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Author Topic: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.  (Read 31945 times)  

Offline sarahdalton

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #125 on: January 28, 2014, 07:22:36 AM »
I'm finding the comments a bit more jarring than the post. I took the post to mean putting your best foot forward, and treating self-publishing like a business, which is something I strive for myself. But, I am finding some of the comments more difficult to stomach, specifically the ones suggesting that everyone needs a developmental edit, rather than copy edit and proofread.

Is it really so difficult to imagine, despite the many hats self-publishers wear, that we can't wear the hat of editor? Don't get me wrong, I'm usually of the opinion that it's not a good idea to publish a book that no one else had read. I'm a big believer in betas, editors and proofreaders, but when it comes to spending thousands of dollars/pounds on developmental edits, and rewriting books over and over... I just don't think it's always needed.

There, I said it. I confessed it.

I also think I got a different meaning from Chuck's piece. I read it thinking that he was encouraging more of a Kboards atmosphere, rather than discouraging it. We ARE critical here. If someone asks for help, we tell them what's wrong. It's not just a cheerleading place, it's a point of contact for authors to meet and improve. Yeah there are inspirational posts, but the vast majority are really sensible. Maybe there's more trade publishing bashing than I'm aware of. I don't really read those threads. Still, there are always differing opinions, and differing attitudes. There are many people on either side. It's a discussion board.

Just my two cents as always.

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Offline 90daysnovel

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #126 on: January 28, 2014, 07:26:36 AM »
I would love to see this poll. My experience is anecdotal, naturally, but my Facebook feed is full of people who primarily read self-published works. They gobble them up the way some people listen to indie rock. These are the readers who are helping so many indie careers take off. And I think for the people who never read self-published books, they don't understand that these readers exist. They can't imagine being one of them. Which is cool, but I think that makes the success of self-published books perplexing to them. And all the positive reviews are baffling. "Who is reading this garbage?" they think.

Well, a lot of people. I interact with them every day.

As for how uninviting KB is, quite a few people here agree with Chuck. One of our members posted this as something worthy to read. They didn't post this and mock it. They thought it was spot-on. There is a mix of opinions here. But I do wish we would keep in mind that the internet is a small place. I can tell you from experience that it's no fun reading a thread and seeing someone bash you as if you aren't in the audience. We're all in the audience. The audience is everyone. *waves at Chuck*

Part of the issue, I suspect, is that Mr. Wendig's piece (correct me if I'm wrong, Chuck) was partly aimed at this community, so of course offense will be taken. I would just like to counter his assertion that damage is done by cheerleading for self-publishing by saying that the emails I get from writers who have taken the plunge represent the positive side of this community. I hear from writers all the time who didn't believe in themselves but finally found the courage from their fellow self-published authors, and now they are having success, winning over fans, hearing from readers around the world, and feeling good about themselves in a deep and spiritual way that they never thought possible . . . and if we have to stomach some mediocre writing (that no one will ever see and won't get in any other author's or reader's way) in order to attain that? That's a cheap price to pay.

Scaring people away from publishing their work (which I think is the likely result and possibly even the aim of Chuck's posts) is not without consequence. Wonderfully talented writers who are crippled by their self-doubt will shove great works back in the drawer. I'd rather promote those people on the edge to publish, publish, publish. One CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is worth a thousand Snookies. We have to be careful of the unintended consequences of our protestations.

This - though I think Blackstone beat us to it by 250 years when he said "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".

Amazon UK passed the 2.5 million ebooks available mark last week - that mountain hasn't stopped anyone finding great books. We could all stand to up our game. Steve Jobs once asked of the mac development team creating the first apple computer "If someone's life depended on it, could you make it boot 10 seconds faster?" Three days later, the boot time had been cut by thirty seconds.

There's nothing wrong with aiming for quality - but authors shouldn't be the ones to decide what quality actually is. The take away from Chuck's post for me was "Do right by your readers, and they'll do right by you." but your readers aren't my readers. If I want to go after the nickel and dime market selling at 99c (and limiting expenditure in order to do so), then I can. Our reasons for publishing, and our goals in doing so, are as varied as the opinions in this thread.

Need quick cash now? Pull a Jasinder Wilder.
Want to go free forever to get onto as many kindles as you can? Go for it.
Want to write a niche book you love, but no one will ever pay for? Have at it.

Readers have samples, a full refund policy, and a whole universe of choices. If I can make that universe a bit brighter, I should. But that doesn't make it my place to police what others do. Each to his own - as long as he is happy to live with the consequences.


