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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: SLGray on January 27, 2014, 11:19:21 AM

Title: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray 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.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Kathelm on January 27, 2014, 11:33:26 AM
I, too, am 100% on board with what he's saying.  Down with double-standards!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin 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?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Kathelm 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."
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray 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
Don’t celebrate mediocrity. Don’t encourage half-assing this thing for a couple of bucks. This is scrutiny time. This is time to not to say, “Here, you’re 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jim Johnson 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 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=11557) doing so. If anyone thinks they can take that from me, they can go spit in the wind.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Key on January 27, 2014, 01:01:03 PM
Quote
And it’s time to start acting as critics.

Oh geez. 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: sarahdalton 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.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre 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)  
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre 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  :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere 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 . . .
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Rob Lopez 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: M T McGuire on January 27, 2014, 01:15:50 PM
Someone in the comments put it the best.

"There’s 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 that’s 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.

Cheers

MTM

Title: Re:
Post by: SLGray on January 27, 2014, 01:18:58 PM
N

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre 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  :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet 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".
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: cinisajoy 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Rob Lopez 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 27, 2014, 01:46:53 PM
Its none of my business what people upload to Amazon. I don't care what they upload. That is the business of Amazon and the author.

I suspect we will be seeing a lot more calls for other people to do something. Nothing will happen. The market will continue to roll along just fine.


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 27, 2014, 01:49:29 PM
Hey, if you want me to write like you, you better fix your hyphens. They're...irregular.
*sob*
That was a JOKE, vrabinec!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet on January 27, 2014, 01:53:37 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?

How can the stigma ever leave if sub-par efforts are hoisted into the air with cheers?

Who cares? We all should.

Quote
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.

I disagree. Completely. It's not gatekeeping at all. Why? Because there's no one stopping a self-pubbed author from publishing. Criticizing a clearly sub-par cover isn't gatekeeping. It's pushing others to make a better effort. Gatekeeping is someone standing between the author and readers claiming special privilege and power to prevent the author from reaching readers. Keeping the gate. Guarding the door. Not allowing the hoi polloi inside. Calling out bad or no editing for what it is is clearly not gatekeeping. Telling a writer-publisher their cover is bad isn't gatekeeping. None of these prevent the writer-publisher from actually publishing. What they do, hopefully, is help to create a constructively critical environment which will help to push writer-publishers into making a better effort rather than a minimal effort.

As said, it's not about trying to be just as good as the worst of trad-publishing, but being better, doing better. Showing that self-publishing is just as good, if not better in some areas, than trad-publishing, not countering every argument with, "Well, trad-publishing does it too." What a whiny non-rebuttal that is.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 01:53:59 PM
If you want to be treated like less-than writers and publishers, act like and produce less-than works and covers.

Who is to be the judge of these less-than works? Who is to say a certain work should not be presented for public viewing and potential purchase?

Also, this precludes that every single self publisher has exactly the same goals in mind, which is far from the truth. Not everyone has a goal of being a professional author, or of having writing as a career, or of how such a career should unfold.

I try to present myself as a professional, and I deal with other writers and editors and publishers as professionals, but that's because this is my day job. When I deem it necessary, I'll call someone out on spouting BS or the like, but it's not my place, nor should it be anyone else's, to go around policing indie writers. That's why they're "indie," so as not to answer to anyone else.

Would I like every single indie publication to be presented in its most polished, most professional manner? Sure. But that's not realistic. You can't have it both ways, indies and gatekeepers at the same time and in the same place. Sorry, folks. It doesn't work that way.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 01:56:54 PM
How can the stigma ever leave if sub-par efforts are hoisted into the air with cheers?

And where exactly is this happening?

I see the occasional "congrats" posting for a new novel and the like, but I'm not seeing blogs and kboard posts and Amazon posts or Facebook posts or anyplace where sub-par works are being cheered on.

If anything, the blog posts and such I see which do champion self publishing almost always include a point of telling writers to publish only their best works.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: sarahdalton on January 27, 2014, 02:05:02 PM
There's already an air of critiquing, especially on this board. We often share book covers and blurbs, find beta readers, give advice on where we might be going wrong.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray on January 27, 2014, 02:15:39 PM
There's already an air of critiquing, especially on this board. We often share book covers and blurbs, find beta readers, give advice on where we might be going wrong.

Which is why it seems a little weird to me that there'd be objection to a post that's suggesting we ... do exactly what's happening on these boards.

If people really didn't care about what other people were putting out, then no one would answer requests for feedback, would they? They'd just say, eh, it's your book, if you think it's good enough, then it is.

I understand not volunteering criticism if it isn't asked for or specifically not asked for. I get that. I don't get why suggesting that criticism is a good thing gets up people's noses though.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 27, 2014, 02:24:17 PM
How can the stigma ever leave if sub-par efforts are hoisted into the air with cheers?

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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Rob Lopez on January 27, 2014, 02:24:52 PM


I understand not volunteering criticism if it isn't asked for or specifically not asked for. I get that. I don't get why suggesting that criticism is a good thing gets up people's noses though.



Because it just seems so redundant. It's happening already. The only change would be if someone were calling for unsolicited criticism, and since nobody's calling for that, then what's the point of the message?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 27, 2014, 02:42:01 PM
Which is why it seems a little weird to me that there'd be objection to a post that's suggesting we ... do exactly what's happening on these boards.

If people really didn't care about what other people were putting out, then no one would answer requests for feedback, would they? They'd just say, eh, it's your book, if you think it's good enough, then it is.

I understand not volunteering criticism if it isn't asked for or specifically not asked for. I get that. I don't get why suggesting that criticism is a good thing gets up people's noses though.


No, the post suggests that we go out and force our opinion on other people whether they want it or not. That is quite a different thing.

How can the stigma ever leave if sub-par efforts are hoisted into the air with cheers?

Who cares? We all should.


My cheers, or lack of them, make no difference whatsoever. Have you seen posts by people asking permission to hit 'publish'? I haven't. There will be great books and sub-par ones whether I like it or not.

I don't care because my opinion plain and simple doesn't matter. I won't waste either time or effort and I have better things to put my angst into than what someone else publishes.
 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray on January 27, 2014, 02:53:33 PM
No, the post suggests that we go out and force our opinion on other people whether they want it or not. That is quite a different thing.

I don't see that call to action in the post, but we all read things differently, so, fair enough.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 27, 2014, 02:58:37 PM
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?

Themselves only, and that's not mine or any else's problem.

I've never felt a stigma associated with self-publishing, but then maybe that's because I don't spend a lot of time listening to people with narrow minds.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 27, 2014, 03:04:16 PM
I don't see that call to action in the post, but we all read things differently, so, fair enough.
To be specific, I'm talking about sections like this which I agree you may interpret differently, but I do see a call to action, but what I don't see is an implication that you should wait until someone asks:

Quote
Don’t celebrate mediocrity. Don’t encourage half-assing this thing for a couple of bucks. This is scrutiny time.

That sounds to me like a call to action.

And

Quote
It’s time to play hard or get off the field.

This post has a tone of both self-righteousness and entitlement that I just plain don't like and don't agree with, but as you say, people read things in different ways.

Edit to fix an oops. :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 03:05:04 PM
I don't get why suggesting that criticism is a good thing gets up people's noses though.

I don't believe anyone has suggested criticism isn't a good thing, or that it can't be a good thing. What people are frustrated with, or at least what I'm frustrated with, is being reprimanded for not doing something that in all actuality is being done already. And yes, Wendig and others aren't calling me out personally by name, but when they lump all indie authors underneath some kind of giant, fictitious umbrella, yeah, that includes me.

Besides, I've already got someone to tell me to do things I've already done. She's my wife. :-)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: syrimne13 on January 27, 2014, 03:06:12 PM
Honestly, it strikes me as pretty bizarre that he would want the indie community to police itself, for a number of reasons, most of which have already been stated here, and better, by others, so I won't repeat them.

The only reason I would add to those that have already been listed, is that in addition to the subjectiveness of "good" and "bad," what makes him think any of us are qualified to critique the work of others? Like politics and sex, everyone thinks they're an expert on this stuff, but most of us don't know as much as we think we do. I've had people tell others to make their fiction books Chicago Manual of Style-compliant and all kinds of nonsense that demonstrates more ignorance than knowledge of fiction writing...and they think they're "helping."

So if we're going to police each other's work, should we also set up yet more police to police the gatekeepers?

It's all so ridiculous. I'm a fiction writer. If I wanted to be a book critic, I would do that. I don't pretend for a minute that I'm qualified to judge other people's work, using any criteria other than my own taste, which is pretty much worthless to that writer. Even "crappy" cover art...if that writer loves it, who am I to dissuade them? It might make my teeth grind from an aesthetic standpoint, but I've seen a lot of so-called "crappy" covers sell a hell of a lot of books.

I think this is a black hole that I don't want to spiral around...I'm having too much fun writing books. :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dkgould on January 27, 2014, 03:22:42 PM
Maybe I'm reading this article differently than everyone else, or maybe it's because my personality tends to focus criticism inward rather than out, I don't know.  But what I got was not that we should be judging each other's work or preventing others from publishing, but being honest about our own.  Sure, quality varies.  Goals vary.  And yeah, the "indie culture" is a mish mash of conflicting advice.  But that's because it's a big umbrella.  There aren't any hierarchies yet.  For better or worse, those are probably coming.  Right now it's chaos, a land rush, with someone's lone memoir that was written for their children up in the same spot as someone else's 10th best seller that was written primarily as part of a business.  I don't think the article writer was saying don't congratulate Grandma on finishing her biography.  He was saying that if we're really serious about being professionals, we shouldn't accept simply finishing the manuscript and pushing the button as enough from ourselves.

This is probably going to sound extremely old fashioned (I swear, I'm not my grandparents.).  I've had a lot of jobs.  Some really important.  Like human life important.  Some not so important.  Like pouring drinks and joking with incoherent patrons not-important.  And everything between.  I could have been cruddy at several of them.  Could have let things slide.  Not finished a few duties.  Not taken out the trash at the end of a shift.  Not cared about the people I was working with.  Not sent court documents on time or taken collect calls.  I still would have gotten by.  Most people would.  I wouldn't have been fired.  Maybe not even disciplined.  But the thing is, I grew up believing that any job worth doing is worth doing well.  Including this one.

Sure, I could look at some other books (regardless of how they were published by the way) and then look at mine and say, "eh, it's better than those." and publish it.  Probably make some money too.  Get some mixed reviews, but who cares if it's selling right?  It melts into what's already out there.

But the thing the article writer is saying is that's not good enough any more.  He's not saying dun those other books because you don't like them (although if someone asks for criticism you should be honest.  There are lots of ways to be honest and forthright without being cruel by the way), he's saying you should hold your own work to another standard.  He even says traditionally published books shouldn't be your standard either.  That the way to be a professional, at anything, is to strive for the vision in your own head.  For each book to be the best that it can be.  Not okay.  Not passable.  Not even good enough.  But your best.  If I hold my book up to what I intended to say in the first place, if that book is the honest-to-goodness best that I can translate that vision, then it's ready and I can sleep easy at night.  Is it going to be perfect?  Of course not.  But at least I can honestly say that I'm not "testing stuff out" on the reader or just publishing it because "it's better than X book and that one made a ton!"

Maybe my best is grammar school English level.  Maybe it's Shakespeare.  I hope that my beta readers and editor would let me know if it's the prior, but I don't think that was the point of the article.  The key is that I'm not treating the reader like a chump.  I'm not phoning it in.  I'm being honest about where that book falls in the gamut of published books (all of them).  If I'm writing for larks or my family, then this article isn't really about or for me, and that's okay.  But if it's my job, if it's the thing I'm going to spend the better part of my life doing, day in and day out, the thing that says "Deirdre was here" long after I'm gone, shouldn't I hold myself to a higher standard than good-enough-to-get-by? The land rush is settling.  Sure, it's not over yet, but the Law is coming.  Sadly, whether we like it or not, there will be "gatekeepers".  Hopefully of our own making rather than imposed upon us.  Reviewers or advertisers like Bookbub or successful author-turned-publisher or Consumer Reports or whatever they turn out to be.  But they are coming.  As long as we can produce more high quality stories than poor ones, we can keep them at bay.  The better this whole thing works in "anarchy", the farther away the arrival of those "gatekeepers".  Every time I produce a disappointed reader rather than a happy one, the closer those gatekeepers get.  And that's the ONLY thing we can control.  Whether we, ourselves as individuals, produce happy readers or bitter ones.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: a_g on January 27, 2014, 03:27:43 PM
Imagine my relief when I read the majority of these responses and breathe a sigh of relief.

It's terribly painful to be painted with the same paintbrush, thinking my fellow writers are going to start jumping all over me if my covers suck (I know they do) or if my writing could use more editing (I know it does) or that my storytelling needs some work (I know it does) according to some standard that I am not convinced is objective at all.

I do the best with what I have, I improve every day, make strides forward every day. When I can step to the next level I will and honestly, who am I hurting by pursuing my little publishing adventure?

The thing? I really like and respect Chuck Wendig and feel like he has a lot of good things to say. I didn't agree with him this time. And my not agreeing was actually making me feel like I wasn't doing my very best when I know I am. Glad to see I wasn't alone or wrong in my thinking.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 27, 2014, 03:30:09 PM
And my answer is: I celebrate mediocrity. I celebrate half-assing things. I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it and then they keep on going and write something a little better, with a better cover and a better blurb and then they keep going some more.

I celebrate the massive tsunami of creativity that has been unleashed and unlike Chuck, I recognize there are entrants at every level. There are terrible books being put out there but those authors will iterate and get better and one day will be making a lot of money.

This. I think I'm part of the problem Chuck is talking about. I celebrate hobbyist writers and have blogged extensively about this. I celebrate the 12-year-old who completed NaNoWriMo this year and wants to see her book on Amazon. She's not hurting anyone. Let her publish. I'll be her cheerleader.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Darren Wearmouth on January 27, 2014, 03:34:51 PM
It seems like a bit of an odd thing to say, 'strive to do your best'. Who doesn't? We might all operate at slightly different levels, have different budgets, time, areas of expertise etc. What skin is that off his nose?

If he personally thinks his 'striving' puts him ahead of the pack, why is he bothered? Personally I think he's pointing to some of the strengths and claiming they are weaknesses.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fferyllt on January 27, 2014, 03:35:09 PM
Oh, puh-leeze. More importuning the glorious gods of gatekeeping. Don't think so. I don't find any "eggy stink" around the work of writers who are building a readership and making a go of self-publishing. Their work is often multiple incarnations better than the trad novels out there. I've read scores of critically acclaimed, traditionally-published novels that are absolute cr*p, in my opinion. Lots of them are bestsellers. Some indie work is cr*p, too. And some of it sells boatloads. You can find less-than-stellar covers and suspect editing in both indie- and trad-pubbed books.

Indie pubbing is really a return to our roots as storytellers. The bard stood before his audience and told his tale. If it was good, he could count on a tankard of ale and some bread, and a warm bed for the night. If the audience was not impressed, his arse was kicked outside the ring around the campfire and he went hungry. Immediate feedback. No middleman. Better system. Nice to have it back.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jvin248 on January 27, 2014, 03:40:15 PM
Smacks of gatekeeping, like "Quick, pull up the draw bridge because *I'm* already inside".

I bet the gatekeepers that turned down Stephen King's "Carrie" or J K Rowling's "Harry Potter" series are kicking themselves for policing their slush piles into Quality (both authors were rejected by close to fifty publishers). "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" were thrown down by critics in their time; none of the critics seem to hold mind-share for protecting the reading public from those now-classic works.

Wendig does a great job of link-baiting. And spending his time feeding Twitter.
I do enjoy his metaphors though.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: thevoiceofone on January 27, 2014, 03:44:14 PM
ROFL

I like the bit where he says...


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



My reply to that...

Back to getting feedback on my crappy cover that looks like a 3rd grader scratched it on paper with crayons, here on the kindle forum LOL
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: cinisajoy on January 27, 2014, 03:48:04 PM
ROFL

I like the bit where he says...


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



My reply to that...

Back to getting feedback on my crappy cover that looks like a 3rd grader scratched it on paper with crayons, here on the kindle forum LOL
If you wanted a crappy cover, all you had to do was ask.   I can dig out my crayons.   Though please note I think the 3rd graders would be better.   My artistic talent without a grid is about on par with your average pre-schooler.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 03:53:55 PM
I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it and then they keep on going and write something a little better, with a better cover and a better blurb and then they keep going some more.

That's also a solid point in favor of indies and hybrids, one I don't see touted often. There was a time when traditional publishers groomed writers, when there wasn't an expectation of every single book being published having to be a bestseller, when writers were allowed to improve with each book, to gradually build a career upon an increasing level of craftsmanship. The major traditional publishers haven't worked that way, for the most part, in at least a couple of decades, maybe longer. Indies can slowly build an audience, can slowly work on their craft, without worrying about their contract being slashed and burned and their career screeching to a halt because they didn't meet some bean counters expectations. This doesn't mean an indie should publish any old piece of garbage, but it does give them breathing room to continue working on their craft without the weight of the world being put upon their shoulders by an immediate outside source than could make or break their career for the flimsiest of reasons.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: terribleminds on January 27, 2014, 03:56:56 PM
This. I think I'm part of the problem Chuck is talking about. I celebrate hobbyist writers and have blogged extensively about this. I celebrate the 12-year-old who completed NaNoWriMo this year and wants to see her book on Amazon. She's not hurting anyone. Let her publish. I'll be her cheerleader.

See, but again, you're conflating "writing" with "publishing."

I celebrate writers of all levels at their careers or non-careers.

Publishing, though, I think you have to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about readers. And at that point, that means being your own critic, your own gatekeeper. Just my opinion, of course. I respect your point and I'm not out to inhibit anybody's freedom here -- just out to ask that they think about what they're putting out in terms of the work.

Hopefully folks found something to value in the post. This is all, as with everything I write, very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. But I can already speak to some experience that it's reaching folks in the way I've intended. Got a bunch of emails and seen some conversations on FB from authors who self-published who are saying, "You know, I didn't really take this seriously, maybe I'm not selling as well as I could have."

At the very least, it's stirred some conversation. And at the end of the day if you're (the Royal You, not the Hugh You) are going to criticize traditional publishing for all that it does wrong, it's at least worth considering what self-publishing can do differently and do better in an ongoing conversation.

Good luck, all! Glad the post worked for some folks. Er, for the record, it's not "link-bait." It's me saying stuff that's on my mind and stuff that's on my mind. I don't have advertising on my site outside my own books, and readers at the blog are not immediately and instantaneously readers of my work. Also, Hugh, I don't consider you part of any problem -- though I don't always agree with you (what fun would that be?), you're obviously an example to hold up as a paragon of Doing It Right. *shrug*

-- Chuck
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jill James on January 27, 2014, 04:11:01 PM
From kdgould
Maybe I'm reading this article differently than everyone else, or maybe it's because my personality tends to focus criticism inward rather than out, I don't know.  But what I got was not that we should be judging each other's work or preventing others from publishing, but being honest about our own.

I was going to say this, but you said it so well that I just copied it. :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: ToniD on January 27, 2014, 04:18:52 PM
See, but again, you're conflating "writing" with "publishing."

I celebrate writers of all levels at their careers or non-careers.

Publishing, though, I think you have to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about readers. And at that point, that means being your own critic, your own gatekeeper. Just my opinion, of course. I respect your point and I'm not out to inhibit anybody's freedom here -- just out to ask that they think about what they're putting out in terms of the work.

Hopefully folks found something to value in the post. This is all, as with everything I write, very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. But I can already speak to some experience that it's reaching folks in the way I've intended. Got a bunch of emails and seen some conversations on FB from authors who self-published who are saying, "You know, I didn't really take this seriously, maybe I'm not selling as well as I could have."

At the very least, it's stirred some conversation. And at the end of the day if you're (the Royal You, not the Hugh You) are going to criticize traditional publishing for all that it does wrong, it's at least worth considering what self-publishing can do differently and do better in an ongoing conversation.

Good luck, all! Glad the post worked for some folks. Er, for the record, it's not "link-bait." It's me saying stuff that's on my mind and stuff that's on my mind. I don't have advertising on my site outside my own books, and readers at the blog are not immediately and instantaneously readers of my work. Also, Hugh, I don't consider you part of any problem -- though I don't always agree with you (what fun would that be?), you're obviously an example to hold up as a paragon of Doing It Right. *shrug*

-- Chuck

I find it interesting that the only one you respond to in this long thread is our superstar ;)

As to quality work: readers are pretty much sorting out the worth-reading from the not-worth-reading. Certainly good stuff gets buried (I can think of one truly brilliant piece of Indie work that is buried), and crap gets on bestseller lists—so yeah, it’s a messy democracy. Beats the oligarchy, though.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Courtney Milan on January 27, 2014, 04:29:55 PM
I guess I don't understand why everyone has to be publishing for exactly the same reasons and with exactly the same end goal. That's not called a "contradiction" or a "double standard." That's called "life."

