What a great retrospect to the beginnings of self-publishing. I think self-publishing has grown up a lot and in fact, I mainly read self-published books now. Author’s know that an editor is essential for success as a self-published author and so the quality of these books are great. But what do you think?
How are you doing? Is your writing/blogging flowing or are you struggling? Are you ready for publishing or still wondering, if self-publishing or traditional publishing is the better option?
Well, I am afraid I can not really help you with that question as it is a highly personal thing to decide. The only thing I can do is tell you a little about my reading experience of self-published authors:
I think it is a new and exciting reading experience: You never really know what’s coming at you. It’s little like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates. There are books out there which have a really high standard both of writing style and storytelling. I suspect those authors have invested in their novel and have either paid a professional proofreader/editor or had the support of many, many beta-readers. Then there are those who let their book out in a rather raw form: You can see the talent of the writer but the writing style and storytelling has some edges that are just nagging a little on the reader.
Me personally, I like that kind of reading experience. It’s different, it’s edgy, it so often is not what you expect. Genres are mixed in an unusual way and you are left with lots of questions. But that is not everybody’s thing and it is questionable, especially if you have paid a lot of money for a book like that.
If you really want to make at least a little money with your book, do not cut corners with the editing. I know so often young or new-coming authors cannot or hardly can afford a professional editor but I believe there are ways around it. Find yourself beta-readers which are honest with you and know some proper grammar and style.
And allow yourself to let your book rest for a while before you let your beta-readers read it. It is astonishing how different your story looks to yourself if you read it 4 weeks later. You are out of your immediate ideas for the story and you are much more of a “normal” reader than the author who tries to bring his or her baby into this world.
I know, it is so exciting to see your own book on Amazon, Blurb or NetGalley but would it not be more exciting to actually make some money with it? I believe readers who read self-pub books are very understanding and tolerant but there are so many self-pub authors out there that your books need to stand out and a good quality of style and storytelling is one thing to bring readers on your side.
Many traditional published books I have read have a long list of people whom the author thanks for their help. They have shown the author holes in the plot, have motivated them and have helped them to edit, edit and edit. I have not seen this as often in self-pub books and I have started to wonder if the reason for that is, that self-pub authors plainly do not have that network of support. Or maybe they think, they have to do it all on their own.
But that has its pitfalls and not enough editing is one of them. This “wisdom” has emerged for me while writing my serials Zara and Morsmart at the End of the Galaxy. When re-reading the beginning of both, I realised what looked like a cool story to me, in the beginning, was actually not that good and full of confusion. Still working on the first edits ….. well, sometimes lol.
That’s the hard bit of the writing process. Work on it until it’s nearly perfect. I will never be. There is a time when you just have to let it go. For some, this is earlier. For some later. Still, it is certainly a good idea to let other eyes read it before it goes out from the press or into the ether of the e-readers ;-).
In this sense: Good luck with your decisions as well as finding beta-readers or editors this week!