Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog hangover: an aftermath of yesterday's post

As expected, my posting an excerpt of my current WIP, which addresses self-published authors who just can't be bothered to respect the craft of writing or their readers, has sparked an interesting discussion. Once the book is finished and on the market, it will become apparent who I'm targeting and why. Just to be clear here: I celebrate self-publishing and the way it opens door for authors and readers alike. Years ago, I had a friend who wrote down her experiences with her abusive husband; she couldn't talk about it to anyone, particularly not him, so she wrote a book, getting it out of her system. She was still young and needed to do that to eventually communicate with her family and her ex-husband. I don't know if she's ever published the book, but I thought it was very brave of her. I don't think she ever intended to make a big deal out of it and seek representation. I don't address people like her with my book. Self-publishing has always been perfect for that. But normally, they would get a few copies printed and hand them out, not go and sell them to the public.

This has changed, though, and I'm addressing those who think they have it in them, who think they're the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke; those who think writing is really easy and they just hack the words into their laptop and then go and promote the hell out of the pile of shite they've produced. Well, why don't you just sample, you may ask. The sample function of a book may give you an indication of the writing/grasp of grammar, but it won't give you an indication of how well plotted the book may be. And I've seen great first three chapter and then: downhill. By then you've wasted hours, or in my case: days, weeks even.

As Derek yesterday suggested: go back to buying books of the big six! Yes, that's actually what I've decided. I've got about 50 odd self-published books on my Kindle and will give all of them a try, but I'm definitely not adding more for the time being. Though I have downloaded one more yesterday; co-incidentally, the one I was attracted to was free. People will say if it's free you have nothing to lose. I disagree. How about time? Time is the one thing I can't get back. Apart from turning back the clock, that is, but that's a different matter.

However, one point left a sour taste in my mouth:  A few new visitors, names I hadn't seen before popped up and 'defended' the indie scene by coming in bulk, recommending each others' works. Which was quite a shame to discover. It reeks of scratch my back and I scratch yours, or we're from the same website and therefore must recommend each other. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for supporting each other if you read and love the books, but why not being open about it by saying: We're a collective of indie authors and maybe you could give one of us a try (which I'm doing as said above), I guarantee the books are well edited. That would have come across as more honest than a group of people blowing each others' horns. I'm sure it was unintentional, but it reeked somewhat fishy to me.
In general, I don't care much about recommendations. Why? Because taste is something you can't discuss. What you might love, I might hate. For as long as I can remember, I've been someone who went into a library (as a kid) and a bookshop later on, preferring to browse. I could spend hours there, choosing the right read. I never asked the shop assistant for help, I let my gut feeling decide, and to 99% I ended up with a read I either loved or at least enjoyed immensely. There's only one person whose recommendations I follow and that's from my friend Piddi. Every books she's given me has been a winner, and that's the only person I will listen to blindly.
Anyway, I'm glad to have made the acquaintance of a bunch of indie authors who take their 'job' seriously, particularly David, who seems to have a wicked sense of humour. (Loved your teen-voice post. Hilarious.)

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