Saturday, March 3, 2012

It ain't Western, but it's true!

I'm going to veer away from promotion today and talk a little about the impact of self-publishing on all authors, not just those deciding to feature their debut novels or stories through that venue.

Ten years ago, I decided to pursue my dream through Internet publishing companies, believing that the E-book revolution was a dream I could hold onto.  I was right, as now, even mainstream authors are jumping on our bandwagon...or "peeing" in our territory, as a dog owner might say.  The number of authors has grown exponentially over the years, with many who claimed to be readers years ago now possess their own published work.  The competition has become very keen and E-book sales are rocketing because of the huge interest in E-readers.  Amazon's KDP program has proven itself a success to many of us.  But is our image as Internet published authors being tarnished by the amateur mistakes of those who jump into the business too soon?

I've always been a team player, and believe in helping my fellow authors, but what irks me the most right now are those who are taking advantage of the self-publishing platform without benefit of knowing the ropes.  When I say 'ropes,' I think of all the things I've learned in these years from editors and publishers who have helped me hone my work into the best it can be. I also give credit to my critique who have been candid and made my plot lines more focused by their suggestions, or strengthened my characters by highlighting flaws that might not have been obvious to me. Great feedback is key.

 In fact, with every book I write, I always find myself wishing I could go back and redo the previous one, applying the new things I've learned.  I've done that with three of my previously pubbed works, making them a much smoother and more well-written read. Sadly, there are those who publish books filled with redundant facts, word echoes, head hopping, tense issues, and frankly, plots that leave the reader unattached to the characters because as an author, they've done more telling than showing.  These are the things you learn from editing and critique groups.  Even learning to write a query letter and synopsis is a valuable part of our writing education and many have totally side-stepped the "class."

Every day, I get a list from Amazon which lists the 200-500 free reads for the day, and one thing I've can pretty much tell the "virgins" by their poorly written blurbs that contain no hook whatsoever to draw one in.  I hope this doesn't sound bitter, because that certainly isn't my intent.  Debut authors who step out onto the stage without rehearsing (my equation of working with a strong publisher/editor) deserve the lack of applause at the end of their performance.  Writing is where first impressions really count, and when you run out of relatives and friends to fill your audience, where will you be?  Anyone disagree?

No comments: