Author Topic: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.  (Read 31892 times)  

Offline SLGray

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More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« on: January 27, 2014, 11:19:21 AM »
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/27/self-publishing-is-not-the-minor-leagues/

I've seen quite a few discussions about the quality of indie published books and how to assure the quality of indie published books and who should judge the quality...

So this seems pretty timely to me.

And, I'll say: Yeah. I agree with him. There's a lot of contradictory stuff floating around out here in indie land, but it's still a good place to be.


Offline Kathelm

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 11:33:26 AM »
I, too, am 100% on board with what he's saying.  Down with double-standards!



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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 12:01:48 PM »
Sorry but I think it's nonsense. If someone puts out an unedited novel with an amateurish cover, why would I think they would care about my opinion about it and wouldn't I be better served by thinking about my own work, instead of someone elses?

It's not as though I can (or should even try) to keep that nameless mug from publishing whatever he or she wants to. Am I supposed to slap their hand away from the publish button?

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Offline Ty Johnston

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 12:23:52 PM »
Yeah, I'm not in lock step with everything there.

"Fewer cheerleaders." Sure, I can go along with that.

"More critics." Uh ... for the love of all that is holy, aren't there already enough critics of self publishing? Can I go one single, solitary day without seeing someone blogging a scathing post about self publishing and self publishers? Or some magazine or newspaper article dooming and glooming self publishing? Or some exec somewhere talking about how self publishing has now run its course?

While I admit there are writers out there publishing material that might not be up to snuff, at least by someone's standards, that doesn't mean it's my job to s--- all over their dreams. There are plenty of people out there on the Internet who are already willing, quite gleefully, to stomp all over someone else for no real reason whatsoever. I don't need to add to that, and whether readers or anyone else does or not, I don't consider indie writers a collective that needs me to try and police it.

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Offline Kathelm

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 12:29:16 PM »
Quote
that doesn't mean it's my job to s--- all over their dreams. There are plenty of people out there on the Internet who are already willing, quite gleefully, to stomp all over someone else for no real reason whatsoever.

That's one extreme.  The other is saying, "Hey, good job buddy.  Writing a book is a lot of work and I'm proud of you."  Without addressing anything about the product other than its existence.

Everyone's better served if your criticism is, "Here's what I think worked well about your book.  Here's what I think you should work on next time."



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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 12:31:18 PM »
That's one extreme.  The other is saying, "Hey, good job buddy.  Writing a book is a lot of work and I'm proud of you."  Without addressing anything about the product other than its existence.

Everyone's better served if your criticism is, "Here's what I think worked well about your book.  Here's what I think you should work on next time."
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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 12:36:14 PM by JRTomlin »

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Offline SLGray

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 12:40:07 PM »
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.

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.


To quote the article:

Quote
Dont celebrate mediocrity. Dont encourage half-assing this thing for a couple of bucks. This is scrutiny time. This is time to not to say, Here, youre doing this wrong, but Here, let me help you do this better. This is time for conversation and constructive critique, not empty applause and pedestal-building.

There's nothing in there says we should be telling people they don't have the right to publish anything. I don't believe we should, either. I believe, though, that just praising people for having the courage to publish without offering constructive (operative word there being constructive) criticism is also the wrong thing to do.

So yes, obviously, concentrate on your own work and making it the best you feel it can be. But if I see someone who could be helped, I don't see the harm in helping, without [expletive] all over their work.

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 12:41:17 PM »
I'll just be over here writing and publishing the titles I want to write and publish in the most professional manner I can, and having fun doing so. If anyone thinks they can take that from me, they can go spit in the wind.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 12:45:27 PM by JimJohnson »

Offline Ty Johnston

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 12:47:28 PM »
Everyone's better served if your criticism is, "Here's what I think worked well about your book.  Here's what I think you should work on next time."

Which is exactly what I do when I'm asked to mentor a fellow writer, on the rare occasions when I have time to do so. My simple offering of a "congrats" to someone online who has recently self published their first work is kind of my own business, for one thing, and doesn't exactly give full acceptance or approval of the entire, massively broad culture that makes up indie writers, for another.

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 12:50:56 PM »
To quote the article:

There's nothing in there says we should be telling people they don't have the right to publish anything. I don't believe we should, either. I believe, though, that just praising people for having the courage to publish without offering constructive (operative word there being constructive) criticism is also the wrong thing to do.

So yes, obviously, concentrate on your own work and making it the best you feel it can be. But if I see someone who could be helped, I don't see the harm in helping, without [expletive] all over their work.
If they ask me for criticism, if I have time, I will give it. I have done so recently, and will continue to do so. Otherwise, if they don't ask, it is not my business to offer criticism and on this forum is actually against the rules to the best of my understanding.

ETA: On this forum, people frequently ask for criticism of their covers and receive it. I have yet to see them told "congratulations on the cover and it doesn't matter if it's good or not".  I may (or may not) congratulate someone on publishing, but when I do what I am congratulating them on an endeavour that takes considerable courage in my opinion. I will do so if I feel like it, whether someone likes it or not. I will certainly not take it upon myself to go look at their work and offer unsolicited criticism.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 12:55:17 PM by JRTomlin »

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Offline vrabinec

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 12:55:25 PM »
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.


Yeah, I'm all in for helping authors who ask for help, but there seems to be an implication that those whose work is sub-par should be made aware of it and asked to amend it. Sub-par by whose standards? Amend it to whose taste? The predominant view among indies who want the "bad" indie novels cleaned up is, clean theirs, but don't you dare insult mine because mine is that way due to artistic choices. I think boards like this and the others I hang out on are pretty honest with authors who ask for help to go along with the encouragement the authors receive. I think it's a fairly good system as is. Anything beyond what we have now would be tiptoeing into the gatekeeper's realm, and none of us wanna go there.

