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Author Topic: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument  (Read 7493 times)  

Offline WDR

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2014, 07:31:18 PM »
Maybe ten to twenty years ago, there was a lot more credibility to the "gatekeepers" argument filtering out the cruft and serving the best of the best to the reading public.

However, while the media and certain corporate moguls are trying to sell the quality point in the news, the numbers aren't supporting that argument. Titles by self-published authors are now showing up routinely in the bestsellers lists. Even the New York Times which was openly hostile to self-published writers in the past, finally gave in and now includes self-published titles in their reviews. A significant percentage of the top books listed are self-published.

If the quality wasn't there, then why are these books flying off the shelves?

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Offline SLGray

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2014, 07:40:24 PM »

Let me make this very clear: There is no stigma. It is a marketing line deployed by some very sophisticated [REDACTED] and internalized by the indie community thanks to crippling self-esteem issues.

No on outside of the industry cares. No one. Most people are unaware to this day-- with Kindles full of indie books --that 'indie' is even a thing in publishing.

I hate to tell you this, but people care.

There are threads over on GR where people have asked why more people don't read self-published authors. While some readers say they don't care, there are still plenty of people reporting that they avoid them because they've been burned by indies.

So they do care. Whether any author chooses to acknowledge that or not is a whole other issue.

Offline WHDean

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2014, 07:43:18 PM »
If the quality wasn't there, then why are these books flying off the shelves?


Because they're a fraction of the price?


Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2014, 08:14:23 PM »
There are threads over on GR where people have asked why more people don't read self-published authors. While some readers say they don't care, there are still plenty of people reporting that they avoid them because they've been burned by indies.

There's a rant here, but it's full of WHOA, so I'll just say that I still maintain that it's a statistical non-issue considering that the indie market share is still growing at a frankly unsustainable rate, so there's not exactly a horde of people or anyone particularly influential that's spreading the idea.

The fact remains that the main vector of this 'stigma' is us.

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Offline dianasg

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2014, 08:42:14 PM »
But they aren't. Very few people are self-publishing truly original and experimental fiction. The people who are most successful are publishing in very mundane genres with very strong, expected tropes where originality is really less important the just giving the reader entertainment. Because I don't care how original someone thinks her half-angel/half-werewolf falling in love with a half-vampire/half-elf who are struggling against the evil half-demon/half dragon villain trying to keep them apart. It's still a girl meets boy love story. With the exception of the rare few, the majority of people really getting big sales (and let's be honest, all people around here REALLY care about are big sales and their Amazon sales rank) are doing so in the traditional genre areas where originality isn't really the selling feature...escapism is.

The thing to do is to simply stop engaging in the argument. The argument has no power over you if you don't engage it. Stop feeding the trolls. Stop visiting the hater blogs and then rushing over here to post a link so that everyone gets riled up when some 5th string "trade" author decides he needs pageviews and takes the easy route. Just stop engaging in the nonsense and worry about your books and your readers.

I agree with most of this. But while I don't think indies are doing much that's "experimental" in the strictest sense (or if they are, it's not selling), I DO think that self-pub/indie authors have given readers original, fresh content they weren't getting from trad pub. We might be working off different definitions of "originality," but I'm talking about niche genres, like Joe Nobody's prepper fiction, or even ElHawk's Egyptian historicals. I personally wouldn't call those genres "mundane," tropes or not.

I'm also talking about HUGE things like New Adult: so many authors submitted NA-type stuff (college-aged characters dealing with love and other growing-up issues) to big publishers, and they all kept getting the same response: age your character down, or age them up. Publishers were SURE characters in between wouldn't sell. (One publisher coined the term New Adult, but they never put their weight behind building the genre.) It wasn't until people like Jessica Park, Tammara Webber, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire self-published their mature-YA/NA novels that the genre took off, and then the Big 5/6 took notice.

Serial fiction is another big thing that self-pub is turning somewhat mainstream, I think. Not that it didn't exist before, but H.M. Ward is making bank on a VERY addictive NA romantic suspense serial. Sure, her work is fun entertainment -- but I think bringing that form to the ravenous romance community is pretty original.

So, if we're talking about, like, experimental literary fiction, I totally agree -- not much of these writers are taking advantage of self-pub. I think that's partly because the self-pub stigma is especially strong in literary circles (I say this coming from academia): I think lit-fic is still pretty attached to the traditional publishing model. But indies are providing readers with fresh, original content: or at least content big pub refused to try out.

Also, I really don't understand why girl-meets-boy can't be original. (Which is what I got from the quote above. Forgive me if I misinterpreted that.) I mean, M/F Romance is an entire genre that's basically ALL girl-meets-boy. But IMO there are plenty of original romance novels. Again, maybe we are thinking of originality differently.

Anyway, I think, as the OP suggests, these are selling points of self/indie pub. Before, funky genres and forms that readers either wanted, or didn't realize they wanted, couldn't exist because a) it wasn't financially viable for an author to write them and b) if authors did, distribution was limited. I don't think we need to have the argument defending the validity of self-pub. Still, this is why I am excited about self-publishing, and why I think that it does give readers fresh, original content.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 08:50:58 PM by DianaGabriel »

Offline Kevis Hendrickson

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2014, 09:08:39 PM »
I hate to tell you this, but people care.

There are threads over on GR where people have asked why more people don't read self-published authors. While some readers say they don't care, there are still plenty of people reporting that they avoid them because they've been burned by indies.

So they do care. Whether any author chooses to acknowledge that or not is a whole other issue.

I gave up reading that GR thread weeks ago. It's the same old tired complaints that people have been spouting about self-publishing from way before the Kindle showed up. They're wasting their breath. There are definitely more bad indie books today than there were yesterday--and the year before that---and five years ago. In fact, there will be more garbage books on the market next year and the year following. Guess what? More people are buying ereaders and more readers are discovering and enjoying books by indie authors than ever before.

It really doesn't matter if some readers don't want to read self-published books. There is a growing legion of them who do. And that's not going to change just because some readers have elitist attitudes about who publishes a book rather than what is actually published. You can bet more bad indie books will be published, but readers will continue to find ways to sort the wheat from the chaff, and the authors who put out quality work will find a way to get their books into the hands of readers.

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Offline Ben Mathew

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2014, 09:34:29 PM »
I agree with most of this. But while I don't think indies are doing much that's "experimental" in the strictest sense (or if they are, it's not selling), I DO think that self-pub/indie authors have given readers original, fresh content they weren't getting from trad pub. We might be working off different definitions of "originality," but I'm talking about niche genres, like Joe Nobody's prepper fiction, or even ElHawk's Egyptian historicals. I personally wouldn't call those genres "mundane," tropes or not.

I'm also talking about HUGE things like New Adult: so many authors submitted NA-type stuff (college-aged characters dealing with love and other growing-up issues) to big publishers, and they all kept getting the same response: age your character down, or age them up. Publishers were SURE characters in between wouldn't sell. (One publisher coined the term New Adult, but they never put their weight behind building the genre.) It wasn't until people like Jessica Park, Tammara Webber, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire self-published their mature-YA/NA novels that the genre took off, and then the Big 5/6 took notice.

Serial fiction is another big thing that self-pub is turning somewhat mainstream, I think. Not that it didn't exist before, but H.M. Ward is making bank on a VERY addictive NA romantic suspense serial. Sure, her work is fun entertainment -- but I think bringing that form to the ravenous romance community is pretty original.

So, if we're talking about, like, experimental literary fiction, I totally agree -- not much of these writers are taking advantage of self-pub. I think that's partly because the self-pub stigma is especially strong in literary circles (I say this coming from academia): I think lit-fic is still pretty attached to the traditional publishing model. But indies are providing readers with fresh, original content: or at least content big pub refused to try out.

Also, I really don't understand why girl-meets-boy can't be original. (Which is what I got from the quote above. Forgive me if I misinterpreted that.) I mean, M/F Romance is an entire genre that's basically ALL girl-meets-boy. But IMO there are plenty of original romance novels. Again, maybe we are thinking of originality differently.

Anyway, I think, as the OP suggests, these are selling points of self/indie pub. Before, funky genres and forms that readers either wanted, or didn't realize they wanted, couldn't exist because a) it wasn't financially viable for an author to write them and b) if authors did, distribution was limited. I don't think we need to have the argument defending the validity of self-pub. Still, this is why I am excited about self-publishing, and why I think that it does give readers fresh, original content.

Great post. A lot to think about here. Re: lit fic, I wonder why it's a latecomer to the indie revolution? Is it because of authors who seek the prestige of trad publishers? Or is it driven more by readers? I'm guessing genre readers are more voracious, so they may have been more eager to adopt lower priced ebooks. Indie publishing also seems to allow quicker release schedules that would meet the needs of heavy readers. Sooner or later, I'm sure experimental lit fic and other straggler niches will warm up to the joys of indie publishing. The advantages are just too overwhelming.


Offline Steven Konkoly

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2014, 02:23:28 AM »
But they aren't. Very few people are self-publishing truly original and experimental fiction. The people who are most successful are publishing in very mundane genres with very strong, expected tropes where originality is really less important the just giving the reader entertainment. Because I don't care how original someone thinks her half-angel/half-werewolf falling in love with a half-vampire/half-elf who are struggling against the evil half-demon/half dragon villain trying to keep them apart. It's still a girl meets boy love story. With the exception of the rare few, the majority of people really getting big sales (and let's be honest, all people around here REALLY care about are big sales and their Amazon sales rank) are doing so in the traditional genre areas where originality isn't really the selling feature...escapism is.

The thing to do is to simply stop engaging in the argument. The argument has no power over you if you don't engage it. Stop feeding the trolls. Stop visiting the hater blogs and then rushing over here to post a link so that everyone gets riled up when some 5th string "trade" author decides he needs pageviews and takes the easy route. Just stop engaging in the nonsense and worry about your books and your readers.




I wish I had more to add.

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Offline elalond

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2014, 05:23:12 AM »
I usually tune out these arguments about lack of quality in self-published books. I can only work on my writing and my books, I don't have and I don't want to have any influence on what other self-publishers are doing. But if somebody wants to tackle this mountain, I recommend they start with Warrior Forum.

Regarding the gap in quality between trade-published and self-published books; considering that trade-publishers are not content provider, but content packagers, and that they charge 75% per book for that pleasure, should a gap, on average, between their product and self-published product in quality be bigger? I don't mean that books coming from trade-publishers should have 3D rainbows popping out of them and be sparkled with fairy dust, but be clear of typos and plot holes, and yet, lately, I come across a few traditionally published (the majority was small presses) books where reviewers complained about grammar and the lack of plot. It looks to me like trade-publishers are saving on editors and readers are starting to notice, and if they are going to continue with that, there's just a matter of time before the quality argument is going to turn on them. So, in theory, since trade-published books go through many hands they should be superior products, but are they?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 07:56:12 AM by elalond »

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2014, 05:24:28 AM »
The thing to do is to simply stop engaging in the argument. The argument has no power over you if you don't engage it. Stop feeding the trolls. Stop visiting the hater blogs and then rushing over here to post a link so that everyone gets riled up when some 5th string "trade" author decides he needs pageviews and takes the easy route. Just stop engaging in the nonsense and worry about your books and your readers.

^^^This. Oh, heavens, this.

It doesn't matter how you frame the argument, there are people who simply aren't going to change their minds. I see no point in wasting valuable writing time on something that won't change by blabbing at people.

Do your best work. Always strive to improve yourself. When possible, advise and even mentor new writers to do their best work. Set a good example -- standards, if you will -- by being a professional writer and publisher.

Price books the way you feel benefits your career. Write a series if you want. Or don't. Write in the genre you like. Or the one that you can make money from. Pay for covers and editing. Or don't.

Respect the fact that others won't agree with you. Accept that some people won't like what you write, and won't hesitate to tell you, in excruciating detail, why.

Write with your heart, and publish with your head.
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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2014, 06:15:34 AM »
I agree with most of this. But while I don't think indies are doing much that's "experimental" in the strictest sense (or if they are, it's not selling), I DO think that self-pub/indie authors have given readers original, fresh content they weren't getting from trad pub. We might be working off different definitions of "originality," but I'm talking about niche genres, like Joe Nobody's prepper fiction, or even ElHawk's Egyptian historicals. I personally wouldn't call those genres "mundane," tropes or not.

