I am now metaphorically washing myself down after reading some of the threads on the Amazon forums about self-publishing. Those, who are thinking about self-pub, may want to look away now.
– First Post in a Forum Thread
“If we stop buying the self-published books maybe we can stop all the OTT plugging that goes on in discussions forums. Every time I open a discussion it’s filled with authors promoting their own books. Without being rude most of them are rubbish anyway, so if we get a campaign together to stop buying them maybe the self-publishers will get the message and leave us alone. Anybody interested in joining in?”
-Actual Forum Thread
“Is there a way to work out what is self-published so that I can avoid it?”
Phew, makes you think doesn’t it? These were just a couple of statements from the Forum in the UK and the most popular threads are not the ones talking about books but the ones talking about bad promotion and lack of quality in Self-Pub.
I was so shocked by the level of vitriol expressed by some readers that I had to go and have a stiff drink. I even felt slightly ashamed of thinking about self-publishing my work when finally finished.
But is there any truth, to what some readers are saying?
I started this blog (twitter account) originally as a promotional tool for my future book. This was after some good old-fashioned research into the “ins and outs” of self-pub. It came highly recommended as a great marketing tool for gaining a readership and promoting your finished product.
I learnt really quickly that Blogging has this funny way of making you take a good long hard look at yourself. I started reading other people’s extremely well put together blogs (on everything from knitting to photography) with their genuine and authentic style, and all thoughts of self-promotion quickly went completely out the window.
Will I, in the long-term, include a link to my books on the Amazon homepage? You betcha, but one little link to a page is all. Will I promote by engaging with others, of course; the efforts targeted in places where my readers might live such as Good Reads. Will I be saying buy my book now with a synopsis in every single thread – No way, I’ll be talking to others about topics that I find interesting and putting out (I hope) quality content and not shameless plugs.
In Market Research, we promote the idea that marketing unless done in a genuine way simply doesn’t work. “Word of Mouth” advertising and a “Great Product” is the only way to get your books read. That is, if you are in it for the long-haul. The constant spamming by Authors of feeds such as Twitter with “LOOK AT MY BOOK” style posts really hacks me off as does the “FOLLOW, INANE QUOTES FOR AN ADDITIONAL 500 FOLLOWERS”. Why on earth would I want those 500 followers who are stupid enough to do this? Will they care, “What I have to say?” more importantly if they are that thick, will I be interested in “What they have to say?”
Promotion is fine and I am all for it – Just do it in a way that is engaging and creative. We are writers, are we not? Create quality content, discuss and let your free excerpt or chapter do the talking for you.
The traditional success routes are now dead. Everyone has a blog, twitter account and a Facebook page and the bad self-pub are bashing the hell out of them. I know that not all self-pub is the same but reader disappointment with shoddy workmanship could help the big six keep their strangle-hold on content.
Now there are some excellent examples of Indie Authors. I have just finished a free self-pub book that I loved! I will be reviewing on Amazon and hope that this helps this woman find her market. It will only get a four star because of a couple of typos and formatting errors.
Exceptions do not make rules and as such 90% of the work that I have come into contact with as a READER is poor. I have on my kindle, no less than 50 novels which I’ve downloaded in the Self-Pub category. Some were free, others were 79 pence (99 cents) or £1.99 that I failed to finish (and I hate not finishing a book). My immersion in most cases, destroyed by a train wreck of prose.
As a writer and a wannabe author, I am currently saving every month so that I can have my work professionally proofed and edited. I will also do a considerable amount of research and re-writes. I get really angry when I see an Author who says, “My readers will tell me, if there are any mistakes.”
”I’m sorry; I must have misread, are you expecting your customer to tell you that you have a defective product?”
So that’s my rant over, I would welcome an open and honest discussion about the challenges faced in this area by both new writers and as importantly, readers?