We call something a "double standard" when two things that should be treated the same are treated differently. Quite frankly, there are some traditionally published books that fall in the "...how did anyone publish this?" camp. And yes, there's a minimum floor that I think people should aspire to--anything less than that, and it's just not right to put up a commercial product for sale.

But castigating people for not wanting to earn a living off their writing is ridiculous. The whole point of self-publishing is that you can decide which league you want to be in.

If I don't want to be in a major league, who are you to come along and tell me that I have to play ball with the big guys? Maybe I just want to toss the ball around with my friends. Maybe I like my day job and have tennis elbow and I can't play in the major leagues. Telling people they can't play a low-key game comes off as a little mean-spirited.

I really don't understand why there's any contradiction between saying, "I can self-publish myself in to the major leagues, BUT ALSO, if I want, I can have a low key publishing career where I put out a book every two years."

Work for the career you want, and if you're happy with the one you have, well, nuts to anyone who says you have to want a different one.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 27, 2014, 04:35:06 PM
Seems nobody has the power to stand between the author and Amazon. And nobody has the power to stand between Amazon and the consumer.

Aint this a great country?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 27, 2014, 04:36:15 PM
See, but again, you're conflating "writing" with "publishing."

I celebrate writers of all levels at their careers or non-careers.

Publishing, though, I think you have to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about readers. And at that point, that means being your own critic, your own gatekeeper. Just my opinion, of course. I respect your point and I'm not out to inhibit anybody's freedom here -- just out to ask that they think about what they're putting out in terms of the work.

Hopefully folks found something to value in the post. This is all, as with everything I write, very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. But I can already speak to some experience that it's reaching folks in the way I've intended. Got a bunch of emails and seen some conversations on FB from authors who self-published who are saying, "You know, I didn't really take this seriously, maybe I'm not selling as well as I could have."

At the very least, it's stirred some conversation. And at the end of the day if you're (the Royal You, not the Hugh You) are going to criticize traditional publishing for all that it does wrong, it's at least worth considering what self-publishing can do differently and do better in an ongoing conversation.

Good luck, all! Glad the post worked for some folks. Er, for the record, it's not "link-bait." It's me saying stuff that's on my mind and stuff that's on my mind. I don't have advertising on my site outside my own books, and readers at the blog are not immediately and instantaneously readers of my work. Also, Hugh, I don't consider you part of any problem -- though I don't always agree with you (what fun would that be?), you're obviously an example to hold up as a paragon of Doing It Right. *shrug*

-- Chuck
I don't think "self-publishing" is an entity, though. Of course, "traditional publishing" isn't an entity either, but with four or five or whatever-it-is-now major players, it's a lot closer to being something about which one can generalize.

Certainly, most of the writers on this board seem to be trying hard to do things "right," as you say--because we know that if we don't, we will probably not succeed. Of course unedited books are put up with lousy covers and blurbs. But those books are not likely to be bestsellers. I think we all get that.

And lots of us (myself included) have posted on our own blogs about craft things, or "how-tos" on covers and blurbs. So, yes, if "policing" oneself means striving to put out a quality product (because that will increase our sales), we're doing that. If it means sharing our experience with others on their way up, we're doing that, too. But if it means "discouraging others," I don't think most of us want to be in that position.

I mean, how well do the people whose business it is to judge "quality" do it? How many of us who sell moderately-to-big as indies are in this game because we were turned down over--and over--and over by the experts? I'm certainly no expert in what will sell. I wouldn't deign to tell anybody else, unless they asked me, and even then, I'd be hesitant.

But kudos to you for coming on here and responding. It was a thought-provoking post, that's for sure.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: she-la-ti-da on January 27, 2014, 04:53:37 PM
Of course we should all strive to put out the best possible work, as that gives us a better chance of selling. I know that from many, many years of studying the craft, and writing (though my sales didn't show it). But, not everyone has had the benefit of years of learning and experience. They get blasted by sites/books/videos that tell them all they have to do is write a "book" and self-publish, and watch the money roll in.

If someone asks for a critique, then they'll get one, and most likely react negatively (from my experience). But should I be trolling Amazon, and sending out criticism to writers who I consider "sub-par"? I don't think so. I know I wouldn't like getting unsolicited "advice" from a stranger like that.

Good on you, Chuck, for joining and posting.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 27, 2014, 04:56:10 PM
Suppose a book has a plain white cover, with title and author printed in simple, black letters. Suppose it becomes a best seller. Should we be concerned?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 on January 27, 2014, 05:10:16 PM
You can't control what others may do. You can't tell them how or what to write or publish. You can control what you write and publish. Pretty simple.

When I go skiing down a mountain I pay attention to what I'm doing--I'm not trying to watch everybody else to see if they are skiing well. I pay attention to me and where I'm going.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 27, 2014, 05:10:28 PM
Publishing, though, I think you have to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about readers. And at that point, that means being your own critic, your own gatekeeper.

-- Chuck

Thanks for stopping by!

Take your own advice, though, and go proofread that article.  :o
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 27, 2014, 05:13:39 PM
I guess I don't understand why everyone has to be publishing for exactly the same reasons and with exactly the same end goal. That's not called a "contradiction" or a "double standard." That's called "life."

Yup. If someone wants to publish a family history on Amazon for 10 relatives to purchase, or just to leave out there as a virtual monument to another human being, more power to them. I can think of dozens of reasons to publish that don't further the goal of high literature or big entertainment.

If someone had made a blog post about how they personally hadn't been taking self-publishing seriously enough, and they vowed to do a better job going forward, I'd support the heck out of that. People should be their own gatekeepers. Asking other people to do a better job assumes they aren't already.

I think most people are doing the best they can. If they could do better, they would. The best we can do is be good examples. And trust that not everyone has our same goals and motivations when it comes to publishing. And yeah, I say that people have the same right to publish, as well as write. No gatekeepers but ourselves and the readers. For all I know, Bigfoot porn will catch on next year. So don't put me in charge of what passes. I'm not waving people through. I'm just waving at them.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jim Johnson on January 27, 2014, 05:25:02 PM
Suppose a book has a plain white cover, with title and author printed in simple, black letters. Suppose it becomes a best seller. Should we be concerned?

Not at all. I would cheer that day. It'd be a refreshing reminder that you can't judge a book by its cover. :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: syrimne13 on January 27, 2014, 05:26:21 PM
Okay, so sounds like i was the (possibly one of several?) people who might have misread the prescription implied in the article. I guess, being a practical sort, I'm still left at kind of a loss on how to make this actionable. I mean, there have been a million studies (and terms, just do a quick search on wikipedia and elsewhere) showing that people are the worst judges of themselves and their own abilities, in every conceivable way...and that the worse we are at something, the more likely we are to see ourselves as geniuses and at the top of our game.

So while I appreciate that it's a thought-provoking article, I guess I keep coming back to this: what to do with the recommendation/implications here? I already feel like I do my best to put out the best product I can at the time. I still look back on my early efforts and cringe. I'm sure I'll look back on a lot of what I'm doing now and cringe too.

I guess I'm sort of left with the same as before. Who decides? And why is this so important? Are these supposedly "inferior" products doing any harm to anyone? And, I guess more to the point for me, would any amount of "proving" ourselves to the trad industry and its gatekeepers either a) convince them that indie is anything but the minors, given that to NOT see indies that way undermines their very existence, or b) ever be remotely practical without some form of (external) gatekeeping?

Either way, I say, "meh." Sounds like a waste of time.

And for the record, I'm a big Wendig fan and read a lot of his posts, so this isn't about him, more the practicality of his argument. I also think it's cool he came on here to rebut.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Annie B on January 27, 2014, 05:30:54 PM
Yup. If someone wants to publish a family history on Amazon for 10 relatives to purchase, or just to leave out there as a virtual monument to another human being, more power to them. I can think of dozens of reasons to publish that don't further the goal of high literature or big entertainment.

If someone had made a blog post about how they personally hadn't been taking self-publishing seriously enough, and they vowed to do a better job going forward, I'd support the heck out of that. People should be their own gatekeepers. Asking other people to do a better job assumes they aren't already.

I think most people are doing the best they can. If they could do better, they would. The best we can do is be good examples. And trust that not everyone has our same goals and motivations when it comes to publishing. And yeah, I say that people have the same right to publish, as well as write. No gatekeepers but ourselves and the readers. For all I know, Bigfoot porn will catch on next year. So don't put me in charge of what passes. I'm not waving people through. I'm just waving at them.

What he said (especially that last line).  We're all in charge of our own careers. I don't want to be in charge of another person's career, too. Their goals might not be my goals.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: terribleminds on January 27, 2014, 05:38:19 PM
I find it interesting that the only one you respond to in this long thread is our superstar ;)

As to quality work: readers are pretty much sorting out the worth-reading from the not-worth-reading. Certainly good stuff gets buried (I can think of one truly brilliant piece of Indie work that is buried), and crap gets on bestseller lists—so yeah, it’s a messy democracy. Beats the oligarchy, though.


Hugh and I spent a very special night in San Antonio. We sat by the river. There was meat. And beer. AND INTIMATE PUBLISHING TALK.

Anyway.

You're right that readers do some of this work for us. My point is just that we don't always want them to have to do that work. I don't mean making the effort to sort out what they prefer from what they don't -- I mean the effort of having to figure out what's actually meeting a somewhat objective professional standard and what's not. Sometimes I feel like in this environment we put too much of the onus on readers and not enough on writers. But then again, I approach this thing differently from other people. Terribleminds is a blog that talks a lot about the creative stuff but also the application of the creative to the professional. So, that's my audience, and ultimately I'm speaking to them, there.

Like you said, though: messy democracy beats any oligarchy.

-- Chuck
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: terribleminds on January 27, 2014, 05:41:52 PM
Thanks for stopping by!

Take your own advice, though, and go proofread that article.  :o

While I'm sure I missed an error or two -- I usually do! -- I thought it was pretty clean.

That said, I'm happy to refund the price of admission.

-- Chuck
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on January 27, 2014, 05:44:03 PM
It's all subjective really. There are people who have put out work, that I didn't think was all that great. Some of those of those people have a dedicated fan base, and hell sell way more books than I do.

The fact is my opinion as a fellow writer doesn't matter. Editors and publishers opinions don't matter. It's the readers that matter.

And if their readers don't care about the horrible typo on page 121, or the bad cover etc... then why should I? It's quite frankly none of my business.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: ToniD on January 27, 2014, 06:00:33 PM
Hugh and I spent a very special night in San Antonio. We sat by the river. There was meat. And beer. AND INTIMATE PUBLISHING TALK.

Anyway.

You're right that readers do some of this work for us. My point is just that we don't always want them to have to do that work. I don't mean making the effort to sort out what they prefer from what they don't -- I mean the effort of having to figure out what's actually meeting a somewhat objective professional standard and what's not. Sometimes I feel like in this environment we put too much of the onus on readers and not enough on writers. But then again, I approach this thing differently from other people. Terribleminds is a blog that talks a lot about the creative stuff but also the application of the creative to the professional. So, that's my audience, and ultimately I'm speaking to them, there.

Like you said, though: messy democracy beats any oligarchy.

-- Chuck

I’m all for intimate publishing talk.

The thing about putting the onus on readers to determine quality: no matter what we as writers put in front of them, they’re going to make that determination and likely without much effort. It’s good, it’s meh, it sucks. I do agree that we should hold ourselves to the highest standards and put out the highest quality work we are capable of. And then let the readers decide. Who else, really?

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Susan Kaye Quinn on January 27, 2014, 06:08:58 PM
I guess I don't understand why everyone has to be publishing for exactly the same reasons and with exactly the same end goal. That's not called a "contradiction" or a "double standard." That's called "life."
+1

You're right that readers do some of this work for us. My point is just that we don't always want them to have to do that work. I don't mean making the effort to sort out what they prefer from what they don't -- I mean the effort of having to figure out what's actually meeting a somewhat objective professional standard and what's not. Sometimes I feel like in this environment we put too much of the onus on readers and not enough on writers.
That "objective professional standard" is... what exactly? One of the best parts of that "messy democracy" of indie publishing is the freedom from a standard. Innovation thrives in that environment.

Dictating the "right" way to do something is pretty much antithetical to art. Reminds me of another post today (Nate B.'s blog), where agents and professors were insisting that first person POV works were "unserious." What's unserious to me is the idea that some people think they have a lock on creative expression.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: kurzon on January 27, 2014, 06:12:04 PM
I'm more than happy to be personally responsible for the work I produce, and to strive for it to be the best it can be.  I'm also tactfully honest in feedback if it's requested.

But I'll be taking responsibility for the output and attitudes of the "self-publishing community" around the time Chuck Wendig takes responsibility for Snooki.

Self-publishers should be no more expected to control and guide the behaviour of other self-published writers than the average trade published writer is expected to give Laurell K Hamilton a quick nudge in the direction of "more plot less menage".
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jaredspub on January 27, 2014, 06:14:56 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 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=11557) doing so. If anyone thinks they can take that from me, they can go spit in the wind.

Truth.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: ElHawk on January 27, 2014, 06:15:02 PM
I totally agree that more critical examination is warranted.  But I think that's always a good policy in the arts.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: terribleminds on January 27, 2014, 06:16:55 PM
Where are these writers who say: “Who cares about readers as long as I’m satisfying myself?”

I really want to know where you get this from.

You describe a "culture" that I don't recognize.

This is one of the reasons I call this stuff low-effort linkbait. You don't establish the truth of your statements. You don't say "I saw some writers over on this forum saying x, y, z". I don't know where you are hanging out to grab your description of the "culture" from. Where do you get all those absurd things?

You do understand that “Traditional publishing screws you and you won’t get paid anything!” is true for the vast majority of writers and that "It’s okay to make $100 off your self-publishing because you just bought yourself dinner, now you’re living the high-life" is also true. You know they're not opposites right?

The actual, non-hyperbolic statement is "traditional publishing is inaccessible to the vast majority of writers. For those writers who do get into it, traditional publishing has a long history of abysmal contract terms, terrible royalty rates, delayed payments, non-delivered marketing and other problems that overall reduce the amount of books published, harm authors and limit creative expression. Self-publishing pays more per unit, allows control over your work and freedom and does not come with onerous horrible contract terms designed to screw you and your career over. Furthermore, self-publishing allows you to make $100 a year off a book that would not exist under the traditional publishing system and that is a good thing".

No one is expecting references or hard proof but you fly so far away from it that I wonder where it is you are actually spending your time. You describe and argue against a culture that, in my opinion, does not exist.



To be quite frank, your comments are the culture I'm talking about.

When you say:

"And my answer is: I celebrate mediocrity. I celebrate half-assing things. I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it and then they keep on going and write something a little better, with a better cover and a better blurb and then they keep going some more."

That's the culture I'm talking about. Literally, that. It shows amazing support for writers and at the same time grave disdain for readers.

Writing and rewriting and reading and writing some more is a very excellent place to do all those things you talk about. All the half-assing, all the going through the steps from terrible to less terrible and onward. Publishing, in my opinion, is not a good place to do those things. Publishing -- by which I mean the marketplace where you charge readers money -- is not a place to celebrate mediocrity. You're asking readers to give you money in exchange for -- what? A solid C+ effort?

Obviously, you disagree. And the system supports that disagreement. You are free to and should be free to publish what you want at the price you want it. I don't think that suggesting taking that a little more seriously is worth such hostility on your part -- but so it goes.

-- Chuck


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: CEMartin2 on January 27, 2014, 06:35:50 PM
Question: if you never publish, how do you know when your writing is good enough? Isn't publishing a way to judge honest consumer response?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre on January 27, 2014, 06:38:08 PM
See, but again, you're conflating "writing" with "publishing."

I celebrate writers of all levels at their careers or non-careers.

Publishing, though, I think you have to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about readers. And at that point, that means being your own critic, your own gatekeeper. Just my opinion, of course. I respect your point and I'm not out to inhibit anybody's freedom here -- just out to ask that they think about what they're putting out in terms of the work.

Hopefully folks found something to value in the post. This is all, as with everything I write, very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. But I can already speak to some experience that it's reaching folks in the way I've intended. Got a bunch of emails and seen some conversations on FB from authors who self-published who are saying, "You know, I didn't really take this seriously, maybe I'm not selling as well as I could have."

At the very least, it's stirred some conversation. And at the end of the day if you're (the Royal You, not the Hugh You) are going to criticize traditional publishing for all that it does wrong, it's at least worth considering what self-publishing can do differently and do better in an ongoing conversation.

Good luck, all! Glad the post worked for some folks. Er, for the record, it's not "link-bait." It's me saying stuff that's on my mind and stuff that's on my mind. I don't have advertising on my site outside my own books, and readers at the blog are not immediately and instantaneously readers of my work. Also, Hugh, I don't consider you part of any problem -- though I don't always agree with you (what fun would that be?), you're obviously an example to hold up as a paragon of Doing It Right. *shrug*

-- Chuck

Chuck,

I reread your blog post, and I come to the same conclusion - as a whole, I like it.

