Thursday, February 11, 2010

Amazoning Amazon

So now that the submission period is closed and I’ve gotten a little further into it, I feel like I’m at least not QUITE so clueless as to what is going on…

Eating Crow on the Entrants

(without eating very many of them)
I FOUND some! There are nice people to be met! It still isn’t a forum like the Wizard War back in the day where there was enforced greeting, and requirement of reading everyone’s comments (which made for a DARNED nice bunch of people—hard to say if it is because people self selected if they couldn’t be bothered, or if it just taught people appropriate etiquette), but for the most part the humor is good, the people are inclusive, and I’ve met some nice ones (even noticed one following! *blushes*) The worst of it, is a tendency to just go on with the convo with nobody acknowledging what you said, but I have that happen in real life from time to time… I’m the INVISIBLE Amazon Queen. [in reality, I think people get sucked into a conversation, so don’t even notice].

Anyway, I am doing pretty much all my conversing in a thread at the Amazon BNA site, rather than the CreateSpace, just because I stumbled across a lot of innuendo and it looked like a good time.

The group seems serious about writing, but also fun, and a few have been finalists in past years, which is nice, as they are a resource of sorts when I’m clueless (though I STILL don’t have the answer to my question as to who the heck ‘top readers’ are (they judge round two—the story excerpt (3K-5K words)

Self-Publishing Morass

At CreateSpace more than Amazon, but to some degree on all the boards, I’ve encountered writers of a breed I had NOT before… people dissing traditional publishing, and arguing strenuously for self publishing.

Now I am not one to say self-publishing is NEVER the answer, but I do happen to believe there are PEOPLE self publishing with no business publishing at all, and that gives the product a bad name.

However, there are a few points taken:

1) You sure get to keep a lot more of your sales $. Granted, total sales should be a lot lower, as you only have one sales venue, but it is a pretty big difference.
2) Some great books are difficult to agent/publisher sell because they don’t fit nicely into a niche or have a handy one-line description.
3) (and to me this is sorta big)—once the publisher decides it’s done, your book is OUT OF PRINT and they decide when it comes back in, if ever). With self-publishing, it never is.

That said, nobody is responding AT ALL to *cough*my*cough* accusations about swimming among the filth—there REALLY ARE books that aren’t ready, but an impatient author who hasn’t gone through the full process decides to just self-publish… the review process has a quality control function—and SURE great books miss, and LOUSY books make it through, but I’d bet great books would make it 95% of the time and good books maybe 60% if the author was really persistent, and I only think about 20% of what makes it out there really doesn’t deserve to (and that is EXTREMELY genre biased—I don’t really want to pick on ‘inspirational’ except it deserves it—and then the failings of romance and fantasy I mentioned yesterday)—mainstream? I bet only about 1% of that is sort of lousy, if that. So the success fail rate is pretty good.

Self publishing, I’d bet only 10% of what is out there is fabulous and another 20% good—70% crap. Yes, I’m pulling numbers out of thin air, but I can’t see how it would be otherwise, when I have yet to FIND a self published book that is amazing (not that I’ve persisted after about 10 fails).

That makes it a REALLY RISKY venture… throwing ones self amongst the muck.

My Brain Child

I would STILL love to see a peer review process whereby people could self-publish but stamp a ‘guild approved’ heading on their book: “This book has been peer reviewed by 3 published authors, and editing by an XYZ approved editor”—a guarantee that SOMEBODY is watching the farm, so that readers will feel more confident. I think it would give authors a legitimate alternative, when right now, I honestly don’t feel like (aside from certain genres and extremely timely topics or non-fiction) it currently is ‘legitimate’.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think it can be a legitimate way of getting some things published...very specific nonfiction with a limited interest base, etc. The problem is the distribution--if your goal is to sell your book via your website with others who share this particular interest, it can be effective. And e-books level the playing field.'re right. The vast majority of self published books make a bad name for the industry. It depends on what the writer they want to share it with a few like-minded people? Self publishing works well.


Watery Tart said...


I really hope though, that traditional publishing will take a few of the gems--like instead of taking books completely out of print, transferring them to a PoD list. Hopefully someone will eventually see the wisdom of that.

jenny milchman said...

A long time ago this guy I know said, The future is content filtering.

I call that about as prescient as Walter Brooke's line in The Graduate: Plastics.

The current deluge of self pubbed novels will be but a trickle ten years from now, I suspect. HOW do we find our way to well, your book if you go that route, and other quality material?

Watery Tart said...

Jenny- thanks so much for the comment and thought... I am so relieved bigger minds than mine are thinking about this... not that I don't have confidence in my mind, but my belief in my future as ruler of the universe takes a lot of knocks... surely somebody with INFLUENCE has... you know... an influence? We can only hope.