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Old 06-14-2011, 07:58 AM   #1
NickSpalding
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Why terrible 99c self-published authors will destroy the book industry!

Mmmm.

Great title for a post, eh?

Controversial, insulting and hyperbolic…

I could have gone with:

‘Why dinosaur big six publishers will destroy the book industry’

…as well of course. Either title would have served exactly the same purpose.

There’s a lot of this going round these days…

A great many people airing their (usually extremely partisan) opinions about this apparent war that’s raging between the traditional publishing industry and the self published authors out there who are taking advantage of the services offered by the likes of Amazon, Smashwords and (provided you’re in the bloody USA) Barnes & Noble.

I’ve stayed out of it and largely kept my opinions to myself - which as anyone who’s read my ‘Life…’ books will know, is extremely difficult for me.

I’ve read a lot though. Countless posts on multiple forums, either defending the position of writers who submit their work traditionally to the big six, or defending those who chose to self publish on the Kindle, other e-readers and via services like Createspace and Lulu.

I think I’ve now read and digested enough to come to the following erudite, considered and well thought out conclusion:

The entire thing is horsesh*t.

Read the rest of this article here:

http://spaldings-racket.blogspot.com...d-authors.html
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:10 PM   #2
crich70
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You make some very good points Nick. Whichever side of the argument a person is on their opinions color their views of which is better. We all have our own bias as to which way of publication is the best and can make points on each way good and bad. In the end though what matters isn't the means of delivery so much as the product being delivered, which in this case is books. If a book is well written it will find its place on the bookshelves, and if it's badly written the best promotion money can buy won't do a thing for it.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
If a book is well written it will find its place on the bookshelves, and if it's badly written the best promotion money can buy won't do a thing for it.
In a perfect world this would be true. Unfortunately, the vast majority of books on the shelves, and on any typical best seller's list, are terrible. And we can all think of a number of titles that were originally rejected by dozens of publishers until someone finally took a "chance" on it, and that book turned out to be gold.

Certainly the majority of the self-published stuff will be crap and even worse than what goes through a publishing house. But even so, there's just so much available these days that, in the end, what would serve everyone best is a blog or other website that searches through the mire for you and consistantly offers nothing but good reviews of great books.

We're seeing that sort of thing with YouTube now where people are bypassing YT directly and instead are going to any number of websites offering up what they consider to be the "best of" YouTube. I can invision a website someday that truly does offer up nothing but books that are worth buying, and that readers will flock to and bypass Amazon altogether. Somebody is going to make a lot of money with that website.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Having no opinion isn't open-minded, it's empty-minded, but yeah, we need to be ready to let things sift out natural. You can generally tell by the style of their arguments, who can afford to accept that or not.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:26 PM   #5
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It is ultimately the quality of the book that matters, obviously. I always use amazon reviews to judge if I should buy a book or not. I rarely care who the publisher is. Obviously though, the marketing that goes into a book from a big publisher will be better advertised and so there is a much better chance that I will have heard of it and, as a result, read it. But when I just browse the amazon store with no particular aim, I rarely look at who published.

Incidentally Spalding, I just wanted to say I just read your book Life... with no breaks. I absolutely loved it and plan on purchasing Life... on a high once I get through my current list of books to read
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
If a book is well written it will find its place on the bookshelves, and if it's badly written the best promotion money can buy won't do a thing for it.
Perhaps some of the best written novels in the past decade, Shayne Parkinson's Promises to Keep series (which I reviewed here: On Books: The Promises to Keep Quartet and On Books: Promises to Keep are Promises Kept, among other mentions), are only available as POD (print on demand) or as author self-published ebooks. These books should have been bought by a major traditional publisher and promoted to kingdom come. They are exceptional, yet they do not readily find a place on the retail bookshelves.

Similarly situated, are Vicki Tyley's mysteries, which I reviewed here: On Books: Murder Down Under. I consider Tyley's books to be 5-star books (out of 5 stars) and Parkinson's to be 5+ (out of 5) stars. I think Tyley is the Australian P.D. James. Yet, like Parkinson, she can't get a major traditional publisher interested.

In both instances, I suspect that a large part of the problem is that Tyley is Australian and Parkinson is a New Zealander, and there is a bias in the major publishers against small-market authors, especially when a book doesn't have a nearly exclusive niche that it can fill.

But the point is that excellent -- even oustanding writing -- is no guarantee that a book will find its place on the bookshelves.

Conversely, if one can spend a virtually unlimited amount of money promoting a far-less-than-stellar book, that book can be turned into an international bestseller. Do we need to look any further than The Da Vinci Code for an example?
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:43 PM   #7
NickSpalding
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alehel View Post
Incidentally Spalding, I just wanted to say I just read your book Life... with no breaks. I absolutely loved it and plan on purchasing Life... on a high once I get through my current list of books to read
That's cooler than a penguin with hypothermia mate
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:07 PM   #8
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It's all a matter of opinion. I think Vicki Tyley's books are ok, but I would never call them 5-star. She's nothing like as good as P.D. James.

Everyone to their own taste.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Well, the interesting thing is that I have been told by a traditional publisher and an agent to go self-publish, and come back when I had proved myself with some ebooks.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:02 PM   #10
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I agree 100% with Nick.

The whole self-published vs. trad published situation isn't as binary as people think. It's just a business model. I see most authors changing between business models throughout their career. There will be good books written that will never be taken on by a big publisher because they don't think the market is big enough. I'm glad that e-publishing makes these books available, the trick is lies in connecting the books to the target readers.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #11
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Perhaps we can look to Elizabethan England for an analogy. Back then there was a desperate need for plays; so it was relatively easy for writers to get their plays produced.

This probably led to a lot of bad plays being produced, but also some very great ones.

I believe, there's always talent out there, but for it to flourish it needs an outlet. Self-publishing, I believe, is now that outlet.

Randy
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Well, the interesting thing is that I have been told by a traditional publisher and an agent to go self-publish, and come back when I had proved myself with some ebooks.
The irony being that if you did well enough to attract a publisher you'd be more likely to tell them to bog off because you don't need them.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:34 AM   #13
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The irony being that if you did well enough to attract a publisher you'd be more likely to tell them to bog off because you don't need them.
Good point. Maybe it's actually not that great of a move from the publisher's part. But not all authors want to be the one-person writing/publishing/marketing machine. There's a lot of aspects to self-publishing, and some people excel at all, and some people are better off focusing on writing. Just depends on what options the author has and what trade offs they're willing to make.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:17 AM   #14
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Good point. Maybe it's actually not that great of a move from the publisher's part. But not all authors want to be the one-person writing/publishing/marketing machine. There's a lot of aspects to self-publishing, and some people excel at all, and some people are better off focusing on writing. Just depends on what options the author has and what trade offs they're willing to make.
Yea, I would love to hand the business of selling off to ppl that were good at it and just write....
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:33 PM   #15
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Right at the moment, there doesn't seem to be any problem from the reader's point of view with cheap ebooks. I have published a couple of short stories under another name for 99c. I didn't expect them to sell well and they haven't. They're literary short stories, and honestly, they're just not that interesting. They've simply slipped out of sight on Amazon, and I maybe sell one or two a month. I'd say this is what happens and what will happen with most of the dreck being published. It will simply become invisible. It won't annoy readers because it will be lost amongst millions of other books.
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