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

~~~

For me, self-publishing is not a place to "test" my craft or a path to traditional publishing.  For me, it's a path AWAY from traditional publishing.

Your post implies indie books are inferior to traditionally published books. (You may not mean that, but you imply it.) However, any avid reader knows that implication is false.  Many (not all) of the indie books today are as good or better than the books traditionally published.  

But self-published books, just like traditionally published books, have gatekeepers - the reader.  If readers reject your work because it's crap, then it's crap.

However, I have ZERO interest in worrying about, or judging, another person's indie career.  My focus is on MY indie career.

I didn't get into indie writing to produce a poorly written book.  I got into indie writing to produce the best work I can for the genre I love.  Every year, I want to continue to improve my writing, and I'm willing to invest in my indie career with professional covers, professional editors, promotion, etc.  

After that, I've done my job, and it's up to the readers.    

Jolie  :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 27, 2014, 06:42:26 PM
Quote
Publishing -- by which I mean the marketplace where you charge readers money -- is not a place to celebrate mediocrity. You're asking readers to give you money in exchange for -- what? A solid C+ effort?

We can observe many markets that offer a whole range of quality. Consumers don't seem to have trouble navigating them. They know how to do it. There is no reason to presume they need help with the book market.
 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre on January 27, 2014, 06:42:53 PM
Thanks for stopping by!

Take your own advice, though, and go proofread that article.  :o

Ouch!  :-X
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: C. Gockel on January 27, 2014, 06:52:17 PM
I started with a sub-par cover, and have changed my cover of my first in series about 4 times (one of the changes isn't on Goodreads, but you can see the rest there if you want a laugh.  ::) )

I had a technical-editor review my work, because she is a fan and when I started out it was all I could afford (but since then have re-edited).

I won't decry anyone making the jump, even if they are not completely "professional".

Still...I do get a little touchy when I see people buying reviews. On the one hand, a place like Kirkus seems to be pretty reliable. But then the model separates the reviewer from the author (or am I wrong?) On the other hand...I see ads on Facebook for places where I don't think an unfavorable review would be possible because it would destroy the business model.

Recently, someone who writes in my genre got into the "Highest Rated" category. There were a few negative reviews, and a LOT of unverified purchases where the reviewer said they were a "Professional Promoter", etc...and these people also reviewed this writers other book. What was disturbing, was the negative reviewers who said they would NEVER take a chance on an indie published book again because the book was so bad the reviews were obviously fake. It was very discouraging.

Both of the author's novels are sinking in the rankings. But I do think of those unhappy customers who won't give my work a chance.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dalya on January 27, 2014, 07:06:07 PM
I find it interesting that the only one you respond to in this long thread is our superstar ;)

....

OUCH.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 on January 27, 2014, 07:07:31 PM
The market sorts it all out. Vigilante groups aren't needed to police the quality of publishing. I see nothing wrong with people having the freedom and ability to publish their own book.

Before the 70's it was nearly impossible to make a film without a big studio. Then film school grads showed they could do it and there was an explosion if Indie films. Some were bad and some were great. Indie films have only gotten better over the years. Scorsese, Tarentino, Cameron and many others...Lucas et al.

Before the internet and digital music relatively few could produce an album without a record company. Those barriers were removed and digital distribution allowed them to not only create the music, but to distribute it. There are so many. This has only made the music we hear better and more diverse.  

Books will go the same way.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RichardWolanski on January 27, 2014, 07:12:39 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.



***SLOW CLAP***

I like Chuck, and I understand his point. However, I agree with the s--- all over dreams guy and JR. At the end of the day, it's about the readers. I'm too busy worrying about my own f-ups to be concerned about someone else's. And one person's f-ups is another person's treasure and all that.  I think that was the metaphor I was going for...

Anyway, it's best to ignore the voices and focus on learning and writing as much as you can, IMO.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 27, 2014, 07:14:02 PM
Folks, a reminder about tone...and Chuck, thanks for jumping into the fray.

 :D

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 27, 2014, 07:14:37 PM
I'd like to know who has the right to stand between my books and the readers who like to read them.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre on January 27, 2014, 07:18:30 PM
I'd like to know who has the right to stand between my books and the readers who like to read them.

Nobody . . . unless you let them.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet on January 27, 2014, 07:42:48 PM
I'd like to know who has the right to stand between my books and the readers who like to read them.

It's funny what people read into that article. No one's saying anything of the sort.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 07:44:01 PM
We can bemoan the poor quality of various indie works, or even various trad-pubbed works. We can use terms like "objective quality" when no such thing actually exists, though others will argue otherwise ... yet they are wrong ... a "consensus of quality" perhaps, but not objective. We can gripe about bad covers, bad writing, etc. We can promote good writing, quality covers, etc.

And at the end of the day, not one little bit of it is going to matter, with the possible exception of nudging a handful of writer/publishers into upping their quality.

Why?

Because we don't live in that world anymore.

Equating publishing with business is no longer an objective reality when anyone can publish.

Former newspaper journalist here. We fought the good fight a decade and more ago. The traditionalists didn't win, mainly because they couldn't or wouldn't open their eyes to the new reality. One could argue (easily) that the current state of journalism is atrocious, print and otherwise, but it still changed regardless of what many wanted, and to some extent that even includes the wants of the readerships and viewerships.

Two decades back it was television killing newspapers, then it was the Internet killing newspapers, and then it was blogs killing newspapers, while all along the truth of the matter was newspapers were killing newspapers. I see the same thing happening today in book publishing, many of the same complaints and concerns, many of the same disputes, and in the end there will likely be the same period of fragmentation followed by a handful of corporations controlling practically everything because they saw the future while the rest of us bickered and rung our hands worrying about what everyone else was doing when we should be focusing upon our own work.

Maybe that's part of what Chuck is suggesting, maybe not. I don't want to put words in his mouth.

But I do disagree with anyone who continues to believe not just writing, but that even publishing, is still a business-only venture. It's not. It's a business for some of us, perhaps the majority of us, but not for everyone.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 27, 2014, 08:01:57 PM
Hmmm.   Let's see:  Hostile, snarky responses, as though Chuck had murdered your puppy, rather than just suggesting that everybody should up their game and encourage/help others to do so as well.  CHECK! 

Lots of bandying about of the word "gatekeeper."  CHECK!

Flat-out denial that self-publishing has a quality stigma (not a "vanity press" stigma -- that's well and truly defeated now) due to examples everyone can cite without trying hard: no editing, high-schooler-with-photoshop covers, etc.  CHECK!

The thoughtful rhetorical jujitsu of "there are also trad published books which are bad quality!"   CHECK!


Gosh... I wonder what "culture" Chuck could *possibly* be referring to?



Let's put it in a more positive light:   We have successfully torpedoed the old stigma of self-publishing as fly-by-night vanity press operations.  It's viewed as a valid option, and that's a huge change to have brought about.   Kick ass!

So now, let's do what we can -- by example, and via encouragement -- to tear down the NEXT stigma.    The quality stigma, which, bluntly, DOES exist -- just like the fly-by-night vanity presses exist.

We already took down the big stigma, so this one should be easy!



How's that?  Better?   Or did I murder puppies, too?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 27, 2014, 08:02:07 PM
It's funny what people read into that article. No one's saying anything of the sort.

Did I ever say that this is what the article said?

Ever heard of corollary questions?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 27, 2014, 08:13:15 PM
How's that?  Better?   Or did I murder puppies, too?

-- sniff -- The poor puppies.

Murderer!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 27, 2014, 08:19:04 PM
Hmmm.   Let's see:  Hostile, snarky responses, as though Chuck had murdered your puppy, rather than just suggesting that everybody should up their game and encourage/help others to do so as well.  CHECK!  

Lots of bandying about of the word "gatekeeper."  CHECK!

Flat-out denial that self-publishing has a quality stigma (not a "vanity press" stigma -- that's well and truly defeated now) due to examples everyone can cite without trying hard: no editing, high-schooler-with-photoshop covers, etc.  CHECK!

The thoughtful rhetorical jujitsu of "there are also trad published books which are bad quality!"   CHECK!


Gosh... I wonder what "culture" Chuck could *possibly* be referring to?



Let's put it in a more positive light:   We have successfully torpedoed the old stigma of self-publishing as fly-by-night vanity press operations.  It's viewed as a valid option, and that's a huge change to have brought about.   Kick *ss!

So now, let's do what we can -- by example, and via encouragement -- to tear down the NEXT stigma.    The quality stigma, which, bluntly, DOES exist -- just like the fly-by-night vanity presses exist.

We already took down the big stigma, so this one should be easy!



How's that?  Better?   Or did I murder puppies, too?
Snark comes with the territory. You have an interesting number of posts, I see. You are free to consider that snark.

Who denied that there were novels out there with no editing and poor covers? Please point to the comment. What some people don't think is that it is a big problem. 99.9% of the readers will never see those anyway a they sink to #2,000,000 in the Amazon rankings with no also boughts. However, if you want to go out and have some kind of a campaign to keep the people who do write them from publishing, have at it. It's your time and your headache. (Or Chuck's as the case may be  :P )

I have better things to do. Now keep your hands off my puppies.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 27, 2014, 08:27:31 PM
Let me point out that no actual puppies were murdered to create this thread.

(http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/9700000/Sad-Puppy-puppies-9726248-1600-1200.jpg)

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 27, 2014, 08:29:27 PM
Snark comes with the territory. You have an interesting number of posts, I see. You are free to consider that snark.

Yes, I'm a relative newcomer to your little kaffeeklatsch, despite having been self-publishing for over a decade, and being featured in AP articles on the topic back in 2007, before the big Kindle boom.  So are we done "qualification-measuring" now?  

Thought so.

However, if you want to go out and have some kind of a campaign to keep the people who do write them from publishing, have at it.

*Slow Clap*  You show that straw man who's boss!   Get him!

Nobody has said anything about keeping anyone from publishing.   The only thing that's being discussed is offering honest critique when asked, and, better yet, advice and help, rather than cheerleading... which a lot of people already do, which is great.    A call for more of that is not a call to keep people from publishing.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 27, 2014, 08:32:34 PM
Let me point out that no actual puppies were murdered to create this thread.

I have to share -- I'm dying laughing over here, because my browser didn't load the picture in your post, just the "?" of a missing image... which I thought was kinda ironic when it turned out it was a pic of a puppy.

My browser killed a virtual puppy!    ;D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 27, 2014, 08:34:43 PM
Glad to hear it.

Let's have more laughing, less snark, everyone.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: PatriceFitz on January 27, 2014, 08:37:59 PM
I think the bad painting analogy works well.  You love to do it, you paint it, you frame it, you put it up in the local free-for-all show at the community art league, and it's bad.  But who cares?

You do it again and maybe you get better.  Or maybe you just do it for joy.  Somebody might come along and love your purple cow in a field of dandelions.

I know I'm a better writer than I was when I published my first book in 2011.  I noticed that J.K. Rowling got better (and more wordy!) as she progressed through the Harry Potter series.

And I can think of two self-publishing friends in particular who have made marked strides between books 1 and 2, and are now both penning book 3.  Between you and me (don't worry, they're not on here) I don't even think their books are any good!  But people are buying them to a tune of 100 copies a month, so... somebody must love them. 

If Chuck's post was meant as a "be as good as you can be, don't slack, realize that professionalism matters" pep talk, I'm all for that.  But he didn't have to tell me that.  I try every day to be as excellent a writer as I can be. 

I'm just another happy indie bobbing along in the tsunami of creativity.  Pinch me, I'm a published writer!   8)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: psychotick on January 27, 2014, 08:40:18 PM
Hi,

I agree with a lot of what Chuck has said. As writers we write for ourselves, but when we publish we do have to recognise that we publish for readers, and like it or not there seem to be a lot of indie publishers who seem to forget this fact. Just scroll through the bottom ranked books and do a few look insides.

These people published because they were of insufficient skill to get their book up to snuff, or they lacked the funds or the expertise to do it, or they were too precious to accept criticism, or they were in too much of a hurry to finish, or etc etc. Now you can argue the toss about whether or not this is disdain for the reader. My thought is that it may not reach the level of disdain, but it does equate to being less concerned about the readers than they are about getting their work published.

Now there are no gatekeepers as we keep saying, so there is absolutely nothing that can be done about this. And like it or not these works will always leave a mark on the world of indie writing. They will reinforce the idea that indie books are of inferior quality to trade published. As Doctor Phil says (yes I admit I have seen the show!) It takes a thousand positive comments to overcome one negative one. And in this case when we as indies have a viable opposition in terms of the trade published who can simply pull up any one of these works and hold it up as an example of how bad self published works can be, it may be worse than that. But there is nothing we can do about that.

The only thing we can do as indies is concentrate on our own writing, continually trying to improve ourselves and our work, and take as much care as we can to make sure our work is ready before we publish. And that's really what I get out of the blog post.

Cheers, Greg.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 27, 2014, 08:51:33 PM
As a card-carrying realist—probably the only one here—I know that Reality (like winter) is coming and that she will be unmoved by all your paeans to mediocrity and Kumbayas about how everything is subjective and everyone equal (except subjectivity and equality, of course, which are absolute values that everyone must profess on penalty of death). Reality calls herself content curation this time around, and she is most decidedly a gatekeeper. She’s already stalking YouTube—you remember YouTube, don’t you? It’s the go-to example when you want to show why gatekeepers are unnecessary.

You can run down Wendig or anyone else all you want. You can praise free-flowing flotsam all you want to, but gatekeeping will return for the simple reason that readers value it. And that value will increase as content increases. 

 


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: heidi_g on January 27, 2014, 08:52:52 PM
I read the article and probably a year ago I would have agreed with much of it. It's not that I don't agree with it now, it just doesn't make me go rah rah. Why? I've come to realize that the major difference between traditional publishers and self-publishers is simply one of experience.

It's not a difference of passion, talent, storytelling ability, or anything like that.

Traditional publishers have been making a business of publishing books for years. How many self-publishers have been doing that? There are a few … but the majority of us have 2-4 years (or less!) under our belts. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that. The thing is one of the best ways of learning is by DOING. When we published my first novel, let's just say there was room for improvement. Do you honestly think I knew that when I hit the publish button? Of course, I didn't. I thought it was the best thing I could possibly produce. And it was—at that moment in time. Should I not have published it because of it's shortcomings? Shortcomings that I would only be capable of discerning as I continued to gain experience in self-publishing?

Right now, I'm re-working three-quarters of the books I'd published as of December 31 of 2013. Why? Gosh, with the 17 months of experience I now have, I have learned so much! It's kind of mind-boggling. I don't think there's any way I could have learned all that without jumping into the waters. Do I wish the re-releases I'm preparing for the next few months were the original releases. Oh, you bet. But I also can't let things stand that I know, without a doubt, can be improved. Most of these things are publishing decisions. Not writing decisions. PUBLISHING DECISIONS.

So … while I guess it's nice to say lets all hold ourselves to higher standards, the thing about self-publishging is it's really self-correcting. Your book flops, gets poor reviews, guess what. Most likely you're going to grow as a self-publisher or quit. So I read a blog post like this, and I'm just kind of meh. People who want to write and self-publish will. The ones who are committed and stick with it will most likely get better.

That's my big understanding. The traditional publishers, they just have experience. But experience is something that can be gained.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 27, 2014, 09:01:51 PM
Yes, I'm a relative newcomer to your little kaffeeklatsch, despite having been self-publishing for over a decade, and being featured in AP articles on the topic back in 2007, before the big Kindle boom.  So are we done "qualification-measuring" now?  

Thought so.

*Slow Clap*  You show that straw man who's boss!   Get him!

Nobody has said anything about keeping anyone from publishing.   The only thing that's being discussed is offering honest critique when asked, and, better yet, advice and help, rather than cheerleading... which a lot of people already do, which is great.    A call for more of that is not a call to keep people from publishing.
Since you are the one who wants to do "qualification-measuring' for publishing, no, I suspect we aren't done. And that isn't what I was saying. Subtlety isn't your strong point. *slow clap*

See we can both do that.  Are you more impressed than I am? ::)

That is most definitely not the only thing being discussed. People here give honest critiques all the time. We don't need someone coming in and telling us to help each other out as though this is an idea that no one had ever thought of and considered. But if someone wants advice and help, they need to ask.

I am not going to force it on anyone and deny it all you like, that is what is being discussed. Hunting down 'inferior' authors who aren't being professional enough for me is not on my agenda for today, tomorrow or any time in the future.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 27, 2014, 09:08:12 PM
As a card-carrying realist—probably the only one here—I know that Reality (like winter) is coming and that she will be unmoved by all your paeans to mediocrity and Kumbayas about how everything is subjective and everyone equal (except subjectivity and equality, of course, which are absolute values that everyone must profess on penalty of death). Reality calls herself content curation this time around, and she is most decidedly a gatekeeper. She’s already stalking YouTube—you remember YouTube, don’t you? It’s the go-to example when you want to show why gatekeepers are unnecessary.

You can run down Wendig or anyone else all you want. You can praise free-flowing flotsam all you want to, but gatekeeping will return for the simple reason that readers value it. And that value will increase as content increases.  

Realist? Independent sales just keep on increasing.

The market offers content curation. Those who want it can find it with the established publishers. Consumers have a choice. If it really matter, then the established publishers will run the independents out of the market.  Gatekeepers don't have to return. They never left the established publishers.
 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Rykymus on January 27, 2014, 09:08:57 PM
Of course self-published books are more likely to be of lessor quality than traditionally published books. You'd be an idiot to believe otherwise. But you'd also be an idiot to assume that a book is of lessor quality simply because it is self-published.

I don't care is someone makes that assumption about my books. Heck, they could be correct, for all I know. I simply appreciate that I can publish whatever I want and let it stand or fall on its own merits. It is not at the whim of someone else who assumes that they know best what readers should be allowed to read.

The result? A lot more stories, both good and bad. And that's a great thing. It's also something that you cannot have with gatekeepers.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray on January 27, 2014, 09:10:07 PM
We don't need someone coming in and telling us to help each other out as though this is an idea that no one had ever thought of and considered. But if someone wants advice and help, they need to ask.

I am not going to force it on anyone and deny it all you like, that is what is being discussed. Hunting down 'inferior' authors who aren't being professional enough for me is not on my agenda for today, tomorrow or any time in the future.


1. Chuck didn't "come in here" and tell anyone anything. I posted the link to his blogpost because I thought it was interesting and I largely agreed with it. I haven't changed my mind about the agreeing, but about the posting of it? Yeah, little bit.

2. Therefore, he wasn't writing the post for members of KBoards, but for the people who regularly frequent his blog. There may be some overlap. There may not but it wasn't a proscriptive sermon for KBoarders. People who are here largely understand that they can ask for help and suggestions and do so. Not everyone who wants to publish their own writing is on KBoards, no matter whether we think they ought to be or not.

3. I really don't know where you get that Chuck or anyone is suggesting "hunting down" anyone. As I've stated, I understand reading things differently. I can even wrap my brain around people reading a call to offer unsolicited advice. But "hunting down inferior authors"? Um. Who called for that? Where?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 27, 2014, 09:11:18 PM
This. I think I'm part of the problem Chuck is talking about. I celebrate hobbyist writers and have blogged extensively about this. I celebrate the 12-year-old who completed NaNoWriMo this year and wants to see her book on Amazon. She's not hurting anyone. Let her publish. I'll be her cheerleader.
I'm with Hugh on this one but I'm tired of the argument so I wish you all a good night.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: psychotick on January 27, 2014, 09:15:37 PM
Hi,

Card carrying realist? I didn't know there was such a card. Only scars for those who aren't. As someone once said, reality is what trips you up when you run around with your eyes closed!

Cheers, Greg.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: AutumnKQ on January 27, 2014, 09:24:26 PM
My response....
This is awesome. I agree with most of it. It’s just that it’s not my job to criticize those other indie authors.
I can only take care of my own stuff.

In fact, I’m a small business owner. I don’t go around critiquing businesses in my same general area of expertise. I might look to them for ideas on what to do and what not to do, but I don’t cheer them on or criticize them. Doesn’t matter. I’m just doing my thing and doing it to the best of my ability. I see my indie pubbing venture the same way.

On the other hand… I sincerely appreciate the indie publishing culture and how open it sometimes is. I’ve learned a lot from other authors. But still, it’s not my place to criticize how someone else is running their business. And it doesn’t matter to me if they’re “doing it wrong”. I’m not worried that their lack of professionalism might rub off on me. They aren’t me. They’re creating content, same as I am, but we create different content. My content makes up my brand. These other authors have nothing to do with my brand.

I also make music, and I never feel like I need to be worried about all those bands recording music in their garages. It’s irrelevant. It has zero bearing on my music. Everyone knows good indie music exists at this point in the game. Sure, lots of it might be garbage, but lots of it isn’t. And it’s so exciting when you discover that new gem no one else has heard of. ;) This is where I see indie publishing going.

I don’t feel like I need to be a “good example”, or that I need to consciously work to ensure my contributions elevate the overall quality of the sea of indie pubbed books. I spent months on revisions and hired an editor because I want my story to be the best it can be. I hired a cover artist so my story would get the cover it deserves (within budget, at least.)

I think that’s what you say we need more of, so great, but I still don’t care either way if other writers choose to self-pub their NaNo novel on Dec 1st, or if they make their covers using Paint. It’s irrelevant. The music analogy stands. I honestly don’t have to worry about any stigma. Give it five more years. I promise that you and everyone else will forget there ever was one. There will be books worth reading and books not worth reading, and that’s it.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 27, 2014, 09:40:07 PM
I'm always perplexed (and slightly amused) when someone writes a blog or a post and speaks of "we" this and "we" that.
It always leaves me wondering who this "we" are, and If I'm included and should mend my evil ways.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre on January 27, 2014, 10:15:18 PM
Chuck didn't "come in here" and tell anyone anything. I posted the link to his blogpost because I thought it was interesting and I largely agreed with it. I haven't changed my mind about the agreeing, but about the posting of it? Yeah, little bit.

I agree with most of what Chuck wrote.  So I'm a little surprised by some of the reactions, as well.   
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre on January 27, 2014, 10:21:53 PM