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Offline Key

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 01:01:03 PM »
Quote
And its time to start acting as critics.

Oh geez. 

Offline sarahdalton

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 01:01:17 PM »
I've not always agreed with his blog posts before, but quite liked this one.

Sometimes I do feel a bit like there are too many cheerleaders. I usually end up ignoring those kinds of blogs. Sometimes I feel like there's way too much discussion on both sides, and it's generally because people know how much attention you can get by talking about self-publishing. But this time, I read it to the very end and found myself agreeing, not with everything, but most points.


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Joliedupre

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 01:02:22 PM »
Excellent blog post!

"Defeat naysayers with quality and effort and awesomeness so blinding they cannot see past you."

Yeah, go hard or go home!

Jolie  8)  

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 01:05:59 PM »
Oh, and also, I could take a red pen to some of the recent trad books I've read.  Just because it's traditionally published doesn't mean it's better and/or free of errors. 

Put out the best indie book you can and be proud of it.

Jolie  :)

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 01:08:19 PM »
You! Yeah, you! Quit publishing that cr@p and start writing like ME!

Don't think so.

The only "self-publishing community" I really know about is the one here. Where, you know, writers talk about how to do better. Uh . . .

Offline Rob Lopez

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 01:13:37 PM »
What is Mr Wendig asking for that isn't already being done? Criticism? Snark? Gentle advice? A prod in the right direction? That's already happening, on this forum and elsewhere. What more does he want?

Is this really meant to be helpful? Or is it just posturing to all those trad critics, so we can suck up to them and reassure them that we're putting our house in order?

Well, it ain't anybody's house. That's the whole point of self publishing in the first place. And the readers are making their choice anyway. I fail to see what the problem is.

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Offline M T McGuire

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 01:15:50 PM »
Someone in the comments put it the best.

"Theres a nugget of wisdom I once heard that goes like this: If you aim for perfection, you will never achieve it, but you will do well. If you aim for simply doing well, you will fall short and be mediocre. If you aim for mediocrity well, you see where thats going."

I see this as a business. I have budgeted money and I pay a lot of money to get my books edited by a professional, to get the covers designed well (because I'm rubbish at design). There are enough people who won't accept my books for review, who won't read them, who won't stock them in their shops, who won't countenance even trying them, and it's not just because I had the temerity to publish it myself. It's because some of my fellow self publishers see quality as optional. It's not. Not if we want to stick it to The Man. If we really want to level the playing field in publishing, we have to show that we're as good or better than trad. And if we have any respect for the people who buy our books, if we want them to buy another one, the least we can do is spell and punctuate our work properly. Sadly the people who don't bother are dragging us all down.

If someone writes a book they should be proud. It follows that, surely, after the blood sweat and tears they've put into producing it, that they would want to give it the best chance. A good cover, an edit and the like.

Perhaps I'm too old fashioned, too arts and crafts.

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Offline SLGray

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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 01:18:58 PM »
N

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 01:21:59 PM »
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.


This is true.  I hated 50 Shades of Grey, also.  But so what?  She found her audience. 

That's what I'm trying to do - find my audience.  I'm not trying to please everyone.

(I didn't object to the blog post, but I see others here do.  Maybe I should read it again. Ha Ha!)

Jolie  :)

Offline Fishbowl Helmet

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 01:22:17 PM »
"You are your own quality control. You are your own best critic."

This. Right. Here.

This is also where a lot of the valid criticism of self-publishing comes from. Poorly or not-at-all edited works with terrible covers. If you want to be treated like less-than writers and publishers, act like and produce less-than works and covers. You can't demand equal respect as a writer-publisher while promoting half-assed attempts at writing, editing, and cover design.

When I see a terrible cover it makes me think the author doesn't care. When the sample text is full of errors it makes me think the author doesn't care. If the author doesn't care, why should I? Slapping up a quick one-off for some money looks like a quick one-off for some money. A professional effort looks like a professional effort. Whether self- or trad-published.

You want to be taken seriously, put in a serious effort. Your work's not done when you type "The End".

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 01:23:11 PM »
I do believe that if you represent yourself as a published author to do a non-fiction book then your book should be professional.   This means proof-read your books so you don't have glaring errors.
If you have glaring errors expect over-critical critics.  

I am sorry I just love that term.

Now in fiction, do what you want.   And for the record I sampled 50 Shades.   I found it lacking about 49 shades.
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Offline Hugh Howey

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2014, 01:28:45 PM »
Until the stigma is completely gone and the critics start criticizing equally, I'm going to continue being a cheerleader.

Utter garbage is published in all sorts of ways. Traditional and self. Who cares? Seriously. Who?

There are dumb websites going live every second of the day. They don't get in anyone's way. I didn't stumble over those websites to get to Chuck's blog or to get back here. Let people publish whatever they want. If they don't get any readers, who is harmed? Anyone?

This is just more gatekeeping. It's more cheerleading for gatekeeping. I think everyone and anyone should be able to publish whatever they like. They just aren't allowed to expect people to love it.

Of course we should all publish our best work, but who gets to decide if it's good enough? I'm not going to be that person. I'll leave that to others.
 
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Offline Rob Lopez

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2014, 01:38:32 PM »
Let people publish whatever they want. If they don't get any readers, who is harmed? Anyone?

This is just more gatekeeping. It's more cheerleading for gatekeeping. I think everyone and anyone should be able to publish whatever they like. They just aren't allowed to expect people to love it.


This.

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Offline vrabinec

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Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2014, 01:46:41 PM »
You! Yeah, you! Quit publishing that cr@p and start writing like ME!

Hey, if you want me to write like you, you better fix your hyphens. They're...irregular.

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