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Old 01-24-2013, 12:45 AM   #1
KentE
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Self-pub thread thoughts?

(Note to mods-- if this doesn't belong in this forum, could it stay up for a couple of days before being moved, since the discussion originated in this forum?)
A post by Piperclassique in the "Free, Bargains...mystery" thread started by Nightbird leads me to this post....
It seems certain that there is lots of dreck in the self-pub mill. Just as certainly, there are gems lurking. The OP of the previously mentioned thread isn't comfortable with self-pubs being listed in that thread, and I understand and respect that.
I like the idea of sharing information about what might be worth a read-- the prices for self-pub books are usually reasonable, and a lot of them show up regularly as freebies. I like the idea of giving a self-pub author a chance to impress me, if I don't have to wade through all the badly written stuff to do so!
I think it's bad form to hijack Nightbird's original thread to discuss this, so....
...any discussion of format for a thread would be appreciated!

I would suggest that one should have actually read the book (or another book by the author, or at least read part of the book, or know someone they trust who's read it?) to list it. (Not just mentioning that it's got favorable Amazon reviews.)

Open to multiple genre's? or limited to?? If open to multiple genres, the genre should be mentioned early in the post. (I don't know if there's enough fodder to justify separate self-pub threads limited to a single genre.)

And to qualify as "deals, freebies", etc., does the book need to be at a reduced price, or just a low-enough price to qualify as a bargain?
(Or, following another suggestion, should a thread of this type be located in the "recommendations" forum?)

Certainly any self-pub freebie or deal can already be posted in this forum under it's own thread, and a number seem to be well-received by members. I know that some members have NO interest in self-pubs, most of us are skeptical of same, and a few seem to thrive on them.

I'll admit that I've got a few self-pubs waiting on my TBR list, and I keep intending to read & share my reaction.

(Thanks, Piperclassique & Sufue for bringing this up!)

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Old 01-24-2013, 06:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KentE View Post
(Or, following another suggestion, should a thread of this type be located in the "recommendations" forum?)
Yes. If the point of the thread is to recommend good self-pub books, then the recommendations forum is clearly the place for it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
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Yes the recommendation rooms and not this one. Also another danger with self-pub is that the authors themselves could quickly flood the forum to promote their own works if they are permitted to do so. Not unlike what you see on the amazon forums.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Also another danger with self-pub is that the authors themselves could quickly flood the forum to promote their own works if they are permitted to do so. Not unlike what you see on the amazon forums.
Yes, but I expect there are ways to stop them, as they would have to sign up to the site. Agreed they could hide their IP addys, but they can't easily change their writing style. I think it is worth a try, we can always kill the thread if it gets spammed
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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This thread has been moved to the Feedback forum, where it belongs.

The Deals and Freebies forum is NOT the place for recommended ebooks, making reference to some of the posts above.

The qualifying area - if a thread such as this is created - would be the Recommended Forum, and only if the ebooks are being recommended. Mentioning a book merely because the author is self-published is not a valid justification for inclusion in the Recommendation forum.

If authors create a sock-puppet in order to promote their books, then they will be banned. We call this spam. And their action is called spamming MobileRead, which we will not tolerate.

Referencing the idea that Authors/publishers might resort to spamming us by self-promoting at this proposed thread under discussion, there are these points to keep in mind: Authors/Publisher have ONE place to promote their work - and they have an ENTIRE forum in which to do so. Authors/Publishers who stray outside that forum in order to engage in self-promotion [or 'discussion'] we define as spam. Spam is dealt with harshly at MobileRead.


