Saturday, November 26, 2011

what's with all the self-pub hate?

So, I have to ask:

What's with all the hate against self-published authors?

I see it everywhere I go: Goodreads comments, Amazon reviews, etc. To judge by the discussions that go on in places like those, self-pubbers are roughly as popular as the United States Congress (currently sitting at 9% approval rating, by the way).

As a self-publishing author, I don't exactly take this personally -- after all, it couldn't possibly be aimed at me or in response to anything I did, since I only hopped on the self-publishing bandwagon relatively recently. Still, I can't help but be concerned by it.

After all, I didn't get into this on a whim, and I intend to take it as far as I can -- all the way to a print deal with a dead-tree publisher, if I can manage it. But my chances of that are significantly lessened if no one will read my books because I'm a self-publisher.

I understand people may have legitimate reasons for rejecting self-published authors. I'm sure many self-pubbers are lax on the editing or the proofreading. Also, not needing to be "accepted" by anyone for publication probably leads to some crap stories making it to print (though I can think of a few crap stories that made their way through the filters of traditional publishing houses, too).

At the same time, though, I'll never get anywhere if no one is willing to take a chance and go against the apparently-widespread prejudice against self-publishers.

So, here is the promise I make to all of you. My "seal of quality," as it were:

1.) Nothing I write will ever reach your Kindles (or Noooks, etc.) without passing through at least 3 sets of eyes besides mine. Don't take my word for it -- I always credit my editors and proofreaders in the acknowledgments section. I can't promise you there will never be a typo, but there will be damn few.

2.) I will never ask you to buy a story of mine without providing a "sample" of it for you to read free of charge. All of my currently-available stories have such samples on their respective pages on this blog. This way, you can judge for yourself whether the writing and editing are up to snuff. You'll have to trust me that the quality of the sample reflects the quality of the rest of the novel. If you don't think so when you finish reading -- write a bad review. I promise, I won't start a flame war. :)

3.) I will only ever publish stories that I truly, personally believe in. I said on Lindsay Buroker's blog that you have to love what you write, and I truly believe that.

I take my obligations to my readers very seriously. I ask you for the chance to prove that.


  1. I wouldn't pay that much attention to the rapid anti self-published book people on various boards. They need to get a life.

    Most of the readers in the US and probably the rest of the world don't care as long as it's a good, well-edited book. So don't disappoint them or they won't read the rest of your books.

    I've sold about 32,000 of my two self-published books (sweet historical Western romances) in seven months. My readers don't care that they're self-published. They're asking me for the next one in the series.

    However the three pair of eyes (as long as at least one of the pair is a professional author/editor) is a good baseline.

  2. Just from my point of view, the majority of "we hate self-pub" is the perceived (and most of the time, actual) lack of quality in the final product.

    I've run into this several times recently. The purchase site reviews are mixed, the blurb and sample are good, but the rest of the book, in a word, SUCKS!

    When purchasers run into this often enough the brush they use to tar self-pubbed stories and authors keeps getting wider, and wider, until eventually "some" becomes "all".

  3. "At the same time, though, I'll never get anywhere if no one is willing to take a chance and go against the apparently-widespread prejudice against self-publishers."

    Don't worry. There are lots of people who go out of their way to support indie authors too. And there are others who just want a good deal, so they're attracted to the under-$5 ebooks. (Some prefer the under-$1 ones, heh.)

    Also, the way Amazon is set up right now, it's not particularly obvious to most readers that such-and-such ebook is self-published. Amazon certainly doesn't care. If a book is selling, they will recommend it.

    I'm sure you will do great in the end, John. Don't get discouraged. It takes time and definitely helps to have more books out, though it already looks like you're doing better than a lot of indies. Stick with the marketing and writing!