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Why Indies get self promo wrong...

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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 8:27:28 PM PDT
Miss M says:
I'm cool with that - if only Amazon would put up a few signposts: Amateurs to the left, Pros to the right, click here to search accordingly...

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 8:29:42 PM PDT
MW says:
If I knew going into it that it was a highschool event. If I spent $50 for a ticket to "Wicked" only to find out it's the Franklin Elementry version of "Wicked" I'm going to feel like I was duped out of that money.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 9:17:06 PM PDT
First of all, may I just say how much I love this discussion? It's lively, fun, interesting, and much more respectful than some of the other posts I've read.

I'm an indie author. There. I said it. I was pretty reluctant to make the leap, since my dream has always been to be coddled and courted like Nora Roberts or Dean Koontz, sent on whirlwind book tours, and make a lot of money. The business is changing, though. I read Publishers Weekly and blogs by agents and publishers, and I attend conferences, and I started putting two and two together. (Being a former software engineer, I knew the answer was four.) When agents told me they loved the pacing and the characters but my book "wasn't right for them at this time," I knew they saw my book as a mid-list mystery (which it is) and they would not be able to make a lot of money selling it to a big house.

So I took the leap and self-published, once I had edited the book, sent it to beta readers, edited it again, and paid for a professional cover designer. I take a lot of pride in my work. I don't want people to be disappointed in it. Typos bother me, as does lousy grammar, POV changes, or content problems.

You may not like my stories, which is okay. Not everyone is a mystery fan. Not everyone shares my sense of humor. But I never want to get a review saying my book was poorly written. That's not acceptable for me as a writer.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 10:06:43 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 22, 2012 10:23:38 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 11:20:18 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Let's see, kindle book forum, not MOA.

First post says "This might belong in the MOA forum, but I want to interact with readers and authors. I want to share intimate secrets, discuss writing philosphies--but no direct self promo. No links to your books or websites. Thank you for reading...and more importantly for commenting."*

Can I be bothered reading a book by someone who disrespects the readers and original poster on the thread?

I think not.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 11:45:38 PM PDT
Brent Butler says:
Be proud of smut?

If you want to ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 12:16:28 AM PDT
Carole (and anybody else who cares to listen to a mere reader). This might be considered a bit arrogant of me to suggest self editing methods. I haven't after all published anything I've written. That's because I'm good with dialogue but terrible in the description and mood and I know it. And I have a bad habit of rushing the story. However for the few things I have written this is what I've done and it makes a huge difference.

To catch missing words, badly phrased sentences and grammatical problems you will want to read your work from back to front. Read one sentence at a time working from the last to the first. That way you can't get caught up in the flow of the story and you are much less likely to do as you said and mentally insert things that aren't there.

To step back from the story and see how good it actually is. After your first couple of complete edits put the manuscript away for a year. It needs a new set of eyes to look at it because while you are editing you can't see the forest for the trees (Heh, I can't believe I actually used that phrase) and by the time you go back to it a year later it will be with new eyes. No matter how much you think you remember the details you'll find that it's a much different story than you remember. And you'll be able to approach the reading of it just like you would if you were rereading another authors book after a year.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 2:19:12 AM PDT
>>That's fine. But you don't go to McDonalds and complain about the service. <<

I do.

>>the expectation that there will be no compromises is unrealistic.<<

Why, Splinker? Why is it unrealistic for a customer to expect the product he or she buys to be of the highest standard? It should not be incumbent on a customer to accept a sub-standard product in any situation.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 2:26:49 AM PDT
Couldn't agree more, Cphe. Only yesterday I saw a post in MOA (either here or UK - can't remember) for a free book. The author ended up with "it's free - what have you got to lose?"

I wouldn't download that book. If the author had said "it's free - and a worthwhile investment of your time" I might have given it a shot. (I might have disagreed, ultimately; but at least I would have taken his word for it.)

Personally, I can't stand the promotional posts that ask you to buy a book, and then give feedback "so that I can improve as a writer". There's already been discussion about paying 3rd party editors. Why should I pay money and then act as an editor? If I buy a book, read it, and then choose to give some feedback, that's my prerogative.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 2:47:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 2:50:25 AM PDT
Wow... I had so many messages in my inbox... You guys have been busy!