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Old 01-24-2013, 07:44 PM   #6
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Dr. Drib, I certainly appreciate your viewpoint (and recognize that it carries extra weight as a moderator), but either I didn't explain well, or perhaps you didn't understand my thoughts about a thread. (Or I don't understand your objection....)
The thought was created because there are certain threads in the "Freebies and Deals" forum where the original poster has objected to the inclusion of self-pub titles-- requesting that self-pubs not be mentioned at all in those threads. I understand this request, but really only because it's been requested by the OP of the thread. I also understand the the resistance of a lot of members have to self-pubs in general, and their desire to not wade through any posts that mention a self-pub book.
Surely there is no prohibition of a mention of a 'deal' or 'freebie' regarding a self-pub book in that forum in it's own thread. (At least I've seen them there, by a number of well-respected forum members, with good examples being the Wool series, Scott Nicholson's books, etc.)
My thought was that it might be nice to have a thread dedicated to self-pub books that apparently already properly qualify for a thread in the "Deals" forum, with a suggestion that posters limit their postings to books that they had specific direct knowledge of regarding quality.
For example, I might post that one of 'Author X's' self-pub books was currently offered for free, or that there was a special reduced price on the ZYZ omnibus, and that I'd read the book, liked it, and found it of value, edited well, and include brief comments about the writing style, genre, etc. Surely this information is of no less value than the cut-and-paste blurbs frequently included in that forum.
Since it seems that those types of books can legitimately be posted in the 'Deals' forum already, it doesn't make sense to me that a THREAD dedicated to self-pub "freebies & deals" can't exist legitimately in that forum. I've suggested that posts should be limited to books that the poster had actually read, to limit spamming (which is already banned, and thank you!), and "46 5-star reviews on Amazon-but-I've-never-looked-at-a-single-page" posts .
The concept is that members inclined to give a chance to self-pubbed authors with a proper recommendation would have a way to do so at a low-risk or no-risk price, and those who prefer to avoid all self-pubs like the plague could easily avoid the thread.
I certainly recognize that there are general reading recommendations that belong in the "Recommendations" forum, because they're not related to a specific short-term reduced price.
My original post was a query to how such a thread might be organized to be useful to those interested (for example, one thread accepting all genres, or a "self-pub, SciFi, freebies & deals" thread and a "self-pub, Romance, freebies & deals" thread, etc.)
If this thread can't exist in that forum, would a "self-pub, SciFi, freebies & deals" thread be permitted (while a brief discussion of how to organize such a thread isn't permitted)? Or does a "self-pub, SciFi, freebies & deals" thread have to be relegated to the "Reading Recommendations" forum? Or is the thread inappropriate only because it asks for member's thoughts on how such an "allowed" thread should be organized?
Re-reading your post, I certainly wasn't suggesting that a book be mentioned in the "Freebies & Deals" forum, or any other forum, "merely because the author is self-published", but rather because it was a "freebie & deal", and the poster had personally found it of merit, and noting that it happened to be self-pubbed, while insulating those who object to any mention of self-pubbed books at all.

KentE


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
This thread has been moved to the Feedback forum, where it belongs.

The Deals and Freebies forum is NOT the place for recommended ebooks, making reference to some of the posts above.

The qualifying area - if a thread such as this is created - would be the Recommended Forum, and only if the ebooks are being recommended. Mentioning a book merely because the author is self-published is not a valid justification for inclusion in the Recommendation forum.

If authors create a sock-puppet in order to promote their books, then they will be banned. We call this spam. And their action is called spamming MobileRead, which we will not tolerate.

Referencing the idea that Authors/publishers might resort to spamming us by self-promoting at this proposed thread under discussion, there are these points to keep in mind: Authors/Publisher have ONE place to promote their work - and they have an ENTIRE forum in which to do so. Authors/Publishers who stray outside that forum in order to engage in self-promotion [or 'discussion'] we define as spam. Spam is dealt with harshly at MobileRead.


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Old 01-24-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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I'm not sure I see the point in "no self-pubs" in a deals/freebies post.

What counts as "self-published?" What's the difference between the publisher being listed as Createspace or Smashwords, and being listed as some company you've never heard of, which is the author, or the author and three friends?

Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch have a publishing company they started in order to republish their own works, to which they'd reclaimed the rights. Are those self-pub? Are they only self-pub if they hadn't previously been published by a mainstream publisher? How about "the new book in my series" when the previous ones had been published by Random House, who declined to continue it?