Yes, I'm a relative newcomer to your little kaffeeklatsch, despite having been self-publishing for over a decade, and being featured in AP articles on the topic back in 2007, before the big Kindle boom.  So are we done "qualification-measuring" now?  

I'm newly active too, but crashing a party has never been a problem for me.  I bust my way in, and I stay in.   8)

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RichardWolanski on January 27, 2014, 10:26:47 PM
I personally don't see why there's this pressing need for an all encompassing arbiter of good for the self-pubbers, but when Taylor Swift wants to publish "Electric Bugaloo 2: The T-Rex edition", there's nigh a peep. And by peep I mean there isn't this gushing clamor about the state of an amorphous industry. Why can't we just write our books the best we can and let readers decide? I'm personally in the camp that believes criticism (honest but not cruel) is necessary to be a better writer.  

However, there are too many people who don't have the perfect presentation (covers) with equal amounts of polish (editing) that are thriving. Honestly, they encourage me to at least try. It's obvious to me that most writers want their work to be good and so they slave over improving it the best they can. I'm not interested in telling somone what they can and can't do. Like someone else in here mentioned, not everyone's goal is the same and guess what------it's okay.

A volcano will not erupt nor with the stars implode if some one doesn't hire an editor. Work on you. Do you. If someone is asking for advice, offer it. What else is there really to say about it?

Peace.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: syrimne13 on January 27, 2014, 11:03:07 PM
I read the article and probably a year ago I would have agreed with much of it. It's not that I don't agree with it now, it just doesn't make me go rah rah. Why? I've come to realize that the major difference between traditional publishers and self-publishers is simply one of experience.

It's not a difference of passion, talent, storytelling ability, or anything like that.

Traditional publishers have been making a business of publishing books for years. How many self-publishers have been doing that? There are a few … but the majority of us have 2-4 years (or less!) under our belts. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that. The thing is one of the best ways of learning is by DOING. When we published my first novel, let's just say there was room for improvement. Do you honestly think I knew that when I hit the publish button? Of course, I didn't. I thought it was the best thing I could possibly produce. And it was—at that moment in time. Should I not have published it because of it's shortcomings? Shortcomings that I would only be capable of discerning as I continued to gain experience in self-publishing?

Right now, I'm re-working three-quarters of the books I'd published as of December 31 of 2013. Why? Gosh, with the 17 months of experience I now have, I have learned so much! It's kind of mind-boggling. I don't think there's any way I could have learned all that without jumping into the waters. Do I wish the re-releases I'm preparing for the next few months were the original releases. Oh, you bet. But I also can't let things stand that I know, without a doubt, can be improved. Most of these things are publishing decisions. Not writing decisions. PUBLISHING DECISIONS.

So … while I guess it's nice to say lets all hold ourselves to higher standards, the thing about self-publishging is it's really self-correcting. Your book flops, gets poor reviews, guess what. Most likely you're going to grow as a self-publisher or quit. So I read a blog post like this, and I'm just kind of meh. People who want to write and self-publish will. The ones who are committed and stick with it will most likely get better.

That's my big understanding. The traditional publishers, they just have experience. But experience is something that can be gained.

Really well said...you pretty much expressed exactly how I feel about it, so thank you!!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: ChrisWard on January 27, 2014, 11:19:42 PM
I got bored after about three paragraphs when I realised it was the same old stuff we've seen a million times before. Lovely. I don't really care what other people are doing, to be honest. Until I'm physically stopped from self-publishing I'll continue to do it in the way I see fit.

And I love the way "kaiju" is now the hip way to refer to a monster. What god-awful movie was that from again? :D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:05:42 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?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: T.K. on January 28, 2014, 06:18:45 AM
I believe this is Chuck's follow-up post.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/28/follow-up-on-self-publishing-readers-are-not-good-gatekeepers/

He quotes KB member Emily Cantore.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 06:23:40 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?

IMHO Because artists have been selling as individuals throughout the history of art and definitely since the Internet came about and made digital sales so easy. Writers have only had good options for self-publishing more recently. All these arguments will eventually die out. The bottom line is most readers don't know or care who the publisher is. They only know which authors they like.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on January 28, 2014, 06:24:55 AM
I believe this is Chuck's follow-up post.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/28/follow-up-on-self-publishing-readers-are-not-good-gatekeepers/

He quotes KB member Emily Cantore.

He thinks we are not welcoming community here at Kboards and hostile. What does he want, us to agree with everything we read and not discuss? I don't like self-censorship. I don't think discussing something this important to all of us should come down to personalities.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Susan Kaye Quinn on January 28, 2014, 06:29:47 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?
+1

And I agree with Jana DeLeon that this "we must FIX THE INDIES" is all just churmoil and will eventually fade away.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:39:49 AM
I believe this is Chuck's follow-up post.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/28/follow-up-on-self-publishing-readers-are-not-good-gatekeepers/

He quotes KB member Emily Cantore.

Hmm, hi Chuck, and welcome.

Here's the problem: not all authors will be as brilliant and talented as Chuck wants them to be. They just don't have the tools in their noggin to produce a work that's up to Chuck's standards. Here's the kicker, they THINK what they wrote was entertaining.  What now? Do we stop them and FORCE them to take a class and get an editor? Or, do we let them publish their work and learn the hard way? Because, I don't think there are more than a handful who push the publish button with a smirk on their faces, hoping to hook a sucker on their halfass work. So, your move. What now. What to do with those who think their stuff is no good? Act like the agents who shot down E.L. James and tell them their stuff is no good. Are we appointing someone to do that?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:44:20 AM
Folks,

let's not start a war of words between Chuck (who's been a member for awhile here) and our site. 

If you want to discuss the ideas in his blog, please post as if you're having a face-to-face conversation with him.  Less snark, more thoughtful discussion.

Betsy
KB Moderator
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:47:10 AM
He thinks we are not welcoming community here at Kboards and hostile. What does he want, us to agree with everything we read and not discuss? I don't like self-censorship. I don't think discussing something this important to all of us should come down to personalities.

Stepping in here...having "back-read" the thread, I agree that there were comments made yesterday that were far less than welcoming and not the kind of tone we want here.  Debating ideas is fine, but there were some of what I consider an attack.  Let's try to do better today.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ros_Jackson on January 28, 2014, 06:51:15 AM
Chuck's first post seems to imply that there's a stigma to self-publishing. But has anyone done a proper poll of ordinary readers to find out who has been burned by buying poor SP books and then resolved never to buy another? Or how aware people are in general of different publishers, and what their output is like? Or whether they can tell just by looking at the cover which ones are self-published, small indie-published, or traditional? That's the data we're missing to put this debate into context.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 28, 2014, 06:51:52 AM
Let's try to do better today.

Betsy

What a noble sentiment! Someone should write a blog post about this!

Wait...
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:57:51 AM
What a noble sentiment! Someone should write a blog post about this!

Wait...

Hugh...
 >:(

EDIT:  Perhaps you missed this in my prior post:

Less snark, more thoughtful discussion.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg on January 28, 2014, 07:04:16 AM
I tend to agree with everything Emily has been saying. I don't think she's been hostile, merely direct.

If Chuck's post is intended to advocate self-policing (put YOUR best work out there), then I agree with that. We should all do our best -- with the caveat that everyone's best is at a different "level."

My biggest issue is this: when we start telling other writers what to publish, we also start telling readers what they can or can't read. Which is something I think a lot of people at KB would have a huge problem with.

What we're saying, Chuck, is let the readers decide -- and I don't see how that shows "disdain" for them. They are in control right now. In self-publishing, reader is king: FAR more than in trad-pub, where the king (that is, who makes the decisions as to what CAN sell) is the publisher, and his subjects are the readers. They can vote with their money, but only to a degree. For self-publishers, everything is in the hands of the readers. THEY decide what they want. Do I think 50 Shades was pretty much horrendous? Of course. Do I think other writers should have stopped her from publishing? Not a chance. Because clearly, readers wanted her book.

Readers are smart, and there are tons of resources (goodreads, social media, book blogs, email lists like Bookbub) that have sprouted up among readers to help them weed out the crappy books and find the good ones before they purchase. They're not stupid -- they can judge for themselves when a dud is a dud; we don't need to do it for them.

I'm all for advocating professionalism, particularly if someone asks for help here. There have been many threads here at KB where an author asks for help, and KB-ers have no qualms about pointing out that "The writing needs work." Some people take that criticism in stride, and others don't -- but that's not my problem. Ultimately, the readers will send him/her the message they want to send. And as far as self-pub stigma goes? I don't care about that, either: again, readers will buy what they want to buy, regardless of the publisher. So far they've been pretty happy buying self-published books -- and indie readership continues to grow.

In the end, I don't see a problem that needs "fixing." Because readers aren't stupid. They AREN'T getting duped into buying crap! If something's crap, it's pretty easy to find that out before you shell out your $2.99! I wish Chuck would address this idea. I read his follow-up, but all I still see is the attitude that readers are too dumb to figure out how to spend their own money, and that we should be trying to limit or direct how they do it - based on something that's overwhelmingly subjective.

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?

*tosses keyboard, grabs paintbrush*
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 28, 2014, 07:04:25 AM
Chuck's first post seems to imply that there's a stigma to self-publishing. But has anyone done a proper poll of ordinary readers to find out who has been burned by buying poor SP books and then resolved never to buy another? Or how aware people are in general of different publishers, and what their output is like? Or whether they can tell just by looking at the cover which ones are self-published, small indie-published, or traditional? That's the data we're missing to put this debate into context.

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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg on January 28, 2014, 07:06:20 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.

So beautifully said.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 07:20:38 AM
Folks,

I don't want to lock this thread.  You want to continue to discuss the idea of whether or not indies should be policing indies or encouraging better editing or whatever, that's fine.

Posts that engage Chuck on whether KBoards is welcoming or not have been and will be removed...we're not going to allow a war of words between the two sites.

Betsy
KB Moderator
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: sarahdalton 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: 90daysnovel 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: geekgrrl 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: geekgrrl 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Martitalbott 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: sarahdalton 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RichardWolanski 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
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter 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.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 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?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec 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
KB Mod

 ;D

Didn't think so. Probably best as a PM anyway. Thank you for saving me from myself. I've cooled off now.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka 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.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell 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
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Joliedupre 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. :)  

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell 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.  :-[
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka 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.)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey 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.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 09:24:00 AM
I think Wendig's focus on readers is an important one.

Being able to self-publish whatever you like is all well and good.  But I think there should be some serious concern for the quality of the writing and production.

Readers are people with memories and opinions, and readers talk to each other.  Wherever readers congregate and swap notes and recommendations there have been horror stories of poorly written and produced books, even from long before self publishing existed.

You can't stop readers from talking to each other.  And readers are your audience.  It's a mutual concern.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 09:24:07 AM
I get what Chuck is saying. Anyone who visits forums, is on groups or Facebook has seen posts to the extent of "I can't afford an editor" "I don't let anyone else read my work" "I've never taken a class or read a book on technique" "Readers are my betas" "I don't think grammar matters" etc.

When I read that sort of thing, the artist in me that has spent over a decade studying craft is momentarily horrified, mainly because I see it as a disrespect to the art of writing. But then the OMG moment passes and I remind myself that so many people are looking for a shortcut to wealth and think the path to self-publishing is paved with gold. They'll find out soon enough that it isn't unless you're writing books that resonate with readers. And that takes a certain level of study and talent.

But to play devil's advocate, rather than saying poorly written/produced/whatever books make all indies look bad, one could argue that those books make well written/produced/whatever indie books look better.

Readers have long memories. Insult them with a poor product, and you've probably lost them forever. Ultimately, lack of professionalism takes care of itself.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 28, 2014, 09:27:09 AM
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.

I'll just say, me too, and beautifully said. Thank you, wonderful friends who read my first book and told me to go for it. Thank you, wonderful husband who told me to quit my job and write.

I self-published because I got a diagnosis that said I didn't have time to wait, and my priorities were suddenly crystal-clear. I did (have time), as it turned out, but that diagnosis turned out to be another one of those blessings in disguise--just like all the agents and publishers who said "no."

This is my one and only life. I'm going to spend it doing what I love, and doing it to the absolute, screaming, very best of my ability.

P.S. Jana, I've never taken a class or read a book on technique. Sorry. But I'm OK! I promise!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Key on January 28, 2014, 09:27:41 AM
There are so many good replies here, and I can see that some opinions will always vary.  Thank you everyone for saying what you mean with so much coherence.  :)  It's helpful. 

I just wanted to reply here to one thing from the second post:

Quote
It tells me that you’re comfortable asking readers to pay you so that you can get better.

I am comfortable asking readers to pay to be entertained.  The same way that I pay to be entertained.  (I'm also a reader.)  If they find my stories entertaining, I hope they will pay for them (rather than pirate them).  If they don't, I certainly don't want anyone to spend money for something they don't want to read.  I hope they even use the return function on Amazon if my stories really aren't good enough for them. 

As for getting better?  No, I'm doing that on my own.  I've been doing that for a very long time now with thousands of hours of practice and learning.  I will continue to try to improve.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 09:37:17 AM
Who are we going to listen to? The cheerleaders in our lives? Or the doubters and cynics?

Choose wisely, people.

The wise choice isn't either/or.   The wise choice is to listen to BOTH.   Not all cheerleaders are right, and not all doubters are wrong.   Listen to all of them, and I'd bet that you'll find something worth taking from both sides.   Listen to the cheerleaders when they tell you to take the plunge and publish.   Listen to the doubters when they tell you that maybe your cover needs work, or that you really should hire an editor.   

To quote one of the seminal works of the last half-century, Spider-Man ( :D ) - "With great power comes great responsibility."   The ability to direct reach our audience is, without a doubt, great power.  Use it responsibly.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 on January 28, 2014, 09:44:43 AM
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.


Choose wisely, people.


I'm sure they are over there.   ;D  So much bad advice and opinions. There are so many different types of readers out there and so many nooks and crannies which publishers ignored because they thought they couldn't make enough money in a sub-genre. They had X amount of dollars and Y number of slots in which to place their bets, bets which they didn't always win. So the old wisdom was for one to keep honing their craft until a publisher decided to bet on your book and grace you into the club.

The world has changed, but some are back in the dark ages. Any book that gets people to read is fine with me.  ;)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 09:51:19 AM
P.S. Jana, I've never taken a class or read a book on technique. Sorry. But I'm OK! I promise!

That statement is a bit disingenuous, isn't it? Weren't you a professional copywriter?

My point is, you've had writing education, either through a formal education system or on the job. And my guess is that in your marketing position, you do a lot of writing as well.  :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: cinisajoy on January 28, 2014, 09:58:41 AM
Hi all.  Reader checking in.   Or the official gatekeeper or critic or whatever you want to call me today.
Here is the thing, I do not need Chuck or Oprah or anyone else telling me what I need to read.    Well now having said that I do appreciate Oprah and most of the other paid critics.   If they love a book, I know to avoid it.   Same idea with most movies.

Now on the gatekeepers, I have discovered at Amazon, the "writers" that think this is a get rich quick scheme tend to disappear.    Last month I decided I was going to review all the books I am now reading.   I started with my tablet which is mostly shorter stories.   I got them at Amazon.   When I went to review them, the really bad ones were no longer there.   Not the author or the books.
So this tells me that some people are pulling their books because they are making no money.    I am not talking just one or two but about 50 so far or about 1% of the kindle books I own.
What this means I have no idea but I found it interesting.

Now in the last year or so, I have gotten much more picky about the books I get.   Though I am reading more too.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 10:09:57 AM
When I went to review them, the really bad ones were no longer there.   Not the author or the books.
So this tells me that some people are pulling their books because they are making no money.    I am not talking just one or two but about 50 so far or about 1% of the kindle books I own.
What this means I have no idea but I found it interesting.
That is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 28, 2014, 10:15:30 AM
The independent market share keeps increasing. That is because people are buying more independent books. They have been buying more independent books at the same time the conditions and attitudes identified by Wendig and others have persisted.

Consumers are deciding for themselves, and the number who like independent books is sufficient to capture more and more of the market. Consumers have figured out how to deal with the market.

We don't have to reason to what consumers will do. We can just watch what they do.
 
Ain't this a great country?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: P.T. Michelle on January 28, 2014, 10:30:30 AM
I recently had a conversation with a guy who used to be with a small press publisher. So when I talked about how much I'm enjoying self-publishing, he made the comment about gatekeepers. I told him I understood his concern, ie that books will just be uploaded to the online stores without thought to craft, etc, then I said, "Here's the thing...I understand and care about craft. Even though I've been writing for ten years, every new book I write I learn something new about myself as a writer and my skills continue to morph and improve. I have several published authors read my work, and they all find different things to fix and smooth over from world building to continuity to pacing to characterization. I work on all those things for several rounds of edits before a book ever gets published. In the end, the readers become the gatekeepers. They will let me know if my books resonate by buying the next book...or not."
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 10:35:17 AM
That statement is a bit disingenuous, isn't it? Weren't you a professional copywriter?

My point is, you've had writing education, either through a formal education system or on the job. And my guess is that in your marketing position, you do a lot of writing as well.  :)


I haven't been a copywriter.  I haven't had a writing class since I was a sophomore at Pitt more than 30 years ago. I'm a numbers cruncher at work and write almost nothing in my sales duties. But I think I've got a good story going with my current WIP. It ain't Wool, but I think there will be some people who will think they got their money's worth. Who should I go to for clearance to publish? Who's gonna judge if my book is worthy? I wanna meet them and talk shop.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 10:49:58 AM
I haven't been a copywriter.  I haven't had a writing class since I was a sophomore at Pitt more than 30 years ago. I'm a numbers cruncher at work and write almost nothing in my sales duties. But I think I've got a good story going with my current WIP. It ain't Wool, but I think there will be some people who will think they got their money's worth. Who should I go to for clearance to publish? Who's gonna judge if my book is worthy? I wanna meet them and talk shop.

I never said you should get clearance from anyone. I completely support everyone's ability to publish whatever they want. But those that give no thought to plot or characterization or grammar shouldn't EXPECT that people will love their work.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: EC Sheedy on January 28, 2014, 10:54:41 AM
...Last month I decided I was going to review all the books I am now reading.   I started with my tablet which is mostly shorter stories.   I got them at Amazon.   When I went to review them, the really bad ones were no longer there.   Not the author or the books.
So this tells me that some people are pulling their books because they are making no money.    I am not talking just one or two but about 50 so far or about 1% of the kindle books I own.
What this means I have no idea but I found it interesting.


This is interesting! Thanks, Cindy.

As to Chuck, I've read his blog off and on for years. Lots of great writing stuff there. I think he supports writers overall--especially those who work on their craft. I don't think he meant we should all be peering over each other's shoulders and vetting the ms before a writer clicks publish. I read it as a rallying call for self-publishing writers to strive to get better and better and...  I'm good with that.  Obviously, we all read into Chuck's words what we wanted to read. Me? I'd give the post 4 stars.  :D

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 11:18:47 AM
I never said you should get clearance from anyone. I completely support everyone's ability to publish whatever they want. But those that give no thought to plot or characterization or grammar shouldn't EXPECT that people will love their work.

Of course not, but that not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the artist in you that has spent over a decade studying the craft who cringes at "I can't afford an editor" "I don't let anyone else read my work" "I've never taken a class or read a book on technique" "Readers are my betas" "I don't think grammar matters" etc.
as though everyone has to be able to afford an editor (see Elle Casey), as though everyone has to let someone see their work before they publish (what if they're a recluse with social anxiety?), as though everyone has to have taken a class or read a book on technique. That's a form of gatekeeping. If their stuff is that bad, they will have spent hours and hours on a book that will COST them money to publish. People like that either get better or give up.

Sure, we'd all love for there to be some set of learning for everyone who publishes to have achieved, but there is no way to come up with one, there is no way to enforce it, so we may as well embrace the system that's out there. Let everyone hit the streets running whenever they're comfortable doing so. And anyone who claims that indie authors are out there saying that it's okay to say "I don't think grammar matters" hasn't read the threads on here, on AW, on critique circle, or Scribophile, etc..We all chant the same mantra. We give newbies the warnings. Go through any newbie thread here. But once someone makes the decision to publish, that's their choice. There's nothing left for us to say. So why come down on indies for cheerleading? It's not like we're silent on these things.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 28, 2014, 11:19:21 AM
Chuck,

Everything you said in your follow-up post about readers not making good gatekeepers is addressed by the various vendors (Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sonyreader...). They want to keep their customers happy, so they allow returns. They show 10% of books as free samples. They allow Customers to post reviews.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 11:35:48 AM