Okay, correct me if I'm wrong but the impression I get is amateurs to the left, pro's to the right...

So, where does that leave aspiring writers? There are a lot of us out there trust me. We work hard, we put our work up for critique, we get beta and alpha readers, we edit a million times... Then we take a deep breath, start the editing process (which is really hard) and get our work out there to share it with others - to see if it's any good - at a cheap affordable price. A lot of us have university educations, are professionals (many are teachers...) and are just testing the water. To see if we could make it as an author. The agents won't look at our work, we don't want to waste money on postage, or time on waiting... So we self publish!

I do not consider myself an amateur - I am a proud indie author striving to share my story. Is that so bad?

Price is the issue - on amazon the lowest I can put it at is $0.99... The reason it's cheap - so that people take a chance. I am a new author. I can't expect you readers to pay what you would for an established author.

Have I spent hours perfecting my craft? Yes
Do I have more work to do? Definitely.
Is it important that my book is as good as possible? Of course.
Am I a money grabbing "wannabe" who is only it it for the money? No.

Ask many aspiring authors on forums such as The Word Cloud... the Writers Workshop. They are not in it to con.

Yes, there are some books out there which should not have been published. Maybe, you'll think I don't have the right to publish my book? Either way, don't paint everyone by the same brush. Like I said in my previous post, amazon has provided a look inside and free sample. Use it - make an informed decision. Read up on the author - check their credentials. If you are happy, take a chance.

Please, don't give up on self published authors ... We have worked too hard for you to dismiss us so easily.
Thanks for reading... :) xx

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 4:23:32 AM PDT
Rick G says:
Don't trash another Genre, Brent, just because it's not yours. Erotica doesn't have any less legitimacy than anything else.

That being said, if you want to have a go at the poster for violating the no self-promo rules...well be my guest. :)

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 4:26:37 AM PDT
I strated reading this because it sounded interesting, but... too much detraction from topic, so I'm gonna add a thought to your opening,
"There are a lot of us Indies out there taking advantage of the digital age, self publishing and trying to shout to the world--hey--I wrote a book and its great. Then, we wonder why no one wants to read it."
Our biggest hurtle is deep pockets, we can't afford what we should do so we try to find ways around it, a book no matter what publisher is on the spine from random house to authorhouse from Daw to create space how do people find the bloody thing, most answer by book stores and book stores do not carry POD books, well yes and no, Advertising. I know it coasts Harliquine romance half a million dollars for that ad in Cosmo, shows you the full scope of what a publisher does, a small ad in only one issue of the NYT is over 2 grand, but advertising sells your book, so my advice is save up money find low coast ads and advertise. My first self published book sold only 50 copies so far it was just poetry, but it sold what it did because I advertised in the london times, bloomsbury review, poets and writers, and book marks, and poetry is very hard to sell, my second book flopped but that is more because I wanted to do full color with my photography and they set the price so high that well I'm not HR Giger but it coasts about that much. just did two more one short stories and two a short 40 page thesis.
also when self publishing remember what most people self publish is what no publisher will take, poetry, short stories, memories, and the such like, publishers refuse these because they want a novel or non fiction. the best way to self publish this is remember you are not going to make a lot for a bunch of poems until either you die, and are remembered or you write more, and publishers pick up all the self published things. Stephen King was an over night sucess but not every novelist is some are only nyt best sellers after series 3, or 10 books or so, much due to the fact that we get better the more we write.
self publishing a novel? I would say you are not being patient enough, or exploring enough avenues, or doing enough editing. I have a novel it was finished in 2008, re-written with editing in 2010 I have over 350 rejection slips a year for 4 years consecutive from agents, it has been rejected by 5 major publishers and I still have not self published it yet still waiting to hear back on 2 publishers and even then I may hold it till I have written more books even though a stand alone and re-submit it as a sreies.
and why? not because it is bad prose, but because it is fantasy and because it is not modern fad. most of my rejection slips say something to the effect of "I'm just not enthusiastic enough about subject."
what pisses me off is that it took 15 years to write it because I had minimal time between jobs and time off to write, and they act like i wrote in in 15 minutes and I could just scrap it and write another novel in 15 min that suites their needs.
it is tough being a writer, but are you a writer, or are you a get rich quick? time to ask this question then do like the rest of us, dust off the typewritter and write.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 4:33:31 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 17, 2012 12:26:10 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 4:34:23 AM PDT
Rick G says:
Once again, I stand by my earlier thoughts. If I'm putting my books up for sale, I don't have any intention of being given consideration because I self-pub. I'm here for the Pepsi Challenge. Take the names off the cover and put me next to traditional writers from the same genre. My goal being that you shouldn't be able to tell that I'm the store brand cola just from taste alone. If ultimately I taste watered down (yes, I realize this post is starting to get weird :) then I will take myself off the shelf.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 5:28:26 AM PDT
I completely agree with you, Rick. And sometimes store brand cola is pretty good!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:52:24 AM PDT
Pete Morin says:
WHat a dreadful cover.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:53:34 AM PDT
A strange moniker for someone of your calibre...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 6:25:05 AM PDT
Splinker says:
You arent buying that type of product when the price os .99 cents. Or free. You are buying a new product. Itis not the same as the product you paid nine to 26 dollars for a few years ago. It is a new animal and there is a new understanding, if implied, between the writer and the reader of these books.

