Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self-Publishing Part 1 (For Readers)

Why Self-Published Books are Worth Reading, and How to Find a Good one:

Three Self-Publishing Myths:
Self-publishing has a stigma attached to it that I think is slowly starting to fall away. The first part of this stigma is that those who self-publish don’t have anything worth reading as they haven’t been picked up by a traditional publisher. I disagree – traditional publishers want to make money. They pick books that they think will sell. (This is how celebrities get book deals – they’re already famous, and most likely not for their writing. Why we should assume that because someone is a good actor, or reality TV star, that they’re a good writer as well I will never understand?) The truth is that there are many wonderful books out there that weren’t picked up by a traditional publisher for no other reason than because they didn’t want to take a risk on something that wasn’t a sure thing. (Check out these famous author rejections - Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times!)
Second, (and I think this is the biggest stigma self-publishing has right now) because self-publishing is so easy everyone is doing it and there’s too much crap out there. I’ve heard way too many times that people think it’s not worth their time to sift through terrible self-published books in order to find one good one. Again, I disagree. There will always be some that are “crap”, and I feel like there were more in the beginning. But, authors are learning that to have a successful self-published book that it takes time and effort. (Moreself-published books are getting to the top of the charts) It takes good writing, and a good editor. More self-published authors are doing their homework and putting the work in. And, as for the “bad books” that are already out there, ratings and reviews will help weed them out. The books that are going to be the easiest to find are going to be the ones where the author put the work in to write them, and then in turn put the work in to promote them.
Third, some think that self-published is equal to amateur, and traditionally published is equal to professional. I feel like we need to stop thinking in these terms. A self-published book can be done professionally. The only truth to the above statement is that traditional publishers have more experience being professional, where as a self-published author needs to learn how to be professional. Yes, a self-published author is an amateur publisher, but that doesn’t mean in the end that they will produce an amateur book. There are some aspects of publishing a book which require expert help, but that doesn’t mean you need a publisher to hire a professional editor, or cover artist. You can find your own experts to hire or help with your project. When self-published authors do it right, they can have books just as professional as any other. And, they are learning to do it right. Even traditionally published “professional” books still have the occasional typo or mistake, no book is perfect no matter how it’s published.


Carlos Porto
 
How to Find a Self-Published Book you’ll enjoy: (Helpful steps in selecting any book)
1.       Rate books by their covers. Yes, the old adage tells you to avoid this; however a book that has a professional looking cover can often say that the author cares about their book enough to spend a little extra time and/or money on it to make it perfect. These authors may also have wanted to spend a little extra time and/or money on things such as editing, and in turn may very likely have better books because of it.

2.       Read reviews. Read a good review, 5 stars, to give you an idea of what the story is about beyond what you know from the back blurb. Then read at least one 1 or 2 star review to give you an idea of what some of the problems with this book might be. Often low starred reviews are the best way to know if a book is right for you.

3.       Download a sample chapter, and if you don’t have a kindle or e-reader then at least read through the first few pages online. Practically every book on Amazon has this feature, and it allows you to read sometimes up to a few chapters of the book you’re interested in before purchasing.

4.       Most of all though, just search for the books you like to read. You don’t need to go out and purposefully look for self-published books to read. Just look for the kinds of books you enjoy, and if you come across one that happens to be self-published, keep an open mind.
 

Self-Published Suggestions:
My Self-Published Favorites:
Samantha Young’s Fire Spirits Series: I have loved every one of these books from the very beginning and I look forward to her next installment in the series, Darkness Kindled.
                Smokeless Fire: Read my Review on Amazon
                Scorched Skies: Readmy Review on Amazon
                Borrowed Ember: Readmy Review on Amazon
That Scoundrel Emile Dubois by Lucinda Elliot: I am currently reading this book and find it fascinating. One thing I love about self-published books is that I find many of them to be very original, this one does not disappoint. Read my Notes on Goodreads

Other Recommendations:

So, take a chance on Self-Published books. You may find some wonderful stories out there. After all Harry Potter was rejected 9 times, once because it was thought that “children's books did not make money”. It makes you wonder, how many authors with wonderful stories decided after that 8th rejection to say screw it and self-publish? Or, how many have decided that Traditional publishing may be on its way out and, just possibly, Self-publishing will be the way to go in the future.

Read Self-Publishing Part 2 (For Writers)