Chuck,

Everything you said in your follow-up post about readers not making good gatekeepers is addressed by the various vendors (Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sonyreader...). They want to keep their customers happy, so they allow returns. They show 10% of books as free samples. They allow Customers to post reviews.



Yeah, money should play no part of this discussion.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg on January 28, 2014, 11:37:48 AM
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.

So, the point of the post was "put your best foot forward"? Then I guess what everyone is saying here is that, WE ARE. And we encourage others to do the same. If that's true - and it is, which anyone who spends time here will know - what's wrong with ALSO being positive and encouraging? And who is harmed when someone hones their craft as they self-publish, each time still working to put their best out there?

Is it the reader? The reader is smart and can avoid a dud. There are resources (by readers, for readers) to help them do this. That's the reality of the market right now. There's nothing to argue here.

Other self-publishers? That's not happening. It's just not. If some readers refuse to read self-published books, they are far outnumbered by the readers who will give anything a shot, and whose needs are being met by self-publishers in a way they are neglected by trad-pub (I'm thinking niche genres, lovers of serial/short fiction, etc).

When Chuck says, "Be more self-critical," my response is, do you think we don't know that?

Writing is hard. We wouldn't do it if we didn't love it, didn't care about writing good books that entertain, that connect with readers. It's not an endeavor that you take on half-a**ed. And MOST of us who look at self-pub as a career path are self-critical. I guess that's what bugs me most about Chuck's post: the assumption that self-publishers don't care enough -- about their work or their readers. There are people who work very hard, and who aren't terribly great writers, but who care very much about their stories and are very self-critical. Who's to say they shouldn't find their readers, or at least have a shot at it?

The writers who treat self-pub the way he implies (not putting their best efforts forward) don't make it. They just don't.

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.

Well, yeah. But the point of my post stands: I'm not going to go to a gun enthusiast forum, argue/defend my belief that people should buy less guns, and then call the place unwelcoming. By and large, KB is a civilized place that encourages lively debate. But telling people they need to better police themselves is pretty patronizing, so I'm not surprised by the response this thread has received.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RichardWolanski on January 28, 2014, 11:43:52 AM
I 100% agree with this ^^^

Doing what I love to the best of my ability, striving to get better as I go, flipping birdies to anyone who tells me I can't do what I love doing.  :P

Love this.

I liked that insight into a reader's brain cinisajoy.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: heidi_g on January 28, 2014, 11:48:49 AM

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.



I was quite the avid reader from the time that I learned how to read. My consumption of fiction books persisted through high school. It was't uncommon for me to read a book a night, when I had the chance. When I got to college, that had to be set aside. I just didn't have time. I tried to pick up fiction after college graduation.  Most of the books bored me to tears, and basically I just stopped reading fiction for, gosh a good 15 or 20 years. (yes, I'm that old, lol.) However, as one thing led to another … mostly falling in love with Peter Jackson's interpretation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy… I was like, OMG, I need to start reading again! So I started the quest to find good books that I really enjoyed. This was before ereaders came out, etc. and my quest had a pretty jerky and unsatisfying start. My most common inner response to the fiction books I picked up were, "How did this get published?" You know, it would be like a total snooze fest. ANYWAY … along the way we moved cross country. I didn't think I had very many books, because I'm a book recycler. However, a gazillion boxes later, I trotted down to B&N (I was a loyal customer!) and decided to check out one of those Nook thingies. I got one and started downloading some books. They had free books on Friday and I began to discover self-published authors. Then I started going to Amazon and checking the reviews, because, of course, they had more. Then I discovered Amazon didn't just have more reviews, they had more self-published authors. And these were the books I was really enjoying reading. Not every single one, but the percentage was higher than for traditionally published books. Because the original Nook I got was pricey, and I'd also invested in an awesome leather cover, I waited to get a Kindle. You know. But I did get a Kindle, now I have two. Now I read a mix of indie and traditionally published books. Grammar and punctuation and other things, if they're imperfect don't kill me as a reader. That being said, I can't think of a traditionally published book that I've read that doesn't have a single typo, but anyway… and every single cover from a traditionally published book hasn't amazed me or necessarily intrigued me … so ...

Traditionally published books stopped me from reading fiction for over a decade.
Independently published books returned me to a passion that I had as a child.

Yes, some people will be turned off of by what they perceive and what actually are the flaws of independently published books, just like I was turned off by what I perceived were the flaws and were actually the flaws of traditionally published books. I think that's just life. I mean that's the thing. Our culture's at a point that we want to over-control everyone and make decisions for everyone. I personally think the world would be a better place if we were more curious ;)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 28, 2014, 12:02:20 PM
I was quite the avid reader from the time that I learned how to read. My consumption of fiction books persisted through high school. It was't uncommon for me to read a book a night, when I had the chance. When I got to college, that had to be set aside. I just didn't have time. I tried to pick up fiction after college graduation.  Most of the books bored me to tears, and basically I just stopped reading fiction for, gosh a good 15 or 20 years. (yes, I'm that old, lol.) However, as one thing led to another … mostly falling in love with Peter Jackson's interpretation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy… I was like, OMG, I need to start reading again! So I started the quest to find good books that I really enjoyed.

Heidi,

The exact same thing happened to me! Except that I never bought a Nook, thank God, LOL!



GMSharka,

Yes, each of us does benefit from doing the best job we possibly can as we publish. Absolutely. I support anyone who posits that position.

But policing indies in general? That is the vendors' decision, what they want to allow us to sell to their customers. Amazon and Apple are not stupid. If they think we're losing them money, then they will police us. We don't need to worry about that. We do need to worry about Barnes and Noble (and Kobo), but there are plenty of threads about that already.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 12:05:57 PM
Yeah, money should play no part of this discussion.

Um... what?

We're talking about PUBLISHING.  Money is pretty much by definition a part of that discussion.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: heidi_g on January 28, 2014, 12:09:22 PM

"You have permission to suck.

For free.

Free, there, is key.

Because the moment you go somewhere — Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, wherever — and you start charging money, that changes the equation. By a strict reading, that’s no longer Hobbytown, Jake. You’ve entered pro grade territory. You’re asking readers to take a chance on your work for one buck, three bucks, five bucks, etc. You’re not hosting a party. You’re running a lemonade stand.

So stop  p*ss ing in the lemonade and asking people to give you cash to drink it." Quoted from Mr. Wendig's follow-up blog post.

Haha! who wants to move this along to the permafree debate, lol. Sorry! Couldn't resist :P
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 12:09:30 PM
But policing indies in general?

Again, who is talking about policing anybody?

Why does it keep coming back to this point, despite constant statements from me (and Chuck, and others) that nobody is saying that?    
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 12:11:46 PM
Um... what?

We're talking about PUBLISHING.  Money is pretty much by definition a part of that discussion.


Not if the customer can get his money back with the push of a button if he thinks the writing sucks.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 12:13:12 PM
I really don't want to get in the middle of this thread, but it just seems amazing to me that people think the customer is the "gatekeeper" of basic quality.  If we're talking about subject matter, sure.  Some people love books that offend other people, for example, and it's a great thing if they can get what interests them.  But if we're talking about baseline structure, grammar, and generic quality assessments, what other business has no quality control whatsoever before the customer gets the product?

If you walked into a supermarket, and some of the food was magnificent and fresh and some of it was putrid and rotten, would you leave with a good impression of that establishment?  Would you rate it solely on the quality of the best of its products?  If you carelessly bought some of the rotten products, can you honestly say it wouldn't affect your opinion of the store, whether they let you return it or not?  Would you have a good reaction to a manager telling you that you had the option to look at everything and choose what to buy?  Readers are customers too, and they should be treated as such.  They deserve to be treated as such.

It's a great, noble sentiment to assume that everyone will put in the effort to make sure their books meet a minimal base level of basic quality, but it's just not true.

I'll say this to be honest, knowing full well it will send a lot of people to the barn for pitchforks, but I've bought a bunch of self-published books, and some are excellent...but others have an amateurish and poor quality.  My general subconscious reaction is to be more careful buying a self-pubbed book, simply because I have bought quite a few that I feel are below professional standards.  Yes, I've read others that were great...and lots of trad published books that I didn't end up liking much.  I'll say flat out that the best of self-pubbed books are every bit as good as the best of trad pubbed books...possibly even better since there is more freedom on subject matter.  But it is equally true that the worst of self-pubbed books are worse than the worst of trad pubbed.  

I have many reviews on my own books that say something like, "very clean for a self-published book."  That is NOT good for this industry.

I'm not suggesting anything specific, but this whole area is a huge blindspot among people in self-publishing.  When a group gets to the point where it can't examine its shortfalls as well as its successes, that is a danger sign.  When the first impulse when hearing someone discussing potential problems within an industry is a mob attack that brings the site's moderator on here 3 or 4 times to scold people, that does not bode well for the future.  

We are all getting a chance to watch publishers misunderstand change and ignore their own weaknesses.  There seems to be an urge to attempt to copy those mistakes on the part of self-publishers.

Merely suggesting that poor quality self-pubbed books can tarnish the entire industry is not an attack on anyone, and certainly not on those who make an effort to produce good work. Beating up on someone for suggesting that this could hurt the industry long term (whether that proves to be right or not) is not productive in any way.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 12:13:41 PM
Again, who is talking about policing anybody?

Why does it keep coming back to this point, despite constant statements from me (and Chuck, and others) that nobody is saying that?    

But that's the whole point of the original post. Indies are cheerleading and need to stop and give the bad writers an earful so we're not all embarrassed, right?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: cinisajoy on January 28, 2014, 12:20:52 PM
For the record, I own more than one ereader.

Acknowledging Jay's post.   I have found it runs about 50/50 if you just pick up by genre and blurb whether the book is good or not strictly on grammar/spelling etc.
Now I have seen some self-pubbed books that make me cringe and I don't finish.   Others I have actually told the author exactly what I thought of their book.  (They asked for my opinion).   
Some books had a great story or could be a great story with some editing.
Others have left me wondering why didn't you do your research?  (both fic and non-fic)

But as far as content goes, how does one person decide for others rather 50 shades of Gray is good or bad?   That should be up to the reader.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 12:44:04 PM
I really don't want to get in the middle of this thread, but it just seems amazing to me that people think the customer is the "gatekeeper" of basic quality.  If we're talking about subject matter, sure.  Some people love books that offend other people, for example, and it's a great thing if they can get what interests them.  But if we're talking about baseline structure, grammar, and generic quality assessments, what other business has no quality control whatsoever before the customer gets the product?

If you walked into a supermarket, and some of the food was magnificent and fresh and some of it was putrid and rotten, would you leave with a good impression of that establishment?  Would you rate it solely on the quality of the best of its products?  If you carelessly bought some of the rotten products, can you honestly say it wouldn't affect your opinion of the store, whether they let you return it or not?  Would you have a good reaction to a manager telling you that you had the option to look at everything and choose what to buy?  Readers are customers too, and they should be treated as such.  They deserve to be treated as such.

It's a great, noble sentiment to assume that everyone will put in the effort to make sure their books meet a minimal base level of basic quality, but it's just not true.

I'll say this to be honest, knowing full well it will send a lot of people to the barn for pitchforks, but I've bought a bunch of self-published books, and some are excellent...but others have an amateurish and poor quality.  My general subconscious reaction is to be more careful buying a self-pubbed book, simply because I have bought quite a few that I feel are below professional standards.  Yes, I've read others that were great...and lots of trad published books that I didn't end up liking much.  I'll say flat out that the best of self-pubbed books are every bit as good as the best of trad pubbed books...possibly even better since there is more freedom on subject matter.  But it is equally true that the worst of self-pubbed books are worse than the worst of trad pubbed.  

I have many reviews on my own books that say something like, "very clean for a self-published book."  That is NOT good for this industry.

I'm not suggesting anything specific, but this whole area is a huge blindspot among people in self-publishing.  When a group gets to the point where it can't examine its shortfalls as well as its successes, that is a danger sign.  When the first impulse when hearing someone discussing potential problems within an industry is a mob attack that brings the site's moderator on here 3 or 4 times to scold people, that does not bode well for the future.  

We are all getting a chance to watch publishers misunderstand change and ignore their own weaknesses.  There seems to be an urge to attempt to copy those mistakes on the part of self-publishers.

Merely suggesting that poor quality self-pubbed books can tarnish the entire industry is not an attack on anyone, and certainly not on those who make an effort to produce good work. Beating up on someone for suggesting that this could hurt the industry long term (whether that proves to be right or not) is not productive in any way.



But I haven't read ANY posts on ANY  writer site, particularly this one where a single author siad there aren't poor self-published books out there. There's no burying the head in the sand here. And if someone posts a "why am I failing?" Thread, almost invariably, not just the cover and blurb quality is addressed,  but the style as well. So why flame indies? Hell, we're more than happy to give suggestions on how to improve. Usually, the OP throws his hands up to stem the tide of critical advice. As a group, we are all about improving the quality, so the "just a bunch of cheerleaders" accusation is wrong. Now had the post been directed at the individual indie author who decides quality doesn't matter, nobody here would've even linked the thing. It's the big umbrella that gets the thing linked. It's the accusation that we indies as a community aren't doing enough. Well, I say this as much as we can do. We give honest critique when asked. We give constant reminders that we all need to be working toward improving. And we provide encouragement when someone thinks they're ready.  NOT providing encouragement once someone has made the jump is counterproductive.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 01:46:35 PM
But I haven't read ANY posts on ANY  writer site, particularly this one where a single author siad there aren't poor self-published books out there. There's no burying the head in the sand here. And if someone posts a "why am I failing?" Thread, almost invariably, not just the cover and blurb quality is addressed,  but the style as well. So why flame indies? Hell, we're more than happy to give suggestions on how to improve. Usually, the OP throws his hands up to stem the tide of critical advice. As a group, we are all about improving the quality, so the "just a bunch of cheerleaders" accusation is wrong. Now had the post been directed at the individual indie author who decides quality doesn't matter, nobody here would've even linked the thing. It's the big umbrella that gets the thing linked. It's the accusation that we indies as a community aren't doing enough. Well, I say this as much as we can do. We give honest critique when asked. We give constant reminders that we all need to be working toward improving. And we provide encouragement when someone thinks they're ready.  NOT providing encouragement once someone has made the jump is counterproductive.

I didn't say no one ever discussed that some indie books need work, but invariably, any suggestion that poor quality works actually affect the market in any way is treated to, at best, outright dismissal and, more likely, a good self-righteous pummeling.

It seem to be self-evident to me that a market is affected by everything in that market. I've seen repeated posts to the effect that poor quality stuff slips so far down no one ever sees it. I'd be more inclined to believe it if I hadn't bought so much stuff myself that was amateurish and poorly written. Certainly, as I stated before, there is a lot of very good stuff as well, but the topic of how poor books affect the market is a serious, credible, and legitimate topic. It's just not one most people want to face. Better to shout down anyone who fails to follow the orthodoxy.

The blog post that started this is not particularly incendiary. I certainly understand agreeing or disagreeing with it, but the fact that it has become a pummeling that has repeatedly brought the moderators here is, to me, a sad indication if where things are going.

The self-publishing industry is certainly catching the conventional publishers in terms of arrogant self-righteousness. Not a source of enormous pride in my book.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 01:51:24 PM
I have many reviews on my own books that say something like, "very clean for a self-published book."  That is NOT good for this industry.

Amen.

It really does seem as though not a lot of people here are familiar with the concept of the Tragedy of the Commons.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 01:55:29 PM
But I haven't read ANY posts on ANY  writer site, particularly this one where a single author siad there aren't poor self-published books out there. There's no burying the head in the sand here.

No, it's even worse.    You've got people in this thread whose response to a general call for increased quality is, and I'm quoting directly here:  "I celebrate mediocrity. I celebrate half-assing things. I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it"

...and a large percentage of folks here don't seem to see that as a problem, which, frankly, is astounding.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 01:59:39 PM
I didn't say no one ever discussed that some indie books need work, but invariably, any suggestion that poor quality works actually affect the market in any way is treated to, at best, outright dismissal and, more likely, a good self-righteous pummeling.

It seem to be self-evident to me that a market is affected by everything in that market. I've seen repeated posts to the effect that poor quality stuff slips so far down no one ever sees it. I'd be more inclined to believe it if I hadn't bought so much stuff myself that was amateurish and poorly written. Certainly, as I stated before, there is a lot of very good stuff as well, but the topic of how poor books affect the market is a serious, credible, and legitimate topic. It's just not one most people want to face. Better to shout down anyone who fails to follow the orthodoxy.

The blog post that started this is not particularly incendiary. I certainly understand agreeing or disagreeing with it, but the fact that it has become a pummeling that has repeatedly brought the moderators here is, to me, a sad indication if where things are going.

The self-publishing industry is certainly catching the conventional publishers in terms of arrogant self-righteousness. Not a source of enormous pride in my book.

Clearly, everything put on the market affects the market. Bad books have an affect. They make readers cautious. Maybe they even make some turn away. So what? What are we supposed to do as an indie community? Start acting like gatekeepers? THAT'S the issue. Because, it obviously hasn't forced all the readers to stop reading self-published stuff. They're still reading it in droves. What are you guys lamenting, that some reader got turned off? Okay, I'll lament that as well. Where do we go from there. None of you are saying we should do anything about it. So, what's the next step? There is none. We keep calling fro everyone to put their best foot forward, and there will continue to be people who ignore that advice. That's not being arrogant, that's being realistic.

And as for the deleted posts, I plead the fifth. Anyway, I like to think of KB as "grizzled". One of the things you'll find here is strong-willed people. Hoooray.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 02:08:14 PM
I really don't want to get in the middle of this thread, but it just seems amazing to me that people think the customer is the "gatekeeper" of basic quality.  If we're talking about subject matter, sure.  Some people love books that offend other people, for example, and it's a great thing if they can get what interests them.  But if we're talking about baseline structure, grammar, and generic quality assessments, what other business has no quality control whatsoever before the customer gets the product?

If you walked into a supermarket, and some of the food was magnificent and fresh and some of it was putrid and rotten, would you leave with a good impression of that establishment?  Would you rate it solely on the quality of the best of its products?  If you carelessly bought some of the rotten products, can you honestly say it wouldn't affect your opinion of the store, whether they let you return it or not?  Would you have a good reaction to a manager telling you that you had the option to look at everything and choose what to buy?  Readers are customers too, and they should be treated as such.  They deserve to be treated as such.

It's a great, noble sentiment to assume that everyone will put in the effort to make sure their books meet a minimal base level of basic quality, but it's just not true.

I'll say this to be honest, knowing full well it will send a lot of people to the barn for pitchforks, but I've bought a bunch of self-published books, and some are excellent...but others have an amateurish and poor quality.  My general subconscious reaction is to be more careful buying a self-pubbed book, simply because I have bought quite a few that I feel are below professional standards.  Yes, I've read others that were great...and lots of trad published books that I didn't end up liking much.  I'll say flat out that the best of self-pubbed books are every bit as good as the best of trad pubbed books...possibly even better since there is more freedom on subject matter.  But it is equally true that the worst of self-pubbed books are worse than the worst of trad pubbed.  

I have many reviews on my own books that say something like, "very clean for a self-published book."  That is NOT good for this industry.

I'm not suggesting anything specific, but this whole area is a huge blindspot among people in self-publishing.  When a group gets to the point where it can't examine its shortfalls as well as its successes, that is a danger sign.  When the first impulse when hearing someone discussing potential problems within an industry is a mob attack that brings the site's moderator on here 3 or 4 times to scold people, that does not bode well for the future.  

We are all getting a chance to watch publishers misunderstand change and ignore their own weaknesses.  There seems to be an urge to attempt to copy those mistakes on the part of self-publishers.

Merely suggesting that poor quality self-pubbed books can tarnish the entire industry is not an attack on anyone, and certainly not on those who make an effort to produce good work. Beating up on someone for suggesting that this could hurt the industry long term (whether that proves to be right or not) is not productive in any way.



These are excellent points.  

The thing is, whether it's fair or not, readers tend to grow wary of all self-published books once we have bought and tried to read a few that are substandard.

To use the grocery store analogy, it doesn't matter if we can return bad food for a full refund if we have already spoiled a meal and upset our stomach.

A book is an investment of time and thought on the reader's part as well as the author's.  If that is not respected, if substandard books are excused away because readers can return them for full refunds, then readers will go away in droves, because wasting our reading time on a poor-quality book and then having to return it is a nuisance.

Many readers need and seek accurate information about books before investing our time, money, and thought.  We have not got the wherewithall to test every book blind first, which is why we rely on reviews and recommendations.

Encouragement of striving authors is a good thing, but clear-eyed, honest judgement is essential, not just for the readers' sakes but ultimately for the authors as well.

There needs to be a commitment to quality, not excuses for a lack of it.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 02:20:14 PM
Minimum standards - this isn't good enough and you should be ashamed. Don't publish.

There's a difference between "don't publish" and "don't publish YET."    There should be no shame in "isn't good enough" -- especially if it's coupled with "here's what it needs to be good enough."


He described a self-publishing culture that doesn't exist.

Except, demonstrably, right here on Kboards -- hell, you don't even have to leave this thread to show that.


 
I still have not seen anyone say they don't care about readers. Where are these people?

Right here.  They're the ones who don't understand "putting out amateurish stuff is OK, because readers can get their money back with the click of a button" is absolutely not caring about readers.

 