A few points of clarification:

To stay on point, the people complaining about "poor quality" in indie books don't even know prepper fiction is a thing. These conversations very specifically are addressed toward the more mainstream genres. It doesn't make sense to use Joe Nobody as an example of a great indie because he is working in an area not even on the radar of most people. Trade publishing is also full of small niches that cater to unique demographics. Pulling the exceptions on either side into the equation only muddies the waters, because the very people we are talking about "the ones who may be complaining about quality" aren't complaining about the niches. They are complaining about the stuff showing up in their searches when they look for a fantasy or a mystery or a horror novel.

People confuse originality with creativity or even talent. I believe it was Mark Twain that said "All ideas are second-hand." We all start out wanting to be "original."  But "originality" is not the goal of storytelling. The goal of storytelling is to speak on the human condition. Readers read not to see something original per se. They read to engage in the human experience. They read to be entertained. The read for comfort and familiarity. They read to escape. I watched Henry IV pt 1 last night (with Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston). It was the most beautiful production of the play I've ever seen. But it wasn't "original." They didn't change the play or the characters or turn Percy into a vampire or Prince Hal into a fairy. Ye gods, Henry IV wasn't even "original" when Shakespeare wrote it! Everyone knew the basics of the story. But what made it great was the interpretation of the story. The ability to take an old story and make it mean something to a modern viewer.

Which is why I always flinch at the "indies are more original" argument. It is simply untrue. But more importantly, it is completely besides the point. A great storyteller can take the most basic of tales and make it mean something to a reader, while a bad storyteller can have the most original idea ever thought of and nobody will care.

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Offline Jana DeLeon

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2014, 06:28:49 AM »
Regarding the gap in quality between trade-published and self-published books; considering that trade-publishers are not content provider, but content packagers, and that they charge 75% per book for that pleasure, should a gap, on average, between their product and self-published product in quality be bigger?

One would think, right? I mean, otherwise, what am I giving up all that money for?

But the reality is my editor is a contract editor for NAL and only works on their NYT bestsellers. My cover artist is the same one I had when I was traditionally published.....  ::)
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Offline jackz4000

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2014, 06:39:27 AM »
A few points of clarification:

To stay on point, the people complaining about "poor quality" in indie books don't even know prepper fiction is a thing. These conversations very specifically are addressed toward the more mainstream genres. It doesn't make sense to use Joe Nobody as an example of a great indie because he is working in an area not even on the radar of most people. Trade publishing is also full of small niches that cater to unique demographics. Pulling the exceptions on either side into the equation only muddies the waters, because the very people we are talking about "the ones who may be complaining about quality" aren't complaining about the niches. They are complaining about the stuff showing up in their searches when they look for a fantasy or a mystery or a horror novel.


Usually the only times I see these bad books is when I use search words and some will suddenly pop up from the bottom of the ocean and you know they are bad just looking at them. You don't see these books on the Top 100 of anything, cats, sub-cats, or overall. Search words can bring you not what you're looking for. One time I used the word "mammoth" and I was amazed at what popped-up. I should have added other search words to define what I was looking for.

Offline Weirdling

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2014, 07:11:38 AM »
This argument mostly happens in writers' forums.  I used to argue hard that indie was a viable option and that traditional publishing wasn't perfect, but it was a losing battle.  Then one day I realized indie didn't need me arguing its case; it was doing fine on its own, and all I was doing was wasting my breath.  

I'm not saying don't argue.  Go ahead if you want to argue the case, but if it gets to the point where the debate drives you bonkers (like it used to do me), just stop and realize indie is doing fine on its own despite whatever those who dislike indie/those who love trad. pub. say.

Jodi

ETA:  Remembering a Dale Carnegie saying also helped me give up the debate, where all it was doing was making both sides angry.  "You can't win an argument, because if you lose, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior, you hurt his pride, insult his intelligence, his judgment, and his self-respect, and he'll resent your triumph. That will make him strike back, but it will never make him want to change his mind. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."  That last part is key, and I found it true in the arguing about indie vs traditional--that if you are arguing with people who don't want to change their mind, you aren't going to win.  And I doubt the argument will win those watching from on the fence anyway.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 07:16:26 AM by Jodi »

Offline ElHawk

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2014, 07:27:13 AM »
I don't honestly ever find myself having this argument--not with family, or with friends, or with strangers, or with trad publishing colleagues.

I think the work I put out myself is on par with what I get with publishers. Better in content in many cases. Less flashy with art.

I agree.  I feel the same way.

