Rage against indie writers

by
Stella Deleuze
One bigmouth with an even bigger rage against Indies

I love a good poke. Did it work? Please say yes, because that would make me happy. Relax, I’m only kidding. But I meant it when I said I have a rage against Indies. Just to clarify, it’s not all of them, that would be stupid; after all I’m self-published, too, but many of them. Why? Well, you may want to sit down and pour yourself a chamomile tea, just to be on the safe side; I don’t want you to fall off your chair or hurt yourself jumping up in order to throttle me.


Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

Sitting comfortably? Good. Now, listen, I’m not a bitch. Okay, maybe I am, but only a bit. What are you on about? you wonder. Well, let’s put it this way: I’ve probably made a few enemies by publishing my massive rant about self-published authors. Not because I hate them so much, but because I hate what they’re doing, or not doing. The trigger for my writing Rage Against The Indie in the first place was that I experienced something I’ve never experienced before: deleting book, after book, after book on my Kindle. Self-published books, that is. And as you can imagine, I wasn’t a happy camper. You see, I only read thirty to fifty minutes in bed, just before I close my eyes and drift off into wonderful dreams. I’ve counted on a few occasions: I read about ten pages of a normal paperback in an hour. That’s roughly 3000 words. I know, very slow, but I’m thorough and read every single word. 


That’s probably one reason for my being so picky about what I read, the other two hundred and fifty-seven reasons are that I’m an editor and know a thing or two about writing. Once you gain access to that knowledge, there’s no way back; you can’t flick a switch and . . .  boom . . . be a pure reader again. It’s impossible, and that means you have some sort of expectations. Don’t get me wrong. I love my light, easy-to-read chick lit, and I also like young adult fiction, nothing fancy. Something nice to relax to, but light and easy doesn’t mean it needs to lack quality. Even chick lit fares better if the characters are well developed and the author knows how to craft a decent story. I hate to see a good premise being destroyed by awful and repetitive writing. Good storytellers aren’t necessarily good writers, but at least they have the basics: a good story to start with. Some might blossom into decent writers, some won’t.

And then you have people who think they’re good storytellers, or writers, but aren’t. Those who go and invent the most hideous, far-fetched, and unbelievable stories, broadly announcing they’re sure they’ve written a bestseller, no, even worse: they’re convinced. And because they get rejection after rejection, they want to prove to the world that they’re worth it, that their writing is brilliant, mostly without success.

I personally lost count on how many books I’ve deleted. Most of the authors were too lazy to learn the basic skills a writer needs to know: character and story-development, show/tell, natural sounding dialogue, plus the attributes (punctuation and tags), apostrophes, etc. 




They hack their silly stories into their keyboard and expect the world to stand still when they publish their magnum opus. And if the public dares to point out that there’s no talent hidden anywhere, the divas of self-publishing won’t have it; no, it’s the reader who’s too stupid to understand their rather simple, girl loves boy, boy loves other girl, and happy end story. Those authors will continue to write and unleash their unreadable, flat-characters-featured, and error-riddled novels oblivious to the obvious.

On the other end are authors who take great pride in what they’re doing; editing, revising, and polishing until they’re sure readers will be able to appreciate the story, but they get drowned in the muddy waters of self-publishing.


So after a year of regularly venting my frustration on my blog, I decided to write a ‘manual’ on self-editing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be my forte. The vision I had for the self-editing book didn’t translate as well as I would’ve liked, and I was just about to give up on the thought when another post on the Amazon forum gave me an idea. I had my solution: rant my head off and include the how to not behave on social media platforms and advice on editing.


I know the book will ruffle quite a few feathers, but I can live with that. I’ve always been one to speak my mind, and why not? In fact, I think that many who follow my blog or read the book will sigh, clichédly roll their eyes, and nod as they’ve had similar experiences with either Indie authors or their books. I’m only saying aloud what many already think. My take on this is: we self-published authors, who work our arses off to produce books that can compare with the standards of traditional publishing, need to stand up and tell those who don’t care or show little respect to our craft, that we won’t accept to be tarred with the same brush.


Author Stella Deleuze

Stella Deleuze is the author of two published novels and two collections of short stories. Having spent almost all of her life in Germany, she now lives in
beautiful London with her pet iguana, Zorro. 