If someone wants to write "The cat is very fat" twenty thousand times and film themselves doing it and then publish that few-thousand hours of boring typing to Youtube and publish that book to Amazon with a black and white cover and comic sans and charge $0.99 for it then go right ahead. There is no harm to anyone there.

Again, please familiarize yourself with the Tragedy of the Commons.  It does harm to the entire self-publishing category.  It results in a continuation of the perception of self-published work as Amateur Hour.  We fought for self-publishing to be viewed as something other than vanity press scams -- why can't we also fight against the quality stigma as well?   
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 02:23:18 PM
There needs to be a commitment to quality, not excuses for a lack of it.

...and perhaps not taking it as a personal affront and making emotional knee-jerk attacks on those who call for such commitment.    

That'd be nice, too.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 28, 2014, 02:26:13 PM

The thing is, whether it's fair or not, readers tend to grow wary of all self-published books once we have bought and tried to read a few that are substandard.


No, "readers" don't. A few of them may. People also watch a lot of substandard movies. It doesn't harm the good ones. I think there is a lot of confirmation bias here.

A few readers may complain and threaten never to read a book by an indie author again. So what? They're welcome to buy overpriced trade pubbed books… and take their chances all the same. I just hope they'll keep their word.

You don't seem to respect readers very much, because ultimately you, and Chuck, think that they need to be protected from shoddy writers/publishers. And as always the problem is who is going to decide the standards and who is going to enforce them. Good luck with that.

Lucky for us most readers are far more intelligent (and better organized) than you and Chuck seem to think.

So there are bad books. Well, there always were. Doesn't seem to have kept people from reading a good story.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 02:35:49 PM
No, "readers" don't. A few of them may. People also watch a lot of substandard movies. It doesn't harm the good ones. I think there is a lot of confirmation bias here.

A few readers may complain and threaten never to read a book by an indie author again. So what? They're welcome to buy overpriced trade pubbed books… and take their chances all the same. I just hope they'll keep their word.

You don't seem to respect readers very much, because ultimately you, and Chuck, think that they need to be protected from shoddy writers/publishers. And as always the problem is who is going to decide the standards and who is going to enforce them. Good luck with that.

Lucky for us most readers are far more intelligent (and better organized) than you and Chuck seem to think.

So there are bad books. Well, there always were. Doesn't seem to have kept people from reading a good story.



I am a reader.

I don't expect us to be protected from substandard books, but I appreciate an early warning system in the form of reviews, word-of-mouth, etc.

We are, in fact, organized, with many review sites, personal recommendations, etc.  It's better than the headache of testing the waters with each single book all by our lonesome.

I have many friends who read and enjoy self-published works.  I have others who will not touch them after having been burned numerous times.  We readers talk to each other about what to read and what to avoid.

If a community has shown itself to be fairly reliable and honest in its efforts to communicate what is worthwhile to read, we readers pay heed.

If it is tolerant or even encouraging of those who try to sell us substandard goods, we pay heed to that too.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 28, 2014, 02:42:17 PM
If a community has shown itself to be fairly reliable and honest in its efforts to communicate what is worthwhile to read, we readers pay heed.
If it is tolerant or even encouraging of those who try to sell us substandard goods, we pay heed to that too.

Good.

I see no problem at all, except that there is no such thing as a community encompassing all independent writers. The word independent being crucial.

Readers are smart enough to determine whether a book offers value for money. Which is also a factor that should be discussed when the word substandard is loosely used.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jackz4000 on January 28, 2014, 02:45:01 PM
By that logic if I go to an Italian restaurant and the food is lousy do I then think that ALL Italian Restaurants are lousy? Or should I think that only the big chains like the Olive Garden are good?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 02:47:01 PM
But if we're talking about baseline structure, grammar, and generic quality assessments, what other business has no quality control whatsoever before the customer gets the product?

"But all they are all there scraping along to sneeze out a likelihood that will solve and salve life's robulous rebus."

Unreadable crap, or work of genius?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 02:52:25 PM
No, "readers" don't. A few of them may. People also watch a lot of substandard movies. It doesn't harm the good ones. I think there is a lot of confirmation bias here.

A few readers may complain and threaten never to read a book by an indie author again. So what? They're welcome to buy overpriced trade pubbed books… and take their chances all the same. I just hope they'll keep their word.

You don't seem to respect readers very much, because ultimately you, and Chuck, think that they need to be protected from shoddy writers/publishers. And as always the problem is who is going to decide the standards and who is going to enforce them. Good luck with that.

Lucky for us most readers are far more intelligent (and better organized) than you and Chuck seem to think.

So there are bad books. Well, there always were. Doesn't seem to have kept people from reading a good story.



I am not trying to be argumentative, but putting the word "readers" in quotes doesn't mean they don't care when they buy something and it turns out to be of poor quality.  Readers are customers, the same as any other kind.  Most of those readers have lives that don't include hours spent trolling self-publishing sites, educating themselves at great length as to the differences between well-produced and edited self-pubs and poorly done ones.  They just read a couple, get disgusted, and become a harder sell for the next one.

Also, snapping back slightly veiled obnoxious remarks (as in implying that I ANYWHERE suggested readers are not "intelligent" or "organized") is utterly without factual value.  I credit readers a lot more than you seem to.  I credit them enough to assume that when they feel they got burned it affects their future attitudes and buying decisions.  I'd submit the people with no respect for readers are those who expect them to be perpetually willing to dig through offerings of highly variable quality to find the good ones.

Your movie analogy is flawed.  By their very nature, movies always have a barrier to entry...at the very least considerable cost relative to book publishing.  The issue isn't so much "gatekeepers" as zero barrier to entry.  If it cost $500 or $1,000 to offer a self-pubbed book, it would discourage those not willing to make a minimal effort at quality.  If any such thing was suggested, this board would erupt into the storming of the Bastille, but the point is still valid.  With NO barrier to entry and NO cost at all, you will have lower quality.  In any endeavor.

FYI, when I say quality, I am not talking about topics and genres and material some people consider offensive, nor do I mean stories I don't think are good.  I myself have bought self-pubbed books that used the language so badly I could hardly read them.  Of course that's not every self-pubbed book, but there is a considerable amount of that out there.  You presume a lot for readers (customers) to take it on themselves to weed these out.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: kurzon on January 28, 2014, 02:56:43 PM
-I went to an indie restaurant and the meal was sub-standard so I never went to an indie restaurant again.
-I went to an indie concert and the music was off-key so I never went to an indie concert again.
-I bought a painting from a street artist but the more I looked at it the less I liked it so I never bought a painting from a street artist again.
-I bought lemonade from the lemonade stand on the corner but it wasn't as sweet as I liked it so I never bought from a lemonade stand again.
-I read a webcomic by some person I'd never heard of but the art was bad so I never read a webcomic again.

There are some people who have read none/one/some/dozens/many self-published books and then declared that they will never read a self-published book.  And, well, okay.  That's them.  These people don't seem to go "I read three books published by Harper Collins and didn't like any so I will not read any more Harper Collins published books."  And sometimes it seems very much that some people read self-published books looking for proof that they're bad (basically holding them to a higher standard than a book they've picked up from trade).  Whatever.  Individuals read what they will.

As I said before, I try to make my own books the best I can according to what I want them to be.  But the idea that self-published writers are somehow responsible for the quality of other self-published writers and should be _discouraging them_ from publishing?  No thanks.  There are many books that people love and are glad to have read that I do not love or even actively dislike and think are badly written.  Who am I to take that those books away from those readers?  And who is anyone else to tell me that I should not publish because I use too many sentence fragments?  [I love me some sentence fragments.]

I will point out things that seem bad to me if I'm asked about them.  But I will not police or try to prevent a book being 'inflicted' on unsuspecting readers - particularly because I'm perfectly aware that there's every chance there's readers who want those books, and have at their command tools to choose carefully, or to return with full refund things that they turned out not to want.  I do dislike people who, for instance, are aware that their books have a typo or grammatical error every paragraph and still publish - but I'm also aware that those self-same people have readers who want that book, errors or not.  If people are going to refuse to buy my book because someone else published something with a typo in every paragraph, so be it.

As a side-note, of the examples listed above - one of my absolute favourite webcomics of the moment is by an artist/writer who is learning to draw.  The first couple of years of this webcomic, the art was quite bad.  It's improved a lot, but it is clear the artist is still very much still learning to draw.  But I really enjoy this webcomic.  I backed a kickstarter for this webcomic, to get myself a PDF of the badly drawn comic I had already read because I just like the d*mn thing.  If you look at the early archives of many a now well-drawn webcomic you'll see a badly drawn webcomic.  The artists learned to draw as they went, and gained a following with their bad drawings, and people GAVE THEM MONEY through the donation system that many new webcomics use to survive (or, these days, backed their kickstarter).

I'm sure as hell not going to tut-tut at these artists for inflicting their learning process on me.  I chose to read it.  I chose to pay money for it.  [If it was an ebook I'd be choosing not to return it, or I'd be buying the next in the series.]  I'm a reader and I can bloody well make up my own mind.  I don't need my choices taken away from me.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: jnfr on January 28, 2014, 02:58:39 PM
I'm late to this thread and while I've read with interest the various views, I don't intend to jump into it.

But I have been watching, on Twitter and elsewhere, potshots being taken at this board and some threads here. I never really understood it and I still don't.

So I wanted to say that I really love you all. Smart and funny and opinionated and contrary and everything else.

I'm nobody in particular but I've never felt anything but welcomed here, and everyone has gone out of their way to help when I needed it.

So, I hope the Cafe overall doesn't let the snark get under our (metaphorical) skin. This is a useful place with good people. Even the ones I never agree with  :D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 03:00:51 PM
The thing is, whether it's fair or not, readers tend to grow wary of all self-published books once we have bought and tried to read a few that are substandard.

As they say on Wikipedia, 'citation needed'.

Many people claim this, but I'm not aware of any evidence that it's true on any significant scale. Amazon recently said that we account for about 25% of ebook sales there, which wouldn't be happening if readers were somehow refusing to buy self-published books.

I don't buy books with bad covers, bad blurbs and boring or poorly-written openings, but if I get past those three, I certainly don't care who published it. Yes, most of the books that fail on one of those scores are self-published, but that doesn't mean I avoid self-published books. In fact, I don't remember ever buying a trade-published e-book.

Quote
There needs to be a commitment to quality, not excuses for a lack of it.

I believe you'll find that most people here aim to write the best books they can at the time they write them. We have no control over the books anyone else writes. We also have no control over the books trade publishers publish, and I've read some real stinkers there.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray on January 28, 2014, 03:01:56 PM
I still feel the need to apologize for posting the link.

It has certainly been eye-opening though. And my lesson, she is learned.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 03:02:10 PM
By that logic if I go to an Italian restaurant and the food is lousy do I then think that ALL Italian Restaurants are lousy?

If it's the only Italian Restaurant you've ever been to?   You might.   After all, how do you know whether it was "lousy" because you just don't like Italian food, when actually it's lousy because the chef couldn't be bothered to put out quality product?    What if the second Italian Restaurant you go to also was lousy?   Or the third?    Chances are, you're going to develop a negative opinion about Italian food in general, due to those experiences.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 03:05:14 PM
By that logic if I go to an Italian restaurant and the food is lousy do I then think that ALL Italian Restaurants are lousy? Or should I think that only the big chains like the Olive Garden are good?

It's more as if half the time you go into any independently-owned restaurant it's really terrible and the food isn't inspected for safety and there are thousands of them and most reviewers won't review them.

After a while you crave a little quality control.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: lynnfromthesouth on January 28, 2014, 03:08:00 PM
I believe you'll find that most people here aim to write the best books they can at the time they write them. We have no control over the books anyone else writes. We also have no control over the books trade publishers publish, and I've read some real stinkers there.

I've read most of this thread, and this is about all I get out of it. I can't see how we can make other people have good books, and I have yet to see someone suggest a way to do so beyond "Tell them to". Tell them to... how? How do you force other people to have some sort of subjective standard? Do you really think everyone is going to listen to you? I don't think most of us want Amazon or other distributors to turn into permanent gatekeepers. So what other solution is there?

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 03:11:24 PM
I don't need anyone deciding for me and I certainly oppose Chuck and anyone else who tries to scare people off putting their creative efforts out in the world.

I'm sorry, but if somebody is so weak-willed that being honest with them and saying they have things that could be improved "scares them off", then they haven't got the temperament to be doing creative work for money.  That's just pathetic.    We are not wilting hot-house flowers.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: SLGray on January 28, 2014, 03:15:17 PM

Please tell me your sad story ...

Last comment from me:

Did Betsy not ask that we try to cut down on the mockery and snark?

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 03:16:29 PM
-I went to an indie restaurant and the meal was sub-standard so I never went to an indie restaurant again.
-I went to an indie concert and the music was off-key so I never went to an indie concert again.
-I bought a painting from a street artist but the more I looked at it the less I liked it so I never bought a painting from a street artist again.
-I bought lemonade from the lemonade stand on the corner but it wasn't as sweet as I liked it so I never bought from a lemonade stand again.
-I read a webcomic by some person I'd never heard of but the art was bad so I never read a webcomic again.


This is a perfect example of what is wrong with this debate.  No one has posted anything particularly harsh on here with regard to censoring anything.  Yet there is the need to defend the rigid orthodoxy at all costs.

You are arguing the unfathomable assertion that customers do not react to the quality of goods they purchase.  

If by "indie restaurant," you mean restaurants that are not part of chains, then your premise is actually the reverse of longstanding market perception.  Non-chain restaurants are generally considered to be of higher quality than chain restaurants.  Such restaurants are not the new entrant into the market.  They are a longstanding, ingrained part of the market.

Your indie concert analogy implies that someone might buy ONE self-pubbed book, think it was bad, and never buy another.  But that is not at all what was discussed.  Clearly, we are talking about incremental effects on the market as au whole and the perception of it built over time.  If there was an indie venue, and someone went to five concerts with bands that clearly didn't know how to play their instruments, I'd wager a good percentage would develop a negative impression of the venue.

The painting analogy makes no sense.  We are talking about "quality" in a very basic and general context.  You would see the painting before buying it.  There is little about it that isn't immediately obvious, at least nothing comparable to reading a book and finding the English so bad it makes your head hurt.  You may decide you don't like it as much as you thought you did, but any basic quality issues would have been immediately apparent.  

Again, we're not talking about the lemonade not being as sweet as you like.  We're talking about the lemonade being so bad it makes you sick.  This discussion isn't about people deciding they didn't much enjoy a story.  It's about works that do not reach a minimal generic baseline of proper language.

Again, if you like comics, and read a bunch of very poorly executed webcomics, you might very well become prejudiced to comics published by an existing company.  The argument isn't that ONE bad book destroys the market...it's that too many of them begin to degrade the market.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 03:20:19 PM
Hitting the eject button.  You guys have fun.  You might want to take a look at Galileo.  I hear he's a heretic.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: sarahdalton on January 28, 2014, 03:21:42 PM
I'm late to this thread and while I've read with interest the various views, I don't intend to jump into it.

But I have been watching, on Twitter and elsewhere, potshots being taken at this board and some threads here. I never really understood it and I still don't.

So I wanted to say that I really love you all. Smart and funny and opinionated and contrary and everything else.

I'm nobody in particular but I've never felt anything but welcomed here, and everyone has gone out of their way to help when I needed it.

So, I hope the Cafe overall doesn't let the snark get under our (metaphorical) skin. This is a useful place with good people. Even the ones I never agree with  :D

Darn it you made me twitter search! I've now officially lost respect for a couple more writers!

This is getting silly now. Healthy debate is one thing, this is descending into something else altogether. I don't even... Sigh.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 03:21:57 PM
What Chuck and others are claiming is that "the market" should be cut down.

No, he's not. He's suggesting that authors should respect their consumers by only offering quality products for sale.

Personally, I could care less about the money lost on a poor book. I care about the time wasted. I have money. I don't have time.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: EC Sheedy on January 28, 2014, 03:22:19 PM
Last comment from me:

Did Betsy not ask that we try to cut down on the mockery and snark?



I'm going to start a new thread about improper comma usage. There's something that can really get your dander up!  (Not that I'm exactly sure what dander is...  ::) )
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 28, 2014, 03:23:14 PM
I am not trying to be argumentative, but putting the word "readers" in quotes doesn't mean they don't care when they buy something and it turns out to be of poor quality.

I put readers in quotes because you used the term to signify all readers or readers in general. I didn't think this was warranted and I wanted to emphasize that I don't think there is such an entity as "the" reader. Neither is there an entity as "the" indie author. In short, I thought you were generalizing.


I'd submit the people with no respect for readers are those who expect them to be perpetually willing to dig through offerings of highly variable quality to find the good ones.

I'd submit that weeding through the offerings is one of the attractions of self-pubbed books. Essentially readers have become the slushpile readers. I have read many (confirmation bias alert) postings on Amazon, when I still frequented the place, of readers enthusiastically rallying their posse around a diamond in the rough they'd dug up. We're the cheapest amusement park around.

I'd submit that any intelligent person will know other standards have to be applied to a 100k novel at 99 ¢ than to one at $25. It's called appreciating value for money. Bang for the buck.

I'd submit that readers have other options. One is, like I mentioned before, buying overpriced trade pubbed books. Of course I've spend a small fortune on perfectly edited dross, although I was told these were works of genius. This concept is known as caveat emptor.

I'd submit that if you don't care to take out five minutes to read a blurb and a few reviews, you will get what you asked for: potluck. Mind you, reading excerpts is only necessary if the two previous methods made you take an interest in the book. If not, you can skip that step and save yourself a lot of time.


FYI, when I say quality, I am not talking about topics and genres and material some people consider offensive, nor do I mean stories I don't think are good.  I myself have bought self-pubbed books that used the language so badly I could hardly read them.  Of course that's not every self-pubbed book, but there is a considerable amount of that out there.  You presume a lot for readers (customers) to take it on themselves to weed these out.

No, I don't. I expect them to be responsible customers. They usually are.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell on January 28, 2014, 03:24:16 PM
Oh please.

Self-published ebooks are not meals in restaurants nor chairs nor food in a supermarket.

If you walk into a market where anyone can attend you should expect that the products on display can and will range from worst thing possible to the best thing possible.

What Chuck and others are claiming is that "the market" should be cut down. There should be a big heavy... thing ... that stops people getting in. What should we call that big heavy barrier that stops people... a gate? Maybe a gate? Oh, but people could just climb over it so maybe we need someone standing guard.

I guess we'll call them a ... gatekeeper?

Please tell me your sad story of how you were personally affected by poor-quality art out in the world. Did you lose $0.99 cents? Or, if not you, tell me about someone you know. Tell me about how they spent $2.99, read two chapters of a terrible book and now have sworn to never read indie ever again.

Has this happened? Really?

Even if it has, who cares? That's one person's loss.

Here's a thought experiment. Reverse things. Someone reads a book put out by Random Penguin. It's...say...50 Shades of Purple Prose. They read two chapters and can't finish because it's so awful. That reader is going to never buy another book published by Random Penguin? Or never go into another bookstore or shop on Amazon because of that bad experience? I don't think so. Readers typically don't know or care who publishes the book. Now, they may remember the AUTHOR. But that's a different story.

The other thing people are totally missing here (including Mr. Wendig) is that the truly bad books are mostly invisible. Since no one is buying them, they aren't on any lists or also boughts. You really have to go out of your way to accidentally read an *objectively* crappy book. Now, subjectively crappy books are often right in your face for the reading, but there's no way around that, since one person's pleasure is another's poison.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: GMSkarka on January 28, 2014, 03:26:09 PM
If you walk into a market where anyone can attend you should expect that the products on display can and will range from worst thing possible to the best thing possible.

Nobody has denied that.    But even with that expectation, is it somehow therefore wrong to suggest that we should be doing what we can to increase the overall level of quality by offering honest critique and help for improvement (when asked), rather than rainbow-unicorn-self-esteem-land "you're awesome" encouragement?

What Chuck and others are claiming is that "the market" should be cut down. There should be a big heavy... thing ... that stops people getting in.

No, that's what YOU are claiming that Chuck and others (including me) are saying.  And, given that I'm the one saying it, I think I would know.   Your continued insistence doesn't make it true, and frankly, I wish you'd stop doing that.

Please tell me your sad story

Putting aside for a moment the absolutely egregiously obnoxious way you're coming at me here -- no, I don't think I'll tell you my sad story, because if you take a look at this entire thread, you'll see that when people HAVE shared "sad stories", as you've demanded here, they immediately get dismissed by somebody as "anecdotal" or "confirmation bias", etc.

So, bluntly, there's no making you folks happy.  If we have specifics, that's not good enough, and if we make generalizations, then specifics are demanded.

At some point, one comes to the realization that there's just no point in continuing.    Enjoy your mutual appreciation society.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: kurzon on January 28, 2014, 03:27:22 PM
This is a perfect example of what is wrong with this debate.  No one has posted anything particularly harsh on here with regard to censoring anything.  Yet there is the need to defend the rigid orthodoxy at all costs.

...

Again, if you like comics, and read a bunch of very poorly executed webcomics, you might very well become prejudiced to comics published by an existing company.  The argument isn't that ONE bad book destroys the market...it's that too many of them begin to degrade the market.

In my post there was absolutely no suggestion of censorship.

And I will presume that you didn't read the rest of my post, as I finished up pointing out that one of my favourite webcomics is a badly drawn one.

MY point is that people don't buy my books as "the next self-published author in an endless overwhelming stream of self-published authors".  They buy Andrea K Host books.  They'll buy my books if they're self-published.  If they're published by a small press.  If they're published by one of the Big 6-5-x.  Because they're buying MY BOOKS, not my method of publication.