CJ Cherryh, Jane Fancher, and Lynn Abbey have Closed Circle publishing. I have no idea if the no-self-pubs-please people would prefer their sales/giveaways be listed or not.

Setting aside the mostly-rhetorical hairsplitting arguments, the fact is, it's very hard to tell what books are "self-published." And given the quality level of some of the new tiny publishing companies--some of which are mostly "we'll do a proofreading pass and then throw your word doc into Calibre for you"--I don't see that "no self-pub" means "weed out the slush."

Hey, if the book is listed at a sale/bargain price, or free, it's still up to the reader to decide if the blurb and/or sample is appealing.

While I'd love to see some rec threads and even just sales/bargain lists for self-pub ebooks, because I'd like the good self-published authors to get more attention and money, I can't see any fair way of excluding them from other lists.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
Yes. If the point of the thread is to recommend good self-pub books, then the recommendations forum is clearly the place for it.
Agreed, as far as your exact wording goes-- if the post is simply to recommend a good self-pub, it belongs in "Recommendations".
If the post is intended to point out a "freebie or deal" that happens to be self-pubbed, with a mention that the poster has actually read & enjoyed the book, I can't see that it has less reason to be in the "freebies" forum than the same post where the poster doesn't personally recommend the book. And those posts are apparently permitted, since I've got at least 50 self-pubs in my TBR list that I noticed because they were listed in the "freebies, deals" forum.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
I'm not sure I see the point in "no self-pubs" in a deals/freebies post.
There were 670 free Kindle titles added today along with the 17,000 titles on Smashwords. There is a risk of flooding the Deals forum with these books which is something the moderators may want to avoid.

Also, there are many other self/indie published "deals and recommendation" websites and blogs around for people to use to find their next read.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for chiming in, Fbone! I always enjoy reading your posts in the Deals and Freebies section (and elsewhere), and have snagged several books you posted that looked good to me. (Thank you!) A 5 minute review of some of your posts in that forum show about 15 books described as self-pubs. Would the exact same mentions have been less worthwhile, or less valid, if they were in a thread with "Self-Pub" somewhere in the thread title? Would they be less worthwhile if they included the comment "I've read another of this author's books & enjoyed it" instead of "many favorable reviews but some look suspicious"?
Of course there's a risk of flooding the forums with self-pub self-promos, but that risk is already there & already dealt with pretty effectively. The risk exists whether or not there is a thread specifically featuring self-pub deals/freebies. I'm sure there are other websites, but I find myself trusting Mobileread readers (and Mobileread site moderation) more than any other forums I've found, unless they're dedicated to a very specific genre.
Frankly, a few months ago, I wouldn't have seen any real need to suggest the possibility of such a thread in the "Deals" forum. But over the last few months, there have been a number of genre-specific threads originated, and it seems like most major-genre books are posted in those genre-specific threads. (Mystery, SciFi, Romance, etc.) For the most part, I appreciate this, since it's easy to find listings of the genres I enjoy reading, and skip others. A couple of the originators of those threads have specifically asked in the originating post that self-pubs not be posted within that thread. I personally feel an obligation to try and respect the OP's desire, although I think of it more as a request than a rule. But this leaves self-pubs either with nowhere to be listed, or listed only as a single-book thread, or part of a conglomeration thread (as most posts were during the last period when you were regularly posting on the Deals & Freebies forum). And to me, the best reason to try ANY book (self-pub or not) is because someone I feel I trust says they've read & enjoyed it.


KentE



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
There were 670 free Kindle titles added today along with the 17,000 titles on Smashwords. There is a risk of flooding the Deals forum with these books which is something the moderators may want to avoid.

Also, there are many other self/indie published "deals and recommendation" websites and blogs around for people to use to find their next read.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:19 PM   #11
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A clarification directed to KentE (and other interested members):



Deals, Freebies, and Resources:

An ebook that is at a special price can certainly be mentioned in the Freebies forum by the creation of a thread mentioning this fact about the ebook.