However, I don't see the point in engaging in any kind of argument about quality.  Nobody will listen to us, anyway.  The only people whose voices matter in that argument are our gatekeepers: readers.  They do a pretty good job of convincing one another that the quality of my books is high.  I see this play out on Goodreads and Amazon review comment threads and on forums.

That being said, I do think it's a good idea to promote the benefits of reading indie: variety and creativity!  You certainly see fresher ideas in indie books than you tend to get from traditional publishers, whose current model seems to be to repeat as many times as possible whatever was successful previously.


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Offline geekgrrl

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2014, 07:49:06 AM »
My first career for the last 20 years has been as an indie artist. That community has had this argument in one form or another over and over and over. It's moot. Here's why:

Some people don't care if a book is indie published or not. (great, don't worry about these people, you just keep being you)

Some people do care. Some people will decide to judge all indie books by a bad experience they've had with one or a few titles. Those people are narrow minded. Their minds cannot be changed except by their own persuasion. If that happens at all, it will be over a long time, after many + experiences that slowly chip away at their initial impressions. These kinds of people exist as consumers of every creative market and you just cannot fashion your practices to indulge them. The only things you could possibly do in an effort to change their mind is to put out the best possible work product you can at every stage of your career and continue to do this repeatedly.

The good news is that is what we should all be doing anyway. We should all be doing our best to put out our best work all the time. And I'd say most people do.

The disconnect lies in subjectiveness. The logic flaw that exists in a lot of these "indie writers don't care about quality" arguments is the CARE part. I've never met an indie that didn't care. I've never met an indie that didn't think that they were putting out their best work. But there's no accounting for taste. Just as some people are tone deaf, some have no idea their cover is bad or that their writing is stale. I've met many artists like this in the art world, artists who think they are incredibly talented and are ready for a professional career. LIFE separates the wheat from the chaff. Bad work, doesn't sell. Some people will explore the reasons why, solicit objective opinions, and then take steps to improve. Some won't.

This natural selection exists in every creative pursuit. It works on it's own. So we need do nothing.

Now from time to time people point to a book they don't like that is selling well and they say "The system doesn't work, this shouldn't be making money because I think it sucks." That's just sour grapes.

In the end all we can do is keep our head down, and swim in our own lane.  ;) 




Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2014, 08:48:35 AM »
Excellent argument.  Well-framed.

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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2014, 08:51:07 AM »
People confuse originality with creativity or even talent.

I call this 'The Originality Trap', a belief that being 'original' from the ground up is the single most important thing, even if story or even mere comprehensibility (not a word, but it should be) must suffer.

I've read so many freaking books that are so wrapped up in being 'spayshul' that they make absolutely no sense.

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Offline vrabinec

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2014, 09:29:42 AM »
But they aren't. Very few people are self-publishing truly original and experimental fiction.

I'm not sure I agree. I dig to the very bottom of the Amazon lists for sci-fi and fantasy, and there's a bunch that at least FEELS original and experimental to me. They don't sell much, because I don't think the average reader is looking for that, and the predominant reader is the average reader. But some of these books have very dedicated fans, maybe it's a group of 7 or 10, but they are into the author's stuff. Obviously, that stuff would never see the light of day. And a lot of it suffers from a need for editing. But it's there. You just have to really, really dig.

That said, the majority of self-pubb'd authors do toe the line with more traditional stuff. But since those fringe guys are out there under our umbrella, if the argument needs to be made, I see no reason not to include them and use that to your advantage in debate.

As far as not engaging in the argument, the point is made so often, and so fervently that indie books suck and that readers should stay away, letting that go without answering with at least the best HONEST debate you an make to counter it, conveys the sense that you agree. Definitely, the best counter argument is to write the next best seller as an indie. Fill the NYT best seller list with indie titles, and the argument gets harder to make (though I suspect they would still make it, pointing at the bottom of the indie barrel). But there are enough good indie authors out there that not responding to a sweeping statement that condemns indie books is something I can't do. I know there are people who don't wanna get mixed up in it, who cringe when they see it. Fine, stay out of it.