We are willing to practically give away our labor of love and you are willing to accept it with flaws. That is the crux of this business model and the only way it will work for the time being. All these indie writers who are saying differently are either the rare exception to the rule or are just full of it. And out of the handful that are professionally polished, you may end up with a fingerfull that also tell a good story.

If we start charging regular prices, that will be another story.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 6:33:40 AM PDT
Well, maybe that's true for some people, but it certainly isn't true for everyone.

As it stands, I still don't believe that customers will, or should, accept sub-standard goods or service. And I don't agree that there is an implied agreement that a .99 cent book will be of a lower standard, just because the author is an indie or that he/she has chosen that low price point.

One of the first books I downloaded when I got my Kindle was a freebie. It was very bad indeed, although the basic premise of the story was OK. I read it through to the end, but I will never buy, or even download for free, another book by that author. He/she will never know, and will probably never care; but I am not prepared to read a sub-standard book at any price. I have better things to do with my time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 6:39:17 AM PDT
Babs says:
I enjoyed your post, and feel the same about typos forgotten if the story is good. I got a chuckle though, calling some annal retentive, typo, it's anal I believe. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 6:58:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 7:15:20 AM PDT
Brent Butler says:
There's a BIG difference between erotica and what I read in that preview. All that writer did was sprinkle trash into the prose in an attempt to be hip or shocking or whatever. It didn't add to the story or the mood. It was there just to be there. It reminded me of Jr High School kids that talked dirty because they thought it was cool to talk dirty.

I'm not a prude. I watch Comedy Central Roasts and laugh (at the funny parts). Like anything else, crude language has its place. But just spilling it onto a page to make sure it is there isn't displaying any sort of craft.

PS Rick ... did you bother to read the author's sample, as I did?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 7:29:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 7:32:09 AM PDT
Rick G says:
I will admit that I originally didn't bother. Doing so would be giving the offender the end result they're seeking.

That being said, now that you ask I did go back and do so.

I'm still not seeing your point. How someone wants to write, whether it be trying to be shocking or not, should not be up to us to stand here and look down our noses upon. One person's trash is another's treasure. Besides which, some people actually talk like that.

It's fine if it's not your cup of tea, but it's not to trash it just based on your feelings towards what constitutes proper prose.

Once again, I'm not defending the poster himself. Spamming the forums make us all look back, and I hope the Amazon gods justly "reward" him for his transgressions. I will not, however, badmouth a book I haven't read just because I don't find it to my tastes.

Edit ps: We'll probably have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm thinking I don't want to muddy up this discussion further by talking about this book...once again, as it gives the spammer exactly the attention they're looking for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 7:31:31 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 17, 2012 7:31:49 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 7:38:01 AM PDT
Brent Butler says:
"I will admit that I originally didn't bother."

So you were content to label me as trashing an entire genre while being completely ignorant of what I was writing about?

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 8:07:29 AM PDT
Pete Morin says:
I think that Splinker's a smart fella and all, but I sure don't think I'd put out my own novel for 99 cents figuring that's all it's worth, or that I'd hope folks who paid only 99 cents figured it was good "for the price." I'd figure it's worth market price - but there's just no such thang.
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Initial post:  Jun 14, 2012
Latest post:  May 15, 2014

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