After all, the whole idea of the freebies/deals forum is that the ebook is somehow being offered at a special price and that this then qualifies the ebook as a special 'deal.'

However, just because a book is self-published - since that is what we are discussing - is NOT an adequate qualifier for inclusion in the Freebies Forum.

(Parenthetically, we have no rule that would prohibit contributor X from creating her own thread for a self-published [and special-priced ebook] if she so desires. In other words, there is nothing that mandates contributor X to post only to this proposed thread. Threads come and go, and - when they are legitimate - their life-span is determined by their measure of interest to the community as a whole, not to whomever decides to create a thread. What NightBird has kindly offered in his different threads is merely a place for consolidation; one is not required to post to his thread, if one chooses not to.)

Again (and I will repeat this often as a kind of mantra), Authors/publishers are not allowed to promote ebooks outside of the Self-Promotions forum.



Reading Recommendations:

If an ebook is one that is being recommended because one has read it and wishes to share this information to other members, AND it is not being offered at a special price, then the forum of choice is the Reading Recommendations forum.

The Reading Recommendations forum is NOT a listing site; rather, it is a place to share with other members ebooks that you found interesting.



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Old 01-25-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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I think I have also contributed to the background of this much-more-acrimonious-than-I-would-have-imagined thread, and I’m hampered in participating in participating by traveling for work these past couple of days, with lots of client meetings and dinners, and between going to meetings and needing to get some sleep, I am not able to get online much right now.

My take on this back in the “Freebie Mystery” thread was simply that I would VERY much like to have a way to find out about self-pubbed (or very minor-publisher-pubbed) continuations to previously print-published series. I find that my tastes apparently don’t always mesh with what big publishers see as viable, and that series which I have enjoyed have been ended by the publishers when I would have enjoyed more books in the series. Now that authors can self-pub, they have the ability to continue these series on their own. I’m personally willing to put up with a few more typos in a book, or maybe a paragraph that doesn’t indent just so, or even a minor lack of “tightness” in the writing, to have the next installment of a series that I thought was defunct.

Like KentE, I respect Nightbird’s desire to not have self-pubbed continuations of previous series in her thread, but would like someplace for these to be discussed, perhaps with a bit of review of the book by the poster. Off the top of my head I can think of three series where I have enjoyed self-pubbed or very minor-pubbed continuation books, and I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with more. And again like KentE, I have found the best recommendations here on MR, from other MR members, so I assume that other people will be able to come up with some too.

Now my idea was really a special case – self-pubbed continuations of previously print-published series – but I personally would have no objection to having it opened up a bit. Although I do not really appreciate the brusqueness of the moderators in assuming bad intentions when I was genuinely asking for advice about how best to handle this, I am going to spend my next plane flight writing up the examples that I have in mind and on my layover I am going to just post them as recommendations in the Recommendation forum. If that violates the rules, although I don’t see why it would, then some moderator can delete the post. And, if others see value in this idea, they can also contribute to the thread, and if others don’t see value in it, then it will just die a natural death.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #13
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Ack! I just wrote what I considered a fair and unbiased summary of the preceeding discussion, hit send, and



It vanished



Have I been zapped by the phantom moderator?
Is it all my fault?
Will this post vanish into the aether as well?
Is the cat alive or dead?