And no matter how many self-publishers put out badly written work, those people will still buy my books, and tell other people about my books.  Just like if I find a webcomic, or a restaurant, or a band that I like, no matter if they're indie or part of a chain, I'll support that artistic endeavour because I like IT.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 03:28:11 PM
The other thing people are totally missing here (including Mr. Wendig) is that the truly bad books are mostly invisible. Since no one is buying them, they aren't on any lists or also boughts. You really have to go out of your way to accidentally read an *objectively* crappy book. Now, subjectively crappy books are often right in your face for the reading, but there's no way around that, since one person's pleasure is another's poison.

Bingo. The truly awful books are irrelevant, because no-one buys them, and they sink into the depths of the rankings where they're unlikely to be seen again except by those who go well-prepared on Amazon expeditions in search of them.

If there's a 'problem', it's with merely mediocre books, because readers might actually read some of those. But there are plenty of mediocre books from trade publishers, too.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 03:28:51 PM
No, it's even worse.    You've got people in this thread whose response to a general call for increased quality is, and I'm quoting directly here:  "I celebrate mediocrity. I celebrate half-assing things. I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it"

...and a large percentage of folks here don't seem to see that as a problem, which, frankly, is astounding.

Maybe we're all afraid to throw stones in glass houses. Maybe we're too timid to point out the problems in someone else's work (no comments here, Betsy, please  ;D ) You know, telling someone their stuff isn't very good unsolicited, opens one up to critique of their own work. You go right ahead and feel free to tell authors their stuff needs work.  
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: MaryMcDonald on January 28, 2014, 03:31:02 PM
I've skimmed the thread, and just want to comment on what I'm understanding the complaint is--that readers are being burned by buying terrible self-published books and that they'll quit buying self-published altogether because of that. Did I get it right? And someone wants to institute some kind of standards.

In response to the first part--I've been buying indie books for four years now, and I'm astonished that other readers are getting burned. Have readers decided not to check a book to see if it's any good before one-clicking? Just like I would never walk into a Barnes and Noble and grab the first book off the thriller table without a second glance, I wouldn't buy a book on Amazon without checking it out. First, the cover draws me in, then I read the blurb. This is really important. 90% of the books are excluded from my buying decision based on that alone. Not just bad blurbs, but if the story doesn't fit what I want to read, it doesn't matter how great the blurb is. I want to read what I want to read. So, once past that barrier, I do the look inside. I can usually tell within a few paragraphs if it's going to be okay. It's not always the writing either that makes me decide against purchasing. It could be the book is in first person and I prefer third, or in present tense. They may be fantastic books--just not what I prefer. If I'm lucky, the book passes my criteria. Grammar and punctuation don't even come into the equation because if the book has a boring voice, that right there is a warning sign. Free books get a modified version of this vetting.

As far as standards...um...I think the fear is, whose standards? Chuck Wendig's? Yours? Mine? I can tell you right now, if my self=published books have to jump through some kind of hoops, then I should be able to call for the traditional published to jump through hoops too--maybe hoops set up by indie publishing. I can tell you right now that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter would have tripped going through the hoop I'd set. Dumbest book ever and poorly written to boot. And yet, traditional publishing hyped it and made it a bestseller!  :o I want to check to see where the publishers keep their smoke and mirrors.


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Key on January 28, 2014, 03:42:54 PM
As far as standards...um...I think the fear is, whose standards? Chuck Wendig's? Yours? Mine? I can tell you right now, if my self=published books have to jump through some kind of hoops, then I should be able to call for the traditional published to jump through hoops too--maybe hoops set up by indie publishing. I can tell you right now that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter would have tripped going through the hoop I'd set. Dumbest book ever and poorly written to boot. And yet, traditional publishing hyped it and made it a bestseller!  :o I want to check to see where the publishers keep their smoke and mirrors.

That was very well put, Mary!! 

I think the people who were upset by Mr. Wendig's blog entries, and I was one of them, were upset by the judgmental tone.  The "here's somebody it's easy to pick on so let's mock them" tone.   I don't want bad books.  I don't want to read or publish them.  But when the "let's rally" tone and the mocking tone come into play about books, well, it sets my hackles up.  I once actually defended a book I hate to someone who was mocking it--a traditionally published book--so this is a bit of an issue for me.  :)

There's just something about an outsider looking down on people that rubs me the wrong way.  And there are already a lot of people judging writers.  It takes guts to publish, and that's fine.  But it doesn't take any guts to mock poorly written books that got published. 

Indie or traditional.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 28, 2014, 03:59:23 PM
Quote
Certainly, as I stated before, there is a lot of very good stuff as well, but the topic of how poor books affect the market is a serious, credible, and legitimate topic. It's just not one most people want to face. Better to shout down anyone who fails to follow the orthodoxy.

Im happy to face it. I look at the market and see independents taking a  larger and larger market share. I see this happening as people complain about quality, covers, blurbs, etc.

Quote
It really does seem as though not a lot of people here are familiar with the concept of the Tragedy of the Commons.

Im very familiar with it, and question if it even applies. However, the Tragedy of the Commons demands a tragedy. What is it? If we measure by revenue growth, unit sales, and prosperity, independents are doing better and better. If we presume consumers buy what they like, its reasonable to consider consumers are also better off.

The conditions people cite have been present for at least three years. Perhaps t isn't a Tragedy of the Commons? What is the common resource?

Quote
...and perhaps not taking it as a personal affront and making emotional knee-jerk attacks on those who call for such commitment.

I don't make knee jerk attacks. But I do reject the notion that I have any responsibility beyond my own books. That is a considered and deliberate decision.

Quote
The thing is, whether it's fair or not, readers tend to grow wary of all self-published books once we have bought and tried to read a few that are substandard.

Do we have any evidence this is happening?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg on January 28, 2014, 04:08:49 PM
Mary, you pretty much summed up the entire thread. What's troubling is that as the thread has grown increasingly hostile, Chuck/Chuck's friends have yet to acknowledge the idea that readers and other self-publishers are not being harmed in an actual, measurable way.

Instead, it seems that they have singled out a quote from one of Emily's early posts as evidence that we're all demented loons who just publish our word vomit on a regular basis and expect readers to pay for it!

There have been several reasoned responses like your own that have just gone ignored. Too bad :/

I understand what Chuck's point was. I hoped that he could understand that as a large self-publishing community, we aren't experiencing the problem he describes. That there is no need for a call to action - that most indies can and do self-police, and the ones who don't sink pretty fast in this competitive marketplace. And that the readers who are burned by a bad self published book (despite resources like reviews & goodreads) - and suddenly seek out only trad pubbed books - are so few as to be negligible. They are not our target market, and that's ok.

We have been saying for 9 pages now: based on experience, the end-problem Chuck is concerned about doesn't exist.

We can disagree all day long about whether someone should be allowed to publish their crappy book. In the end, everyone can do what they want. That's the world we are in right now. And speaking as a reader and "aspiring" writer, the benefits of this system far outweigh any "lasting harm" Chuck and his friends claim to have suffered from an open marketplace.

Anyway, I don't know what else there is to say. It's getting hot in here, so I'm out too! I expect this post will go ignored as well.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 04:09:37 PM
What I'm asking from you and also Chuck and anyone who agrees with you is this: prove to me the harm that you claim is happening.

I myself have bought bad books and refunded them. This is not the harm. I have also read bad blurbs and not bought. No harm. I have also seen bad covers and not bought. No harm. I have also *not* seen many millions of books because they are objectively and subjectively terrible and therefore are at the bottom of the pile.

There is no harm.

I bought a book about a month back that I abandoned halfway through. It fell flat, turned on itself, became stupid. It cost $0.99. I didn't click refund. Have I suffered some terrible harm here? I lost some time I guess and definitely lost $0.99.

Am I as a reader so precious that I must be protected at all costs from losing a bit of time and $0.99 cents? It is incredibly odd to me that I am free to engage in and spend my time on all manner of things that have varying degrees of quality and I can even engage in things that literally put my life at risk and yet I am able to do so but not with books. I can buy the worst meal of my life and smash that restaurant with a bad review but no one suggests that we have a restaurant gatekeeper who determines what restaurants can and cannot exist.

The culture of self-publishing is not rainbows and unicorns, you can do it! The culture is try your best. Do the best you can and then try again and do the best you can.

This is one of the main problems I have with Chuck's article. He describes a self-publishing culture that does not exist. I am yet to find a writer who says they don't care about readers. Chuck said that, remember. He wrote those words and I asked where this came from and no answer.

He wrote that selfpub culture is against big corporations while sucking up to Amazon. It's simply not.

He wrote that selfpub culture is that tradpub rips authors off. This is largely true but also with a caveat of "except when you as an indie are clever as hell and negotiate a good deal".

Chuck wrote quite a lot of hyperbolic statements about a "culture" that frankly does not exist. It doesn't exist here on kboards. It doesn't exist over on Absolute Write nor Reddit. I literally do not know where he is getting his assessment from and he can't tell me and neither can anyone else.

Me saying "I celebrate mediocrity" is not evidence of the culture he is claiming. It is evidence that artists iterate in public and will continue to do so and we don't need minimum standards or people trying to scare others away.

I want proof the culture he describes exists. Find me the author who says they don't care about readers.

This thread does more to prove the points Chuck made than anything he could have said.  The astonishing bias and mob mentality is extremely obvious to anyone not part of the mob.

You want proof, yet you offer absolutely none in your own condemnation of someone else's assertions.  

You ignore the common sense that negative experiences discourage repetition of the action that caused them.  A reader buys a self-pubbed book full of typos and errors, and he or she is less likely to buy another.  Not certain not to buy another, but statistically speaking, a bad experience does not increase someone's willingness to repeat the action.

You want an author who will say he/she doesn't care about readers?  Do you really expect a writer to say that?  Frankly, every post on here excusing or ridiculing the reader experience in buying a poor quality book suggests a lack of care.  

The fact that a "culture" exists is fairly well evidenced herein by the orthodoxy on display.  You repeatedly ask for rigid proof of any opinion differing from you own while offering none whatsoever to defend your own.  This, "I am assumed correct unless categorically proven wrong" attitude speaks for itself.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 04:10:23 PM
He's right. Instead of nurturing a mutually supportive community where we freely share information, we should become a scathing clique that attacks anyone who doesn't meet our standards. Kboards would be much better that way. It's our job to save literature from the infidels!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 04:13:09 PM
No, it's even worse.    You've got people in this thread whose response to a general call for increased quality is, and I'm quoting directly here:  "I celebrate mediocrity. I celebrate half-assing things. I celebrate someone writing a book that objectively is terrible and going through the steps to make a terrible cover and a terrible blurb and publishing it"

...and a large percentage of folks here don't seem to see that as a problem, which, frankly, is astounding.

p.s. Just to be clear, I celebrate it too, and I'll tell you why. Because I don't know what's going on in the life of the person who's writing the mediocre book. Maybe it's a mom with four kids who needs a couple extra bucks to pay the heating bill. She doesn't have time to go to the library and brush up on her "writing technique", she doesn't have the money for a new cover other than what she can create which is mediocre, no money for editing. Maybe she fails, but then maybe she makes a couple extra bucks, and who am I to say that some reader out there isn't touched about the semi-autobiographical book she produced and is selling that YOU would tell her to go back and edit and edit and edit until it's right. I don't know what will appeal to readers. I'm not enough of an expert to determine that. Nobody I know is. So, I applaud the author's right to sell the mediocre book.

Now, explain to me why I should side with you. Because it might cut into YOUR profits if someone reads the book and doesn't like it? Why chose YOUR profits over HER profits?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: DocAggie on January 28, 2014, 04:14:28 PM
Minimum standards.  To me, that screams difficult to define and tedious to enforce.  I can't imagine that Amazon, a company that squeezes its processes to wring every last dime of excess out of its operations, would ever spend the capital to screen indie published works.  If I were sitting in the driver's seat, I'd do what Amazon has - ensure the reader gets a good sample to judge the work by and be generous with the refund policy.  (I realize the refund policy causes issues on the writer side, but I'm talking Amazon's view here so don't curse me.)  Looking at reality, the idea of standards to be met before publishing is really a pipe dream.

The books I've bought by people who are regular contributors here have reflected writers who've put in the time and effort to put a competitive work out into the marketplace.  Many may feel unjustly painted with a broad brush by Chuck's posts, and I get that.
But the great irony here is that I imagine that those not making a conscientious choice to put out a quality product, don't read Wendig's blog or kboards.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: lynnfromthesouth on January 28, 2014, 04:15:18 PM
The fact that a "culture" exists is fairly well evidenced herein by the orthodoxy on display.  You repeatedly ask for rigid proof of any opinion differing from you own while offering none whatsoever to defend your own.  This, "I am assumed correct unless categorically proven wrong" attitude speaks for itself.

Though I don't agree with Emily's, or yours, or GMS' tone in this thread, nor the fact that you all are ignoring the reasoned posts on both sides and just keep arguing in circles with each other, there's very simple proof. Most of us in this thread have readers, even the ones saying there needs to be gatekeepers. Readers are finding us, buying our books, reading them, and leaving positive reviews. We are the proof.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell on January 28, 2014, 04:18:52 PM
...there's very simple proof. Most of us in this thread have readers, even the ones saying there needs to be gatekeepers. Readers are finding us, buying our books, reading them, and leaving positive reviews. We are the proof.

Beautiful. And so very true.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: EB on January 28, 2014, 04:24:35 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  :)

Well said.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: KenLozito on January 28, 2014, 04:27:10 PM
I agree with some of the things Chuck is saying and at the same time the whole thing feels like it’s one big sweeping statement.

“The culture will need to start asking tougher questions. If we’re going to admit that self-publishing is an equal choice, then it’s time to step up and act like it. It’s time to stop acting like the little brother trailing behind big sister. Time to be practical. And professional.”

I think Wendig is onto something and I’d be curious as to what the tougher questions are.

I believe that being self published is something to be celebrated. Say it loud and say it proud. The readers will decide whether the work I produce is mediocre or not.  If a writer keeps putting out low quality work then they will never survive. Like any other industry or role playing game, you will have characters of different levels and ability. The same holds true for Indie Publishing. The newbies (Like me) will find there way and hopefully make use of the tons of readily information available.

To me the reader is king. If a someone publishes a piece a work that is not ready then the reader or the world for that matter will have no issues with making their opinions known.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 04:30:14 PM
I want proof the culture he describes exists. Find me the author who says they don't care about readers.

In this very thread there are posts from authors who dismiss and casually bat aside the concerns of readers. 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 28, 2014, 04:35:18 PM
Quote
You ignore the common sense that negative experiences discourage repetition of the action that caused them.  A reader buys a self-pubbed book full of typos and errors, and he or she is less likely to buy another.  Not certain not to buy another, but statistically speaking, a bad experience does not increase someone's willingness to repeat the action.

The statistics point in the opposite direction. Independent sales are increasing. That is grounds to question the idea that readers who buy one bad book of a certain type will not buy another. Its an interesting theory, but we have a choice of believing Wendigs theory or our own lying eyes.

Common sense might tell us to look at the actual situation to see if it confirms the theory.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 04:41:03 PM
This discussion isn't about people deciding they didn't much enjoy a story.  It's about works that do not reach a minimal generic baseline of proper language.

“But Noodynaady's actual ingrate tootle is of come into the garner mauve and thy nice are stores of morning and buy me a bunch of iodines.”

That was written by one of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century, but his book would be banned by your 'minimal generic baseline of proper language'. A kid writing a book in txtspk would also be banned. The Iain Banks novel with the Glaswegian barbarian (can't remember which it is) would be banned.

Do you really think you should be telling James Joyce that his books are no good and can't be published?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: MatthewAlanThyer on January 28, 2014, 04:46:17 PM

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.

Bravo Hugh,

I've been reading and hearing a lot of opinions about what needs to happen in the Indie space to give Indie authors the same "credibility" as traditionally published authors. And I believe that Hugh has the gist of it, "nothing" is the answer. Michael Bunker (http://bit.ly/1bwGuOU) wrote a piece recently which is a worthy read on the topic.

Who among us wouldn't wish for him or herself instant success, a mountain of readers, a disgusting income after the first book? But if it were easy everyone, and I mean everyone, would already be doing it. Writing isn't easy. There is no secret method to attaining success, notoriety, or for that matter even readers. Do your best, write your best story (the one you want to read) and then do everything in your power to ensure that it is polished.

And then, when you're lucky enough to find something you like, something that has the polish that you put into your last publishing effort, you crow about it. Tell your friends, tell your readers, tell your Mom.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 04:46:59 PM
This thread does more to prove the points Chuck made than anything he could have said.  The astonishing bias and mob mentality is extremely obvious to anyone not part of the mob.

What you call a mob, I call an opposing side to your arguments. Besides, this is the best thread we've had in a while. Good debate.
You want proof, yet you offer absolutely none in your own condemnation of someone else's assertions.  

You ignore the common sense that negative experiences discourage repetition of the action that caused them.  A reader buys a self-pubbed book full of typos and errors, and he or she is less likely to buy another.  Not certain not to buy another, but statistically speaking, a bad experience does not increase someone's willingness to repeat the action.

That's not being ignored. It's conceded that there will be readers who don't like a book you consider sub-par and will be less likely to buy an indie book because of it. But there may also be readers who LIKE that very same book, and YOU want to deprive THOSE readers or reading, and to deprive the author of publishing it. Like I said in a post above, you don't know the circumstances of the author. It maybe be that the author will never have the finances to edit a book to your satisfaction. But maybe she can make a few bucks to pay the heating bill. What are you gonna do, shame her into not publishing her book until she can edit the thing properly? Convince me to convince her. Give me the words I should use.

You want an author who will say he/she doesn't care about readers?  Do you really expect a writer to say that?  Frankly, every post on here excusing or ridiculing the reader experience in buying a poor quality book suggests a lack of care.  

Really? You think those of us defending the right of the author to publish the book they think is ready don't care about readers? Does that mean you don't care about authors? Can't it be that we both care about readers and we both care about authors, but we disagree on whether or not it's our right to convince authors not to publish their work because it's inferior by our arbitrary standards?

The fact that a "culture" exists is fairly well evidenced herein by the orthodoxy on display.  You repeatedly ask for rigid proof of any opinion differing from you own while offering none whatsoever to defend your own.  This, "I am assumed correct unless categorically proven wrong" attitude speaks for itself.

Nope, this is an argument of logic and rights. I'll ask you, what right do you have to tell another author their work is inferior?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 04:47:18 PM

Do you really think you should be telling James Joyce that his books are no good and can't be published?


Our tour guide in Dublin, Joyce's home town, seemed to think so...just sayin'.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 04:54:47 PM
p.s. Just to be clear, I celebrate it too, and I'll tell you why. Because I don't know what's going on in the life of the person who's writing the mediocre book. Maybe it's a mom with four kids who needs a couple extra bucks to pay the heating bill. She doesn't have time to go to the library and brush up on her "writing technique", she doesn't have the money for a new cover other than what she can create which is mediocre, no money for editing. Maybe she fails, but then maybe she makes a couple extra bucks, and who am I to say that some reader out there isn't touched about the semi-autobiographical book she produced and is selling that YOU would tell her to go back and edit and edit and edit until it's right. I don't know what will appeal to readers. I'm not enough of an expert to determine that. Nobody I know is. So, I applaud the author's right to sell the mediocre book.

Now, explain to me why I should side with you. Because it might cut into YOUR profits if someone reads the book and doesn't like it? Why chose YOUR profits over HER profits?

Are you honestly saying that readers should endure substandard books because the authors' lives *might* be difficult?  As if that excused unprofessional behavior and foisting off bad art on people?

Are you honestly saying subpar books are satisfactory because you hypothesize there *might* be readers out there who enjoy reading them?

I cannot believe that you are actually claiming that authors who espouse professionalism are snatching bread from the mouths of a mythical poverty-stricken mother and her four mythical children.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: CEMartin2 on January 28, 2014, 04:55:08 PM
Ten pages? TEN pages? Somebody needs to put this thread out of its misery. I have a day job, people! How am I supposed to keep up with all, this?!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet on January 28, 2014, 04:56:50 PM
What Chuck and others are claiming is that "the market" should be cut down. There should be a big heavy... thing ... that stops people getting in. What should we call that big heavy barrier that stops people... a gate? Maybe a gate? Oh, but people could just climb over it so maybe we need someone standing guard.

I guess we'll call them a ... gatekeeper?

All I can do is continue to assume you simply didn't bother to read the article. Because nothing in that link called for gatekeepers. Nothing in that link called for stopping anyone from publishing anything they wanted. Nothing. At all. You're clearly on a tear and keep trying to prop up this straw man argument, but it was a logical fallacy the first time you posted it, and it's still a logical fallacy now.

"The community should hold itself to a higher standard" is in no conceivable universe the same thing as "Me and my friends should be in charge of coming to your house and smacking your hands away from the 'publish' button. Puny, pathetic author." How you can continue to so blatantly misrepresent the article and those that agree with its premise is frankly mind-boggling.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 04:57:35 PM
Our tour guide in Dublin, Joyce's home town, seemed to think so...just sayin'.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of people who would say the same. But think of all the fun the literary experts would have missed, arguing about whether it's an amazing book or a bad joke.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 05:01:24 PM
There you go, it's not difficult to read, it's creating work for literary critics. :D

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Edward M. Grant on January 28, 2014, 05:07:12 PM
"The community should hold itself to a higher standard" is in no conceivable universe the same thing as "Me and my friends should be in charge of coming to your house and smacking your hands away from the 'publish' button. Puny, pathetic author." How you can continue to so blatantly misrepresent the article and those that agree with its premise is frankly mind-boggling.

There is no 'community as a whole', there are just tens of thousands of writers. If there was, there would be no way for 'the community' to 'hold itself to a higher standard' without setting up gatekeepers to prevent people from publishing, or at least to prevent them from joining 'the community'.