Offline Andrew Ashling

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #127 on: January 28, 2014, 07:28:18 AM »
I'm sorry, Chuck, but both your posts could have used some editorial editing before being published. Someone should have stopped you at the gates.

They are a hodgepodge of skewed comparisons, truisms turned into strawmen (A strawman is not something we have to "agree" upon, as you seem to think. It's a well-defined logical fallacy.), unproven assertions and vague gloom-and-doom mongering. Religions have been started for less.

While my appreciation might seem a bit general, I'll admit this is only because you are a master in muddying the waters. It would take a very long rebuttal indeed to rectify what you so nonchalantly distorted, confused and otherwise obfuscated.

I admire how both posts are so emotionally laden that they can both enrage and inspire heartfelt consent. However I've lost more time already reading them than I want to invest in these non-issues.

So, with all due respect, I'm not in the mood to be one of your enablers and play pigeon chess with you.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 07:29:55 AM by Andrew Ashling »












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Offline geekgrrl

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #128 on: January 28, 2014, 07:43:15 AM »
I thought I posted this last night, but maybe I missed the "post" button in my stupor.  Forgive me if it's a dupe.

I was on deviantart last night, wondering why there are no articles and millions of blog posts calling for artists to call out their own kind for posting "sub-par" work. You don't hear them calling each other out to take some classes and stop dumping inferior product on the market that buries the "good" art. Why do you suppose that is?

Oh trust me it happens. But these topics have been hashed and re-hashed in the art community for centuries now, so we tend to be less public about it, and when you bring it up at parties, everyone groans and throws their dinner rolls at you. The comparative newness of self-publishing is what's causing these public debates. Ultimately it will all settle down when everyone realizes that all the huffing and puffing matters not one whit. Que sera and all that.

Offline geekgrrl

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #129 on: January 28, 2014, 07:45:48 AM »
Scaring people away from publishing their work (which I think is the likely result and possibly even the aim of Chuck's posts) is not without consequence. Wonderfully talented writers who are crippled by their self-doubt will shove great works back in the drawer. I'd rather promote those people on the edge to publish, publish, publish. One CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is worth a thousand Snookies. We have to be careful of the unintended consequences of our protestations.

Thank you for this. I heartily agree, and will happily rummage through the rubbish to find a gem.

Offline Martitalbott

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #130 on: January 28, 2014, 07:48:38 AM »
I remember a discussion like this a few years ago. People were even in favor of having Amazon charge for uploads to get rid of the less quality books. That idea didn't go anywhere, thank goodness.

Let the readers/review writers be the judge. It's a great system, in my opinion, that has not let us down yet.
       
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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #131 on: January 28, 2014, 08:10:41 AM »
I woke up this morning thinking about this and laughing a little at myself. I got asked recently to submit my next series to a traditional publisher (Montlake, and I like what they do for their romance authors), but I realized my biggest doubt was: would it be done well enough? Yes! I know that sounds arrogant, but I'm really good at blurbs, and my covers are, I think, terrific, and branded with my "look." And I'm hesitant that an editor will ask me to do the things the trad publisher who WAS interested before I self-published asked me to do: inject more "heat" at the beginning, amp up the tension (artificially, to me--I like my folks to behave like rational people who care about each other), edit out my "voice," etc. I have a pretty good idea by now why my readers like my books, and how to provide that.

The fact is, nobody at any publishing house, ever, will care as passionately as I do about my books, or will work harder to get it right. Their blurb writer won't work that blurb over and over for a week (and probably won't have 10 years of copywriting experience, either, I might add). Their developmental editor isn't going to be smarter than the District Judge who is one of my beta readers, who tells me in no uncertain terms when more tension IS needed, or the loyal reader who's become another beta reader, who's been reading romance for 40+ years, who has a lifetime of experience and observation and analysis of people's emotions under her belt.

I'm not saying my books are perfect. But I'm saying that I, and many, many folks on here, are keenly aware that readers will only buy a quality product. That the better it is, the better it will sell. And we are in the business of selling OUR books and knowing OUR customers. The simple fact is, people who don't do those things well are unlikely to sell much. Would it be better if some authors took more time and trouble over their books? Yes. Should we all be trying, always, to up our game? Yes. Chuck is sure right about that, and so are the many writers on KBoards who discuss craft and marketing and every aspect of this business we're in, every day, and help all of us do just that.

So, thanks, everybody. Thanks, Chuck, for a thoughtful post that inspired a lot of good discussion here. And welcome.