When she is not writing, she edits other people’s work. You’ll find her regularly ranting on the Amazon.UK forum, raising hackles and pointing out to newbie authors their mistakes–whether they want to know or not!


Be afraid, be very afraid.






The Relationship Between the Internet, Technology and Books

by 


Sara Dawkins 


The addition of the internet and technology into the world of books has been a strange one. On the one hand you are able to bring multiple books with you wherever you go with minimal bulk thanks to e-readers and tablets. You can access any book anywhere with a few clicks of a button due to the prevalence of the internet. And buying books has become as easy as just clicking “purchase” and waiting a mere 10 seconds for it to download. However as beneficial as this relationship may seem there are some worrisome downsides to this burgeoning relationship.

  1. E-Books are everywhere. You can go to just about any website these days and they likely will have a link where you can download their e-book, whether it’s a free download or being sold for a nominal price. This doesn’t mean that the book is good by any means, but that hasn’t stopped people from downloading them at alarming rates. Most e-readers also have a section of cheap or free e-books that you can download that are being sold for next to nothing just so the author can get a little name recognition, not because the book is actually good. The novelty and value of a book being something worthwhile is wearing thin with e-books being so readily available.
  2. Anyone can be an author. Everyone is an author these days. Bloggers who have never had any formal training in writing or editing are approached for book deals on a regular basis because of large followings, politicians have books out, and any actor or actress who qualifies as a celebrity can write a book, all without any type of background in writing. This poses a problem for those people who are actually trained in writing because it doesn’t take much to be considered worthy of being a published author anymore, and actually picking an author from the talent pool is becoming overrated, with the focus instead being on who can sell books based on name recognition.
  3. Writing is a by-product of publishing. The internet has produced a mindset of “publish now, publish first!” in regard to any and all avenues of writing. Because of this new mindset the focus has shifted from who wrote something of quality on a particular subject to who wrote about the topic fastest and got it published first. This has caused writing to become a by-product of publishing, instead of being the focal point of getting something published. As a result, a shocking number of poorly edited material is being published, with spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies and storylines that don’t flow becoming acceptable and even normal. 
  4. Editing is a lost art. When it comes to self-publishing, a lot of aspects of traditional publishing are lost. The author is largely responsible for the editing and proof-reading of the material and, in an effort to produce content quickly, a lot of editing and proof-reading is skipped.However, since it’s unlikely that any professional editor will look over the book before it’s published, poor editing doesn’t seem to matter, which means that low-quality books are becoming a regular, expected occurrence. 

Now that the relationship between the internet, technology, and books has been formed it’s unlikely that we’ll ever revert back to the days of high quality print publishing and hard copy books, newspapers, and magazines. But hopefully, over time, the novelty of being able to allow anyone to be an author will wear off, and we’ll start to put some stock in the type of material that we’re reading, focusing on high quality instead of ready availability. 

Sara Dawkins is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/.

Is Amazon’s KDP Select The Right Choice for You?

by
L.Leander
KDP changed my life and has made my road to publishing manageable. Although many of us are writers, only a
select few have actually taken the plunge and become Indie Authors via
publishing our own manuscripts.
Don’t worry when the day to publish arrives.  It’s normal to be apprehensive, but the KDP
program is very friendly and allows novices to walk slowly through the steps
needed.  Anyone can do it.
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
It’s good to research other self-publishing
venues before choosing KDP.  The
traditional route is the one most people think of when getting ready to offer
their book to the world but there are many other options available today.  Indie groups on Facebook and Yahoo! offer a
wealth of information.  People are
friendly, share their knowledge and help make the road to publishing easier for
newbies.
Amazon’s KDP Select offers authors free
promotion days and advertising that most struggling writers can’t afford.  Yes, the idea is to offer the book for free,
but the exposure gained is priceless.  Although
it seems that many authors have problems with the exclusive 90-day contract,
there are benefits to be had.  Here are
my stats on the first two-day promotion I held:
  • Day one I had moderate success. 
    I decided I’d be happy if I got 500 downloads.  My book had been published for two
    months and was selling about one copy a day.  The count rose and by the end of day one the
    book had 5,551 downloads!
     
  • Day two was even better and by the end of the promotion there
    were over 10,000 downloads – far more than I ever expected.  The book reached number three in Kindle
    Free Books in both listing categories. 
    Afterwards actual book sales soared to four or five a day.  There they stayed until a move made me
    have to take two weeks off from promoting.
     
