Afraid of Self-Publishers
Afraid? Yes, traditional publishers are afraid of self-publishing, but not for the reasons you think. First, let me explain a little about why.
I’m an avid reader, devouring books at a good rate. Always have been and always will be. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the slight rough feel of turning a page. It gives me goosebumps and an elation to know how far I am in getting through a fantastic novel. It also drives me insane knowing how close I am to losing the joy of reading the book for it will soon be put down. Those wonderful characters and titillating plot lines will disappear, but fortunately there is another book I can fall in love with.
Well, that was years ago.
Now, I read and wonder what the hell were they thinking?
Yes, I am reading a lot of self-published books. Sorry to say, many of them fall short. Heck, a lot of traditional publications fall short. I guess that’s why I started a publication company.
Let me explain. Over the last five years the self-publishing craze has exploded. It started back in 1990 as vanity publishing, much different than self-publishing. People would write a book and either try to get a publisher to look at it and fail, or go straight to a vanity press. They would pay a fee and the vanity press published the book for them, taking a small profit from each copy sold. Most people didn’t do this rout for it was, and still is, very expensive.
With the explosion of this avenue, anyone can write a manuscript (notice the difference) and publish it quickly. That means short cuts and less than desirable fine tuning of stories. From there, an author can recoup the cost of their time and money. How good are self-published books really? Some are great. Honestly, a number of writers are doing it correctly. They will write, re-write, rewrite more, and then get their work edited by a professional editor. Once this happens, they pay hundreds (if not thousands) to have amazing art work created. Case in point, two very good friends of mine, MJ Moores and Nanci Pattenden. They spend the money and work diligently at their craft. Are they rich? No, not yet.
(Side note, MJ not only is the managing editor of Love Knot Books, but also had a manuscript accepted by them which is due to be released in early 2019 called Final Year. She is planning a series called Flawed Attraction.)
Why are they Afraid?
Some authors are getting smart. These authors are self-publishing their books with a publication name in the copyright instead of just their own. Why you may ask? Because even though the stigma of self-publishing dropped considerably from a few years ago, it is starting to climb back up. There are too many authors self-publishing their work which is full of plot holes, spelling mistakes, grammar issues, and poorly made covers. A little trip to Lousy Book Covers will show you what is happening.
Now don’t get me wrong, not everyone who self-publishes uses bad covers, just a majority of them. And that is a shame. Let me show you something.
This poorly crafted book cover reminds me of art for a refrigerator. This is a self-published title originally hit the publication circuit in 2009. Thistleburr Publishing released the book. If you do a little digging, you’ll see all this publishing company does is publish this author. Thus we can say it is a self-published book. Her cover showed up on Lousy Book Covers which spurred her to redo it. Take a look.
Much better but still not perfect. At least it looks like a professional did it. Book sales soared. But when that happened, people started to give reviews. Here are two of them right from Goodreads:
It tells you a lot, and maybe with good content editing the work would shine like the brightest sun, but sad to say it lacks at this time.
But the artwork makes people think of traditional publishing and thus gives the whole industry a poor name.
Copying is Flattery
Actually it is not. What I’m seeing happen now is traditional press is starting to go the same way as self-publishing. They are rushing titles out as fast a possible even if they are not edited perfectly. In fact, most publishers are accepting a 5% error ratio and calling it good. That means every 100 words there will be an error in grammar or spelling. To me, that’s unacceptable. It is time to pull demand better for our hard earned dollar. When you read something that has more than 10 errors in it, leave a bad review. Yes, the story can be amazing, but make sure you designate who is a sloppy writer and who is not.
Let’s take back our entertainment and demand the best (like we do with movies). Tell the publisher/author they can do better and we’re not reading them any more until they do.
What We can Do
Like everything, we have a right to request good work. We are demanded to do the best we can at our jobs, and if we don’t, they fire us. So let’s send the same message to the publishers and editors out there. If the self-published book has cliches, spelling mistakes, and grammar issues on the first page, don’t buy it. Send a message to the author telling them you didn’t buy because… This will make them pull it back and correct the issues. And if they only correct the first couple of pages, make sure you leave a review saying as much.
But you must also do the author and publisher who spends time editing and fixing everything the kindness of telling them they did a good job. Let them know spending the time to make the work perfect was appreciated. Speak out so people know which books actually were done correctly. This way we can turn around the issue and bring people back to reality by telling them to do a good job.