Offline sarahdalton

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #132 on: January 28, 2014, 08:14:40 AM »
The follow up made me a bit uncomfortable. I've just read it.

I still agree with being the best we can be as authors. But lets face it, 'our best' is subjective, and still capable of being rubbish. I for one will not be telling another author their book is crap (unless they ask my opinion) because it's none of my business. But readers have the review option, and the option to get a refund. Plus the sample on Amazon.

Ugh. This entire argument is making me weary now. I regret clicking and ultimately getting involved. There's no right answer to this debate. There really isn't.

And with that, it's time to work on my book. I have a business to run. We all do.

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Offline jackz4000

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #133 on: January 28, 2014, 08:21:09 AM »

Scaring people away from publishing their work (which I think is the likely result and possibly even the aim of Chuck's posts) is not without consequence. Wonderfully talented writers who are crippled by their self-doubt will shove great works back in the drawer. I'd rather promote those people on the edge to publish, publish, publish. One CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is worth a thousand Snookies. We have to be careful of the unintended consequences of our protestations.

Which is probably like many here. I'm sure His Hughness himself felt some pangs of self-doubt when he offered his first book for sale. Most people would feel that. He had some success and he continued writing and his writing and stories improved and I'm sure he learned a lot. I don't think new writers who want to publish should be discouraged from trying their best and putting out the best book they can at that moment in time.

Everyone should have a chance. The Chuckie's of the world don't get to decide if it's a good story and a good book--the readers do. And readers can be harsh because they vote with their dollar.

I am mainly a reader and read more than I write and I've found some great SP books and if I can find them--anyone can. And with a One-Click Refund no reader gets burned. Personally I love to find new books by a new unknown author. Usually with after less than 15 minutes I know if the book is for me or if it has glaring problems.

This topic comes up way too much and usually because of some blogger wailing about Indie books. I seldom hear this wailing about Indie movies or music or art. Only books.  :P  I guess because many writers need to blog about their discomfort.

Offline RichardWolanski

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #134 on: January 28, 2014, 08:22:06 AM »
So beautifully said.

Completely agree. I know I was that writer once, before I dove in head first with a smile on my face.  :D

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #135 on: January 28, 2014, 08:25:47 AM »
Cousin Vrabinec,

your post didn't make it past the moderator here.

Folks,

If I have to remove one more post, I'm locking the thread so I can return to my life.  Think carefully before you post.

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Offline dianasg

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #136 on: January 28, 2014, 08:30:00 AM »
I mean this with respect (and I hope that Betsy doesn't zap me), but it's important to note that Chuck has been a member for a while, but he has only ever posted at KB in order to defend his blog posts. So his view of us is probably pretty skewed. Most of us who spend time here realize that KB is not "unwelcoming" -- we were welcomed just fine. But we didn't join a (mostly) self-publishing board to tell self-publishers they should... self-publish less.

Not that I begrudge him trying to defend his own viewpoint. It's just that disagreement on this issue is kind of going to be inevitable, here. But KB is not a hostile place, IMO, in large part because of our moderators.

Offline jackz4000

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #137 on: January 28, 2014, 08:35:33 AM »
I mean this with respect (and I hope that Betsy doesn't zap me), but it's important to note that Chuck has been a member for a while, but he has only ever posted at KB in order to defend his blog posts. So his view of us is probably pretty skewed. Most of us who spend time here realize that KB is not "unwelcoming" -- we were welcomed just fine. But we didn't join a (mostly) self-publishing board to tell self-publishers they should... self-publish less.

Not that I begrudge him trying to defend his own viewpoint. It's just that disagreement on this issue is kind of going to be inevitable, here. But KB is not a hostile place, IMO, in large part because of our moderators.

I can't find the Like button?

Offline vrabinec

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #138 on: January 28, 2014, 08:39:01 AM »
Cousin Vrabinec,

your post didn't make it past the moderator here.

Folks,

If I have to remove one more post, I'm locking the thread so I can return to my life.  Think carefully before you post.

Betsy
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 ;D

Didn't think so. Probably best as a PM anyway. Thank you for saving me from myself. I've cooled off now.

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Offline GMSkarka

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #139 on: January 28, 2014, 08:46:40 AM »
Here's the thing, in my opinion:   Writing is art.   Publishing is business.

Nobody is standing in the way of anybody's art, nor should they.   But if you're in business (and if you're publishing, you are), you need to produce the best product you can -- and what I hear when I hear "readers are our gatekeepers" and "Amazon has a returns system" and "I can always update with revisions" is, basically:  "I can release low-quality product, product that I *know* customers will be dissatisfied with, because they can always return it, or I can keep changing it after they bought it."   Nobody sees the problem with that?

