they can buy my book, so I decided that I'm putting it out in 2012 (unless the 2 considering publishers get back to me before that). But I do this knowing a lot of people won't "respect" me because my book is self published. Oh well. If my readers are happy, then I'll be happy. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Well said and a path to follow.

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:21:00

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Rob1969

retired user

There is a hole heap of crap self published and mainstream alike - the trouble with fiction is that despite its stated aims it is often a quite a stilted endeavour when it comes to judging its worth. If this were music or art, no one would give a stuff, in fact, the more out there and low-fi you are, the more street-cred you gain.
It is also true that writing is always trying to attach respect to itself, as if it believes itself to be the more noble art and therefore we are constantly judged as we ourselves judge others, often not with the criterion other arts are judged with, but against some predefined ideals that many hold as proof positive for talent etc.

There is shit everywhere - but most times it turns out not be actual shit, rather it transpires that it is something that the audience simply does not appreciate.

Is Jackson Pollock for instance a genius or a piss poor painter- answer, both. It depends on what your criteria you apply.

I often wonder what happened to good old artistic endeavour. I think everyone on here who has not, should be forced to read through the works of someone like Hubert Selby Jr just so that they can get off this - sentences must be this and that way wagon that so many seem to ride these days.

Writing, like any other form of self expression, is open to vast interpretation. Of course, there are bad examples, but they have nothing to do with the chosen publishing route. And at the end of the day, if we are honest, many examples that we would at first term bad, are actually just not to our taste.

The one area where we differ from the other arts is that a glitch in writing is seen as an error (And usually is) but a glitch in say, painting is seen as innovation (and usually is)


Posted: 10/09/2011 14:32:02

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JD Regan

first registered 03.04.11

last online 1 day ago

"This is, of course, in contrast to other DIY endeavors. You form a band and put out a record yourself, well, you’re indie. You’re doing it your way. Put out a film, you’re a DIY filmmaker, an independent artist, a guy who couldn’t be pinned down by the Hollywood system. You self-publish a book, and the first thought out of the gate is, “He wasn’t good enough to get it published. Let’s be honest — it’s probably just word poop.”

This is in part because it’s a lot harder to put an album or a film out into the world. You don’t just vomit it forth. Some modicum of talent and skill must be present to even contemplate such an endeavor and to attain any kind of distribution. The self-publishing community has no such restriction. It is blissfully easy to be self-published. I could take this blog post, put it up on the Amazon Kindle store and in 24 hours you could download it for ninety-nine cents. It’s like being allowed to make my own clothing line out of burlap and pubic hair and being allowed to hang it on the racks at J.C. Penney."

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/02/02/why-your-self-published-book-sucks-a-bag-of-dicks/

This is what puts me off Kindle books (that aren't also published traditionally).

What do others think? Will Kindle self-publishing ever gain respect, when anyone can chuck a book up? <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

I'm in agreement. I have the Kindle for PC but I only download free books or books I have previously read. I tend to avoid the new books as I have no way of knowing the quality of the book. The major flaw of Kindle is that anyone can self-pub. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it becomes a problem when you have the majority of work being really awful, full of errors, etc. It creates a stigma surrounding self-pubbing and hides the good stuff from the readers. I do think Kindle needs to introduce a quality control. Not a gatekeeper per se but someone who makes sure that anyone who does self-publish does so to a high standard. So anyone can still self-pub but there is a limit on how much dross, bad grammar, spelling mistakes, etc is published. They don't decide what is published but they determine if it is ready for publishing. That will go someway to eleviate the stigma currently surrounding the Kindle self-pub. If quality is assured then more readers may be willing to give it a chance.

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:33:17

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JD Regan

first registered 03.04.11

last online 1 day ago

There is a hole heap of crap self published and mainstream alike - the trouble with fiction is that despite its stated aims it is often a quite a stilted endeavour when it comes to judging its worth. If this were music or art, no one would give a stuff, in fact, the more out there and low-fi you are, the more street-cred you gain.
It is also true that writing is always trying to attach respect to itself, as if it believes itself to be the more noble art and therefore we are constantly judged as we ourselves judge others, often not with the criterion other arts are judged with, but against some predefined ideals that many hold as proof positive for talent etc.