  • Since the promotion, Amazon Prime Members have been borrowing
    the book, for which I receive a separate stipend.
     
KDP has been good to me.  The results are solid.   If you
want to sell books.  Amazon, in my
opinion is the leader in the market and will continue to be.

Some authors warn not to go KDP Select until
you have two books published.  The
thought is that one helps sell the other. 
While that makes total sense, I disregarded the naysayers and went ahead
and signed with KDP anyway. 
Here are the things that made my promotion
successful and can help yours be the same.
  • Be outgoing and make online friends who will tweet, share, like
    and tag your books.  Be sure you do
    the same for them.
  • Don’t run a promotion until your book has a few solid reviews
  • Promote heavily on the free days with Facebook groups and book
    blogs
  • Create a Facebook event and invite everyone to join you
  • Have a video trailer created – it definitely helped with marketing
    in my case
  • Use a professional cover designer unless you are very good at
    the craft
  • Have your book professionally edited and beta to be sure it’s
    as error-free as possible
  • With KDP Select you can go in and correct errors with no change
    in status of the book being available for sale
     
What you can learn from my promotion?
  • Promote heavily – next time there are more sites I’ll use to
    publicize the free days – let people know you will be running a free event
  • Pre-promote – let people know you are getting ready to run a
    free promotion a few days ahead of time
     
KDP deserves my loyalty because it’s been
good to me.  Most of us as struggling
writers don’t have the budget for high-end advertising, websites, and all the
bells and whistles.  Amazon hands us some
of that gratis for signing on with them. 
Most writers cringe at the thought of all
of those books being given away free. 
How will you go from an unknown author to bestseller if no one ever
hears about your work?  The world is full
of billions of people.  Ten thousand or
so is a drop in the bucket, but enough to get the word out.  I’d love to have 20,000 downloads for my next
promotional event!
KDP is for me.  It may not be for you.  Don’t expect to become a millionaire
overnight.  It’s probably not going to
happen.  Do get involved in groups of
people that include Indie Authors.  Pay
it forward – help someone with your knowledge and you’ll feel much better about
accepting help from others.  Most Indie
Authors want their fellow writers to succeed and it’s been my experience that
many of them will go out of their way to give aid.
Author L.Leander 
The door has opened for authors to
self-publish.  All authors are not
writers, in my estimation.  Some don’t
take their writing seriously enough to have it professionally edited and
read.  They design bad self-made covers,
forget to spell check and grammar check, and know little about formatting.   However, most Indie Authors take themselves
and their writing seriously.  They’re
achievers, very professional in attitude and in their writing.  They’re avid readers and realize that a book
must be well done or it’s doomed to fail.  The reading public will separate the wheat
from the chaff.  Readers have a way of
letting the whole world know if they like or don’t like a book.  What we as fellow authors can do is encourage
and offer help when asked.

Whether you choose Amazon’s KDP Select or
another route I wish you the best of 
luck.  Be proud to be an Indie
Author!
   

  

KDP Select – Amazon wants exclusivity.

What’s the deal with Kindle? They want exclusivity with our books, is this goodbye to Smashwords and other e-outlets? Will this 90 days exclusivity become indefinite?  

They only want our E version, our paperbacks can be available anywhere we desire (can’t help wondering for how long). But we won’t be able to sell our books ourselves from our own websites any more. 



This, of course, isn’t conditional with Kindle Amazon. We can opt in or out.

Check out: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect

This is a decision most of us have been mulling over this week.

So, questions we need to ask:

  • How would it work?
  • What would we get out of being exclusive to Kindle?
  • Is it easy to opt out once we opt in?
  • Is copyright still ours?


Who’s decided already? Who’s still thinking? What are your worries about this venture?



Check out Linda Rae’s post who seems very opposed to the idea: http://lindaraeblairauthor.wordpress.com/blogs/new-to-be-or-not-to-be-indie-the-amazon-lending-library-program/


Writers’ Beware: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/


The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/16/amazon-kindle-lending-library-contract-authors


So many people are talking about it, and so far no one has anything good to say about it. But in all honesty, no one knows how it’s all going to work out. And if you’ve an ebook gathering cyber dust I say go for it.