We owe it to the people who spend money on us to release the best product that we can.   Not stuff that's "almost good enough".   Not stuff that we'll change after the fact -- if we have to change it, it shouldn't have been for sale to begin with, because it wasn't ready.

Here's the problem -- every one of the people who uses the return system, every one of the people who get irritated when we "fix" something that that should've been right before we asked for money for it, every one of the people who buy something that they were enthusiastic about before realizing that it wasn't of good quality -- those aren't just lost customers.  They have friends, family and colleagues, whom they talk to.   They're the ones who say "you've got to be careful with self-published stuff, because let me tell you what happened to me..."

The word spreads... not just about you, personally, but about self-published work as a category -- because (and here's the kicker) we're already fighting an uphill battle against the old biases against self-publishing.   So we owe it to our customers, ourselves, and our fellow self-publishers to release the highest-quality stuff that we possibly can.


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Offline Fishbowl Helmet

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #140 on: January 28, 2014, 08:48:07 AM »
But I'm saying that I, and many, many folks on here, are keenly aware that readers will only buy a quality product. That the better it is, the better it will sell.

So Fifty Shades of Grey was hands down one of the best books ever written? It must be because it's sold more than Harry Potter in the UK. So it must therefore, be objectively better than the Harry Potter series. It was also the best selling book of 2012, therefore it must have been the highest quality book released that year. Good to know. I thought there was some debate on that.

Can we please let this particular canard die already? Quality does not equal sales, sales do not equal quality. There's proof right there. Need more? The Twilight series. Dan Brown. And just about every celebrity book ever.

Offline SLGray

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #141 on: January 28, 2014, 08:51:26 AM »
Hugh said:

Quote
Scaring people away from publishing their work (which I think is the likely result and possibly even the aim of Chuck's posts) is not without consequence.

Yep. Still not seeing where this point of view comes from. I really do wish someone had pointed at any post or comment that said people should be scared away or stopped from publishing anything. What was said is that people should not be seeing the fact there isn't anyone stopping them as a reason to publish less than polished work.

Here at KBoards, no one may have said directly that they're going to have readers pay to act as a critique group or beta readers for them. I have, however, seen conversations saying that members here don't feel it's a problem to constantly update their work and reupload it when they get commentary not just on typos (which I think should be fixed if there are enough for someone to comment on), but on content and plot. When they feel that they've reached a new level of competency, they're happy to pull the old file and reupload it with the new, improved version.

We all improve in our writing, or try to at any rate, don't we? I'm sure everyone can look back on an earlier work, published or not, and see where they could improve upon it. And if it's not out there in the world already, knock yourself out! Or even if it is, on your website, or posted somewhere for people to see but not pay for it. But if people are paying for it and you're trying to build a career on it, it's better to strive for the best and then move on to the next book rather than using feedback to revise things that are already being sold, right?

That ^^ in my opinion is problematic. And I have seen it here, as well as in other places.

Diana said:

Quote
...but he has only ever posted at KB in order to defend his blog posts. So his view of us is probably pretty skewed.

I just want to point out (and I'm sure you all realize this) that not posting does not mean that someone isn't reading or forming their own opinions about a community.

It's been an interesting debate. I'm still feeling sort of like I set Chuck up to get bashed. Wasn't my intent. Nor was it to offend anyone on Kboards for doing so.

Offline RobCornell

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #142 on: January 28, 2014, 08:59:44 AM »
Or maybe everyone is better served by leaving it up to the reader and getting on about their own business of doing their own work.

ETA: I happen to hate, I mean absolutely loathe, 50 Shades of Gray. I read most of the sample and was sickened by the poor quality and the cover sucked. Did I have the right to tell readers they couldn't buy it or EL James that she didn't have the right to publish it?

No.

And she would have very rightfully ignored my opinion. It's not my business. My next novel is my business and that's all. The author of the blog piece needs to get over himself.


Spot on, JR. Especially this: "My next novel is my business and that's all. The author of the blog piece needs to get over himself." Indeed, he does. But Wendig's whole gimmick is taking a contrary position to everyone else. In this case, he had to make up a position, because the other two were already taken.  :P

Offline GMSkarka

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #143 on: January 28, 2014, 09:04:12 AM »
Can we please let this particular canard die already? Quality does not equal sales, sales do not equal quality. There's proof right there. Need more? The Twilight series. Dan Brown. And just about every celebrity book ever.