There is shit everywhere - but most times it turns out not be actual shit, rather it transpires that it is something that the audience simply does not appreciate.

Is Jackson Pollock for instance a genius or a piss poor painter- answer, both. It depends on what your criteria you apply.

I often wonder what happened to good old artistic endeavour. I think everyone on here who has not, should be forced to read through the works of someone like Hubert Selby Jr just so that they can get off this - sentences must be this and that way wagon that so many seem to ride these days.

Writing, like any other form of self expression, is open to vast interpretation. Of course, there are bad examples, but they have nothing to do with the chosen publishing route. And at the end of the day, if we are honest, many examples that we would at first term bad, are actually just not to our taste.

The one area where we differ from the other arts is that a glitch in writing is seen as an error (And usually is) but a glitch in say, painting is seen as innovation (and usually is)
<nolink>close quotes</nolink>

That's a good argument and yes a lot of our work comes down to taste but because writing is deemed a higher, more intellectual art there is a higher expectation on the work produced. At the very least, a piece of published work (self-pub or traditional is irrelevant) is expected to be of a certain quality, ie, no errors such as typos, grammatically incorrect sentences. Our medium is the use of words and there are set rules of how those words string together in a sentence and how those words are spelt. That is the basic level of quality. When someone produces a piece of writing that doesn't even adhere to the basic level of correctness, then we are put off as it jars with what we know to be correct. So yes, writing is an artform but it to has rules that need to be adhered to in order to gain any form of respect. If a writer can't even spell then how do I know that they can write?

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:40:01

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AnnabelleC

first registered 03.12.09

last online 920 days ago

People who write pulp fiction of various descriptions seem to do very well on Kindle. If you can knock it out fast and lurid, you'll probably be a lot better off self publishing these days than with a publishing house. If you look at the sorts of deals that publishers like Mills & Boon offer, you could well be better off going DIY than signing one of their contracts.

For everything else, though, getting it published is a lot better bet. And, so far, the promise of self publishers that e-publishing would reveal lots of talented authors who have been ignored by the mainstream, has not proven true. Except in pulp fiction.


Posted: 10/09/2011 14:40:49

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I'm Stella

retired user

I'm in agreement. I have the Kindle for PC but I only download free books or books I have previously read. I tend to avoid the new books as I have no way of knowing the quality of the book. The major flaw of Kindle is that anyone can self-pub. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it becomes a problem when you have the majority of work being really awful, full of errors, etc. It creates a stigma surrounding self-pubbing and hides the good stuff from the readers. I do think Kindle needs to introduce a quality control. Not a gatekeeper per se but someone who makes sure that anyone who does self-publish does so to a high standard. So anyone can still self-pub but there is a limit on how much dross, bad grammar, spelling mistakes, etc is published. They don't decide what is published but they determine if it is ready for publishing. That will go someway to eleviate the stigma currently surrounding the Kindle self-pub. If quality is assured then more readers may be willing to give it a chance. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Though I agree with 'the need of higher quality' I also see this as a danger. If they had to read ALL the submissions made pre-publiishing, they'd be rather busy, they'd also lose a lot of money, again, amazon/kindle is a business and if 10 silly people buy 1000 of the most shitty books on amazon, they've made money.

All that's left to do is appeal to the aspiring authors. I don't have a solution for that. Maybe that they have to at least prove they had an editor/proof-reader going through the book, but then again, I had two and it's still riddled with errors and awkard sentences though I was sure they have been elimenated. Maybe they need a report-button for error-riddled books and the author gets a note to correct the mistakes and the book's made 'unavailable' for the time being? That way the author wouldn't lose the reviews and has the chance to correct the book?

Oh I actually like that. :-)

Posted: 10/09/2011 14:42:14
Last Edit: 10/09/2011 14:45:31 by I'm Stella

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