Ah. KentE has just written a far better summary than mine. Good. I can get back to my book.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #14
KentE
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Thanks, Sufue, for your desire to let others know about books you have found worthy of merit! I'll be looking in the reading recommendations forum for your post, and hope you start a trend there! Personally, I'd like it if you mentioned somewhere in your post that the book you're recommending is self-pubbed, when applicable-- like you, I'm inclined to give an interesting author a chance if he/she is self-pubbed.
Thank you, Dr. Drib, for the clarifications!
As I understand it:
A legitimate Self-Pub "freebie or deal" (reduced price) can be posted in that forum (as we already know by experience.)
By extension, a "Self-Pub, freebie or deal" THREAD mentioning free or reduced price self-pub books is permitted, if the books qualifiy for it's own thread. (It can't logically be argued that a thread, such as Nightbird's Mystery or Sci-Fi threads can request to EXCLUDE self-pubs, while an equivalent thread requesting to EXCLUDE traditional pubs is NOT allowed.) Whether or not members contribute to the thread will allow it to prosper or die away.
A (short) personal recommendation of any legitimately qualified book is permitted if it would be allowed to be posted in the "deals,freebies" thread without the personal recommendation. (again, historically I see no prohibition of a personal recommendation of a trad-pub book, so it can't be logically argued that it can be prohibited when posting about a legitimately qualifying self-pub book. Personally, most books I've posted in the "deals" forum have also included my personal recommendation, and they've all been trad-pubs or backlist pubs.)
A personal recommendation of any book that is not at a reduced price belongs in the "Reading Recommendations" forum, self-pub,trad-pub, or delivered from aliens on Mars via stone tablets.
I assume that if a member had previously posted a recommendation in the "Reading Recommendations" forum, and then took the opportunity to post about a qualifying book by the same author in the "Freebies" forum, it would be permitted to say something like "see this link in the reading recommendations forum for a discussion of another book by the same author"?
And I'm pretty sure that all who are still tracking this thread in the least-visited forum in all of MobileRead understand (and approve, and appreciate the "mantra") of the prohibition of self-promotion, disguised or not.

I don't think anyone intends to 'disrespect' Nightbird's Mystery or SciFi threads--those are typically the first threads I look at on a daily basis, and I greatly appreciate it. The attempt to move this thread OFF his thread was done specifically to honor his wishes to exclude self-pubs, (and I moved it off his thread as soon as I realized it was going to become an annoyance in that thread) while considering an appropriate home for posts of other-wise qualifying self-pubs that Nightbird objected to in that thread.
Neither do I (or any other long-term member) intend to disrespect the moderators of MobileRead-- it's specifically the great work of the moderators that make MobileRead such a valuable resource! Thank you for your diligence!

With all due respect, Dr. Drib, I do think your quick removal of this thread from the original forum was quicker than needed-- I think you reacted to the "hotwords" of "self-pub" and "recommendation". From your post,
"However, just because a book is self-published - since that is what we are discussing - is NOT an adequate qualifier for inclusion in the Freebies Forum", I don't see "just because" it's self-pubbed as being the CORE being discussed in this thread, or in Nightbirds thread where the subject originated, but rather because a book happens to be self-pubbed, and is otherwise of merit. This thread was started because someone posting a forum-qualifying self-pub in Nightbird's thread was asked to not post that other-wise forum-qualified book in that particular thread, and because I'd seen the same situation crop up more than once. The original post (mine) is this thread asked specifically what aspects would be necessary to legitimately qualify a self-pub book to be posted in a "deals & freebies" thread. A simple clarification (which you've provided now) that if it's a recommendation ONLY (without a reduced price), it belongs in the recommendation forum, would have allowed this thread to stay in place where all those interested in participating in the thread would have had easy visibility. I do appreciate that your post in Nightbird's thread provided a link to where this thread was moved, since I could find no forum that really looked appropriate for discussing the possibility of establishing a thread for "legitimate" self-pub, reduced price, qualifying deals other than the "deals" forum.
The intent of my original post was to find out if members would find a self-pub-specific thread of "legitimately qualifying" deals of more value than an independent thread for each "legitimately qualifying" book, and if so how to organize it to keep it of value: and to make sure the appropriate ground rules were followed to maintain "legitimate" postings in that forum.

Thanks to all!
KentE
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #15
sufue
lost in my e-reader...
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Done! I have done an opening post and a couple of reviews in a thread in the Recommendations forum. I'll post a couple of more after my next flight. See if you like it and join in if you wish. And, if no one else is interested, so be it.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=203860
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