Again, you're mistaking the quality of the craft with the quality of the production.    There is no denying that Dan Brown's work, The Twilight Series, 50 Shades, etc. are all professionally-produced, regardless of what some folks may feel about the quality of the writing.

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #144 on: January 28, 2014, 09:05:59 AM »
I'm leaving this thread, but thanks, Chuck, for what you wrote in your first blog post, and thanks for coming to this thread and posting your thoughts. As I stated earlier, I agree with most of what you wrote in your first blog post.

My goal is to be the best indie writer I can be. :)  


Offline RobCornell

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #145 on: January 28, 2014, 09:06:22 AM »
Does anyone do that? I cheer for the path and the freedom for anyone to publish whatever they want. The works I recommend to others are the works I find sublime. Everything else goes unmentioned.

But maybe what I pass over, someone else thinks is superb. And maybe what is unpopular today will be heralded twenty years from now.

You'll never find me encouraging people to throw a rough draft up on Amazon. But you'll never find me castigating those that do. Why do I care? Who are they harming? Is self-publishing really going to be defined by those who expend the least amount of energy? If so, are we going to define traditional publishing by Snooki and 50 Shades of Grey?

There are too many great books out there that need reading. Worrying about the poorly written and poorly edited books seems like a waste of time.


I have a serious man-crush on you, Hugh. I'm sorry. I can't help it.  :-[

Offline GMSkarka

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #146 on: January 28, 2014, 09:13:27 AM »
Is self-publishing really going to be defined by those who expend the least amount of energy?

That's already happening, in some circles (review sites that won't look at self-pubbed books, for example) -- you can argue that such outlets are not needed because there are other sites that DO, but that still doesn't mean it's not happening.

If so, are we going to define traditional publishing by Snooki and 50 Shades of Grey?

Now, y'see -- this is ironic, because there are posts made by people in this very thread that have done just that.    (Heck, even your own "One CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is worth a thousand Snookies." could be argued to be doing that.)

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #147 on: January 28, 2014, 09:13:50 AM »
So Fifty Shades of Grey was hands down one of the best books ever written? It must be because it's sold more than Harry Potter in the UK. So it must therefore, be objectively better than the Harry Potter series. It was also the best selling book of 2012, therefore it must have been the highest quality book released that year. Good to know. I thought there was some debate on that.

Can we please let this particular canard die already? Quality does not equal sales, sales do not equal quality. There's proof right there. Need more? The Twilight series. Dan Brown. And just about every celebrity book ever.
I didn't say that books that sell are better than books that don't sell. (Though I'd argue that they're better at grabbing their audience, at meeting a need.)

I said that a better-produced book will sell better than the same book, less well-produced.

Offline vrabinec

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #148 on: January 28, 2014, 09:21:08 AM »
So Fifty Shades of Grey was hands down one of the best books ever written?

If you're a housewife on the edge with a husband who no longer looks at her THAT WAY because he sneaks down to the computer at night, and you need some excitement in your life, then probably YES. If you're a stuffy critic who thinks there should be a touch of allegory in every book, and for God's sake, some words that you need a thesaurus to come up with, then NO. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

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Offline Hugh Howey

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #149 on: January 28, 2014, 09:21:53 AM »
Which is probably like many here. I'm sure His Hughness himself felt some pangs of self-doubt when he offered his first book for sale. Most people would feel that. He had some success and he continued writing and his writing and stories improved and I'm sure he learned a lot. I don't think new writers who want to publish should be discouraged from trying their best and putting out the best book they can at that moment in time.

Everyone should have a chance. The Chuckie's of the world don't get to decide if it's a good story and a good book--the readers do. And readers can be harsh because they vote with their dollar.

I was told on another forum, where the members are probably agreeing with Chuck's posts, that if publishers weren't accepting my novels, it meant I wasn't good enough. I was told I should "work on my craft" more and be patient. I was told that self-publishing would destroy any chance I had of being a "real author."

It was poison. It was dead-wrong. It's why I won't be quiet when I see people saying that others should think twice before publishing. If you think your work is good enough, if you believe in it, get it out there. Don't let others beat you down or fill you with dread or hesitation. Search your soul and no one else's.

Those people on that forum were dead wrong about my writing. They gave me awful advice. My life changed because I ignored that advice, and I was only able to do so because I had friends and family reading my work and egging me along. Who are we going to listen to? The cheerleaders in our lives? Or the doubters and cynics?

Choose wisely, people.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 09:23:27 AM by Hugh Howey »
 
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