Maybe we can split indies into two groups: those who feel like taking up the fight, chip on the shoulder, who fight not only to improve their own stuff, but to counter the arguments that indie authors suck, and on the other side, the indies who are embarrassed by the display, don't want anything to do with us, and who go away, hat in had, apologizing for the quality of indie work, promising to try to prod their brethren into either getting better, or at least into holding back from publishing until their stuff resembles a book.





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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2014, 09:39:12 AM »
I see the "argument" differently than most. For starters, I don't buy into the whole "Team Indie" thing. I don't recall ever signing up to be part of some conglomerate of self-published authors. If you put out a professional product that's been professionally edited, has a professional cover, with an excellent blurb, readers shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a traditionally published book and a self-published one. So maybe the reason readers are critical of indie books is because some authors are presenting their books as being something that's substandard from the get go, as in "I'm indie, so I'm going to be different and not spend money on my books or learn how to do the production work properly".

Me? I'm an author. The method of my publication is inconsequential. What matters is that I put out a quality book. I'll leave the rhetorical debate of why some readers dislike indie books for others who have more free time on their hands than I do. I choose to spend that time writing more "quality" books.
Well put, Kevis.


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2014, 09:40:03 AM »
Maybe we can split indies into two groups: those who feel like taking up the fight, chip on the shoulder, who fight not only to improve their own stuff, but to counter the arguments that indie authors suck, and on the other side, the indies who are embarrassed by the display, don't want anything to do with us, and who go away, hat in had, apologizing for the quality of indie work, promising to try to prod their brethren into either getting better, or at least into holding back from publishing until their stuff resembles a book.

But this is the root of the issue: indies are not a "group" in anything but the most loose sense of the word. Each of us is an individual business. How often does Domino's Pizza "apologize" for the poor quality of other pizza shops? When was the last time WalMart apologized for Target? When has Facebook apologized for Twitter's customer service? Does Amazon apologize for BN's problems? Why do we even need to apologize or justify OUR work based on other people we have no control over and whom are our competitors.

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Offline vrabinec

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2014, 09:45:32 AM »
Like it our not, we're being lumped together. Same as trad authors are being lumped together. I think there is a sense of community, or we wouldn't be here trying to help each other. Yeah, I don't want to be associated with anyone else's stuff. I want my books to stand alone on their own merits. But that's not up to me when there is article after article after article that claims that we are essentially the same, with the exception of Hugh, Bella, Russell, and three or four others.

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Offline Weirdling

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2014, 09:53:01 AM »
But this is the root of the issue: indies are not a "group" in anything but the most loose sense of the word. Each of us is an individual business. How often does Domino's Pizza "apologize" for the poor quality of other pizza shops? When was the last time WalMart apologized for Target? When has Facebook apologized for Twitter's customer service? Does Amazon apologize for BN's problems? Why do we even need to apologize or justify OUR work based on other people we have no control over and whom are our competitors.

Good points, all very logical--and helpful to help one stop the arguing when the arguing is not helpful.  

But I think the problem is that many people will take that argument--indie quality is low, fast food pizza quality is low--as an indictment against themselves, because they are an indie or a fast food pizza place.  Thus, the pizza seller or indie writer interprets the accusation on a personal level: if the accuser is saying the indie/fast food is bad, and I am an indie/fast food vendor, then my stuff is automatically bad too.  And hey, well, no one likes to be told that ;-)

Maybe the only way to derail that argument is to make it as personal as it feels: "Try mine and see if you think it is bad."

Jodi

ETA:  By the way, I almost think it is instinctive to think in such generalities, either taking it from the general to the personal or vice versa.  I remember an incident where a relative of mine got food poisoning from a certain restaurant.  Instead of boycotting that specific restaurant in that specific town, she boycotted the entire chain nationwide.  I bet something like that can happen with the indie situation too.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 10:10:40 AM by Jodi »

Offline Hudson Owen

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2014, 11:26:18 AM »
Has anyone seen a poll in which 1,000 readers, say, read a dozen books--half and half, trade and self-pubbed--and answered a satisfaction questionnaire in which price was only one of several factors?  I'm guessing the results would be fairly close, with trad slightly ahead.

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Indie Book Quality - Framing the Argument
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2014, 11:31:39 AM »
The only way I know an indie from a trad is if the indie screams it.  Now do not get me started on indies that use others.  Oh and I learned something this week.  If you want to write about a real person even fictionally, you had best get that person's permission or the estate's permission.
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