Hands up all those here who deliberately publish bad books?

Nope, didn't think so.

Can I suggest that those who think bad books shouldn't be self-published write an email to Amazon? The only way Amazon will put 'higher standards' on self-published books is if a lot of readers complain. So you're just wasting your time posting here.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: MaryMcDonald on January 28, 2014, 05:09:32 PM
One of Chuck's quotes:

"The attitude that pervades self-publishing is that it’s a good place to test your craft, to hone your work. We are reminded constantly that the cream floats to the top, that all the crappy self-publishing efforts have no effect on anything or anybody ever despite evidence to the contrary."

Somehow all that people are taking from his article is "we should try harder". That's all he was saying!

But he wasn't. Right there he said the magic word: evidence.

Somehow, Chuck managed to gather evidence and that evidence told a story. It told a story of writers who don't care about readers. It told a story about some great hidden harm.

I'm asking to see it. I want Chuck to point me to the evidence that he gathered to cause him to write such assertions about self-publishing culture.

He said this: The culture says, “Just click publish!”

Where does it say that? Does anyone here agree that this is the culture?

Why are people summarizing his article as "we have to try harder" when in fact it is an attack on some false "culture" of selfpublishing that simply doesn't exist?

This is what I mean by strawman. He constructed one in describing a culture that simply doesn't exist and then argued against it. And now writing over and again "do your best" somehow becomes "don't do your best because it doesn't really matter".

Do you write legal fiction? Because if you don't, you totally should! I'd buy it. I almost wanted to ask if I could approach the bench.  ;D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 28, 2014, 05:13:53 PM
Trying to win on the Internet is like trying to win in a marriage.
You think you won ("Ha! I was RIGHT! She bows before my superior logic! Hahahahaha . . whoops."), but you lost. At least so most husbands would tell you.
Why am I still reading? Whyyyyyyyy?
Stopping. Right. Now.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Lefty on January 28, 2014, 05:14:52 PM
Ten pages? TEN pages? Somebody needs to put this thread out of its misery. I have a day job, people! How am I supposed to keep up with all, this?!

Not to fear, CE, I'm here to save the day. CB Edwards: Thread Killer. Every thread I post in dies quickly. I'm Betsy's secret weapon for extinguishing threads. Betsy calls me her Fireman, but only in PMs, of course. This thread will die in 12 posts or less.

BTW, who is Chuck Wendig, and why should I care what he says?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 28, 2014, 05:15:56 PM
Not to fear, CE, I'm here to save the day. CB Edwards: Thread Killer. Every thread I post in dies quickly. I'm Betsy's secret weapon for extinguishing threads. Betsy calls me her Fireman, but only in PMs, of course. This thread will die in 12 posts or less.

BTW, who is Chuck Wendig, and why should I care what he says?
LOL, that's what *I* said! I figured I just wasn't in the know! Not one of the cool kids!
(All right, all right--I'm not in the know. I am a Geek Kid. Sigh.)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 05:16:42 PM
I just hope that if I spend a bunch of money on a new Gucci cover design I'll get to sit at the mean girls table.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 05:25:07 PM
Are you honestly saying that readers should endure substandard books because the authors' lives *might* be difficult?  
No, they shouldn't. Ever. Under any circumstances.

Self-publishing is not the Make a Wish Foundation. It does not exist to fulfill people's dreams or cover their bills in a pinch. It's a profession that should be treated as such if you're going to ask consumers to pay for your work.

Look everyone - here IS a reader who has continually pointed out that comments in this thread say to her that some writers don't care about readers. Is anyone going to listen to the READER? Or are you only going to continue to argue with other writers? Do you think she's the only one with this opinion in a sea of millions?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 28, 2014, 05:30:14 PM
Quote
Are you honestly saying that readers should endure substandard books because the authors' lives *might* be difficult?  As if that excused unprofessional behavior and foisting off bad art on people?

There is no reason for anyone to endure a book that does not measure up to their personal standards. Who care about the author? Drop the book.

Quote
"The community should hold itself to a higher standard" is in no conceivable universe the same thing as "Me and my friends should be in charge of coming to your house and smacking your hands away from the 'publish' button.

What community? Pushing the Amazon upload button does not make a community.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 05:37:05 PM
It's a profession that should be treated as such if you're going to ask consumers to pay for your work.

We should take this witch hunt over to Etsy and shame all the mediocre crafts people who dare charge for their mediocre work.




Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 05:38:31 PM
We should take this witch hunt over to Etsy and shame all the mediocre crafts people who dare charge for their mediocre work.

Oh, please...I do NOT want to read about KBoards in my quilting forums...  PLEASE.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 05:39:25 PM
Sorry...
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 28, 2014, 05:40:16 PM
Oh, please...I do NOT want to read about KBoards in my quilting forums...  PLEASE.

Betsy
See, I said I wasn't going to read, and I did, and I laughed!
(Don't ask to see my shoulder seams on my knitted sweaters. And I CALL MYSELF A KNITTER. Sheesh. But I don't charge!)

I know. This is a serious discussion. Ahem. Going away again now.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Fishbowl Helmet on January 28, 2014, 05:53:07 PM
I'm asking to see it. I want Chuck to point me to the evidence that he gathered to cause him to write such assertions about self-publishing culture.

He said this: The culture says, “Just click publish!”

Where does it say that? Does anyone here agree that this is the culture?

Why are people summarizing his article as "we have to try harder" when in fact it is an attack on some false "culture" of selfpublishing that simply doesn't exist?

This is what I mean by strawman. He constructed one in describing a culture that simply doesn't exist and then argued against it. And now writing over and again "do your best" somehow becomes "don't do your best because it doesn't really matter".

If Chuck didn't have evidence for this culture of not caring before, this thread certainly solved that problem. Well done.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 05:56:55 PM
Are you honestly saying that readers should endure substandard books because the authors' lives *might* be difficult?  As if that excused unprofessional behavior and foisting off bad art on people?

Who's foisting? The reader doesn't have his arm twisted. They're free to reject the book. And are you honestly saying that you or someone else has the right to say what standards should be met before a book is allowed to be put up for sale? I'm saying I don't know that author's condition, I don't know that author's abilities, but I do know the author's rights. The reader has rights, too. He has the right to buy the book or pass, and if he doesn't like the book he has the right to get his money back. That's not an inequitable setup.

Are you honestly saying subpar books are satisfactory because you hypothesize there *might* be readers out there who enjoy reading them?

Sure, just like you're hypothesizing that readers will come away from something that your utopian indie community considers poorly written like, oh, say, 50 Shades, and never buy another indie book again. Neither one of us knows whether the reader will like the book or not. And none of us is up to going through them to determine which one is "good" even if we could come up with some agreed upon standards, which we never will, so this whole argument is silly. I mean, really, how many of the people on this site have RIPPED 50 Shades? It's countless. By their standards, it's subpar. The readers made a different call. Yeah, they also make the call on a TON of books that get rejected. But they should have the right to make that call, not any of us.


I cannot believe that you are actually claiming that authors who espouse professionalism are snatching bread from the mouths of a mythical poverty-stricken mother and her four mythical children.

Never said that. Espouse away. I sure as hell do. Feel free to go through my posts and see how often. But I'm not going to castigate some author who puts out an "inferior" product. Know why? I may be wrong. The author thought it was good enough, again, who are YOU and who an I to say otherwise? What right grants us that? What right do we have to make the call for the reader and the author what's good or bad? None. Sure, every indie wishes every other indie's books were good enough to keep the readers reading indie books, but not so good that they make the author's own books look bad in comparison and therefore cost them sales. But it's ridiculous to try to sort it out. All we can do is tell people to write as well as they can get a professional cover if they can, get editing if they can. But if they can't? More power to them.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 05:58:39 PM
This comes with a whole lot of unspoken assumptions and conditions. He even writes that you must improve for free before you attempt to sell your work!

Chuck is absolutely talking about introducing a gatekeeper here. This is the essence of it: rules of how you must behave so you can enter the market. He is critiquing the "culture" of self-publishing and apparently people are taking from his post that we should all try harder when in fact he has literally said quite a few other things.

He has literally said that you must improve for free before attempting to sell your work. Contrary to every other field of human creative effort, in eBooks you must only give your work away for free until somehow you know it is now worth money.

On the contrary.  In almost every human endeavour you are not paid while a student.  You have to learn before your work is worth selling.

Plumbers who do not know how to fix sinks do not expect to be paid by people to learn on the job.  Nor do airline pilots or police officers or teachers.  They all pay to learn at academies and schools or are apprenticed, usually at low or no wages.  They are not paid for learning their crafts, except in good wages once they have mastered them.

I have no interest in paying a plumber who does not yet know how to fix plumbing to tackle my pipes
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:03:55 PM
No, they shouldn't. Ever. Under any circumstances.

Come on. You guys make it sound like we're chaining the reader to the desk and making them read the thing. There's free will at work here. Has anyone said readers should be forced to read these books? Nobody. I do however think they should have the option of reading them. They also have the option of rejecting them. And, again, whose standards will we use here. Yours? What are your standards? Typos? I find typos in all kinds of books. What else ya got?

Self-publishing is not the Make a Wish Foundation. It does not exist to fulfill people's dreams or cover their bills in a pinch. It's a profession that should be treated as such if you're going to ask consumers to pay for your work.

And by treating it as such, you're suggesting that there needs to be some criteria that has to be met. Who decides that criteria? Are we gonna gather some elders in the indie community and come up with some defined set of prerequisites that authors have to meet before they are allowed to publish? Sounds familiar.

Look everyone - here IS a reader who has continually pointed out that comments in this thread say to her that some writers don't care about readers. Is anyone going to listen to the READER? Or are you only going to continue to argue with other writers? Do you think she's the only one with this opinion in a sea of millions?


I'm a reader. See any books in my sig that I'm selling. Why are you arguing with me?  :D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 06:10:52 PM
And by treating it as such, you're suggesting that there needs to be some criteria that has to be met. Who decides that criteria?
Yes, there is criteria to be met if one wants to call themselves a professional. Education and experience in one's job is usually required to be competent at anything but the most basic of jobs. YOU decide that criteria, along with your support staff. Beta readers, other writers, editors, etc. should ALL be contributing to the determination of whether your product is ready for publication.

The bottom line is that the only person authors hurt by putting out subpar products is themselves. Readers will write them off and never buy from them again. I don't have a dog in this hunt. People's lack of professionalism doesn't effect my readership in the least. But if people expect to make a career out of something, then they should respect the job enough to do it well. Is that really such an awful thing?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:11:32 PM
On the contrary.  In almost every human endeavour you are not paid while a student.  You have to learn before your work is worth selling.

Plumbers who do not know how to fix sinks do not expect to be paid by people to learn on the job.  Nor do airline pilots or police officers or teachers.  They all pay to learn at academies and schools or are apprenticed, usually at low or no wages.  They are not paid for learning their crafts, except in good wages once they have mastered them.

I have no interest in paying a plumber who does not yet know how to fix plumbing to tackle my pipes

Sorry, this is not right.  Trade apprentices, certainly the ones I've known, are definitely paid while apprentices.  I was married, once upon a time, to a union carpenter, who was most certainly paid as an apprentice.  And a good thing, too, or we wouldn't have eaten.  Just sayin'. Edit:  Not your best analogy. ;)

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 06:11:58 PM
I have a degree in English and Creative Writing!!! Yippy, that means my work is worth selling and all those other losers' books aren't. Oh, wait. There are people who sell much better than I do who don't have English degrees. Darn...
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:15:03 PM
Plumbers who do not know how to fix sinks do not expect to be paid by people to learn on the job.  Nor do airline pilots or police officers or teachers.  They all pay to learn at academies and schools or are apprenticed, usually at low or no wages.  They are not paid for learning their crafts, except in good wages once they have mastered them.



And so the writers who are learning will earn low or no wages. Sounds like you're making the other argument here.

Lets' turn the tables, how would you feel if there were criteria put in place before an author could earn, and you didn't qualify?
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 06:17:17 PM
Who's foisting? The reader doesn't have his arm twisted. They're free to reject the book. And are you honestly saying that you or someone else has the right to say what standards should be met before a book is allowed to be put up for sale? I'm saying I don't know that author's condition, I don't know that author's abilities, but I do know the author's rights. The reader has rights, too. He has the right to buy the book or pass, and if he doesn't like the book he has the right to get his money back. That's not an inequitable setup.

Sure, just like you're hypothesizing that readers will come away from something that your utopian indie community considers poorly written like, oh, say, 50 Shades, and never buy another indie book again. Neither one of us knows whether the reader will like the book or not. And none of us is up to going through them to determine which one is "good" even if we could come up with some agreed upon standards, which we never will, so this whole argument is silly. I mean, really, how many of the people on this site have RIPPED 50 Shades? It's countless. By their standards, it's subpar. The readers made a different call. Yeah, they also make the call on a TON of books that get rejected. But they should have the right to make that call, not any of us.


Never said that. Espouse away. I sure as hell do. Feel free to go through my posts and see how often. But I'm not going to castigate some author who puts out an "inferior" product. Know why? I may be wrong. The author thought it was good enough, again, who are YOU and who an I to say otherwise? What right grants us that? What right do we have to make the call for the reader and the author what's good or bad? None. Sure, every indie wishes every other indie's books were good enough to keep the readers reading indie books, but not so good that they make the author's own books look bad in comparison and therefore cost them sales. But it's ridiculous to try to sort it out. All we can do is tell people to write as well as they can get a professional cover if they can, get editing if they can. But if they can't? More power to them.

I am a reader, as I have said.  It's right there in my signature.  I am not an author and I have nothing to sell here.  I interact amicably with this community, but I do not think of it as "mine," "utopian indie" or not.  I have said nothing about "Fifty Shades of Grey," nor have I expressed opinions on anyone else's discussions of it.

As a reader I expect professionalism in a book I pay money for.

You may say who am I to judge?

I am a reader.  I am one of the roughly 10% of the population (or so I gather) who bothers to read books into adulthood.  I am a member of the audience for books.

I buy and read a lot of books.  I own thousands, physical and ebooks.  And I do judge books by their professionalism.  Self-published or trade-published, I judge them by the same standards: good stories, well told, cleanly presented.

Like it or not, readers judge the books we read.  What's more, we talk to each other.  And if we notice that a paricular market is too headache-inducing to sift through and we have regretted too many purchases from there, we will drift away.  And that market will not see anyone around complaining because those readers will not be there to be heard.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 06:19:38 PM
Sorry, this is not right.  Trade apprentices, certainly the ones I've known, are definitely paid while apprentices.  I was married, once upon a time, to a union carpenter, who was most certainly paid as an apprentice.  And a good thing, too, or we wouldn't have eaten.  Just sayin'. Edit:  Not your best analogy. ;)

Betsy

Fair enough.  I am more used to apprenticeships in the arts community, which are paid very little.  If you would like to get an earful, go ask someone working summers at a high end art gallery or fashion house.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Key on January 28, 2014, 06:21:44 PM
*eats popcorn*
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 28, 2014, 06:25:29 PM
Self-publishing is not the Make a Wish Foundation. It does not exist to fulfill people's dreams or cover their bills in a pinch.

It exists for whatever purpose the publisher intends, and for whatever Amazon and similar sites allow through their TOS. One doesn't have to like it, but that's reality.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:26:26 PM
Yes, there is criteria to be met if one wants to call themselves a professional. Education and experience in one's job is usually required to be competent at anything but the most basic of jobs.

And sometimes there are naturals. What do you do with them? If you wonder why I'm fighting so hard here, it's because I don't have the education, and I don't have the experience. Yet I think I can write a good book. Now, somebody's gonna have to explain to me why I shouldn't publish this book until I have some courses under my belt.

YOU decide that criteria, along with your support staff. Beta readers, other writers, editors, etc. should ALL be contributing to the determination of whether your product is ready for publication.

How do you know your Beta readers know what they're talking about and aren't leading you astray? How do you know other authors aren't as clever as you or as ingenious as you and aren't leading you astray? You go with your gut. People go with their gut all the time, thinking their work is gonna sell, and it doesn't. That's inherent here. I will beg writers to be as good as they can be, but I'll never rip them for publishing something they thought was ready, that didn't turn out to be, because that could be me.

The bottom line is that the only person authors hurt by putting out subpar products is themselves. Readers will write them off and never buy from them again. I don't have a dog in this hunt. People's lack of professionalism doesn't effect my readership in the least. But if people expect to make a career out of something, then they should respect the job enough to do it well. Is that really such an awful thing?

A moment ago you were lamenting the poor reader who had to endure the atrocious writing, now you're saying the only person the author hurts is himself. Which is it? Everyone is affected. But we're talking about rights here. The right of the author to publish what he thinks will or MIGHT sell, because I really can't say with any degree of certainty that mine will sell a single copy. And the right of the reader to decide whether or not the thing is good enough to shell over the $.99
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 28, 2014, 06:27:57 PM
Minimum standards.  To me, that screams difficult to define and tedious to enforce.  I can't imagine that Amazon, a company that squeezes its processes to wring every last dime of excess out of its operations, would ever spend the capital to screen indie published works.  If I were sitting in the driver's seat, I'd do what Amazon has - ensure the reader gets a good sample to judge the work by and be generous with the refund policy.  (I realize the refund policy causes issues on the writer side, but I'm talking Amazon's view here so don't curse me.)  Looking at reality, the idea of standards to be met before publishing is really a pipe dream.

The books I've bought by people who are regular contributors here have reflected writers who've put in the time and effort to put a competitive work out into the marketplace.  Many may feel unjustly painted with a broad brush by Chuck's posts, and I get that.
But the great irony here is that I imagine that those not making a conscientious choice to put out a quality product, don't read Wendig's blog or kboards.



Hear, hear!


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: dianasg on January 28, 2014, 06:31:52 PM
Ok, is it just me, or is there like some kind of vortex that every post passes through, so that each side is not really arguing with the other side, but rather some alternate universe version of what was actually said?

MY HEAD, IT SPINS

Eta: 12 freaking pages. You're welcome!
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 06:34:27 PM
Sorry, this is not right.  Trade apprentices, certainly the ones I've known, are definitely paid while apprentices.  I was married, once upon a time, to a union carpenter, who was most certainly paid as an apprentice.  And a good thing, too, or we wouldn't have eaten.  Just sayin'. Edit:  Not your best analogy. ;)

Betsy

Well, apprentices work under journeymen who supervise and certify their work. So they get paid while they learn, but they don't practice by trial and error on people's houses. "Ooop! That one burned down. Better try harder next time!" It is a fair analogy.

The analogy brings out another point. People keep saying that readers can return books for a refund. True. But they can't get a refund on a book where the author got tripped up by the plot and ended the book abruptly. The quilt's a good comparison. You can look at a quilt and the stitching before you buy it. But you can't exactly read a book before you read a book.




Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 06:36:18 PM
Last time I looked, 99 cent books can't burn down houses.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jim Johnson on January 28, 2014, 06:36:31 PM
No, no, please...go on.

(http://weknowgifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/dear-eating-popcorn-gif.gif)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 28, 2014, 06:38:07 PM
I am a reader, as I have said.  It's right there in my signature.  I am not an author and I have nothing to sell here.  I interact amicably with this community, but I do not think of it as "mine," "utopian indie" or not.  I have said nothing about "Fifty Shades of Grey," nor have I expressed opinions on anyone else's discussions of it.

As a reader I expect professionalism in a book I pay money for.

Point is, reader's disagree. Look at 50 Shades and how many 1 star reviews the thing has because people think it's "unprofessional." They're in the THOUSANDS. What you may consider unprofessional, some other reader might consider the best book they ever read.
You may say who am I to judge?

I am a reader.  I am one of the roughly 10% of the population (or so I gather) who bothers to read books into adulthood.  I am a member of the audience for books.

I buy and read a lot of books.  I own thousands, physical and ebooks.  And I do judge books by their professionalism.  Self-published or trade-published, I judge them by the same standards: good stories, well told, cleanly presented.

Like it or not, readers judge the books we read.  What's more, we talk to each other.  And if we notice that a paricular market is too headache-inducing to sift through and we have regretted too many purchases from there, we will drift away.  And that market will not see anyone around complaining because those readers will not be there to be heard.

Yes, I LOVE that readers judge the books they read. The books WE read, because, right now, I'm just a reader too. I don't have any books for sale. And I have read thousands of books too. As a reader, I want the opportunity to decide for myself what book meets MY standards of professionalism, not yours, not the indie community's. I read the sample before I buy. If there's an issue I return the book. What more can I ask for, that all books meet my criteria for professionalism? No thanks.

Crap, gotta go for the night, the wife is calling. Awesome debate. Loved it.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Usedtoposthere on January 28, 2014, 06:39:25 PM
All right . . . The deer and the popcorn . . . I'm laughing again.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:40:17 PM
Popcorn eaters, eat your popcorn in silence...those posts do not help.

Betsy
(who actually IS eating popcorn...)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Suzan Butler on January 28, 2014, 06:40:41 PM
Ok, is it just me, or is there like some kind of vortex that every post passes through, so that each side is not really arguing with the other side, but rather some alternate universe version of what was actually said?

MY HEAD, IT SPINS

Eta: 12 freaking pages. You're welcome!
I'm not going to lie. I felt the spinning start around page 3, so I skipped to the end of the thread to see how it turned out.

I don't feel like I missed anything...  :P
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jana DeLeon on January 28, 2014, 06:41:22 PM
And sometimes there are naturals. What do you do with them?
Natural talent is a great thing, but it still doesn't mean someone can't be better. Nora Roberts is a natural-born storyteller, but she still has Betas, editors, etc.

Quote
How do you know your Beta readers know what they're talking about and aren't leading you astray? How do you know other authors aren't as clever as you or as ingenious as you and aren't leading you astray?

I can only answer for myself - I chose people who I trusted and whose work I respected. And I get more than one opinion. If one person says something I don't agree with, I might ignore it. If two people say the same thing, I take a much harder look at it.

Quote
I will beg writers to be as good as they can be, but I'll never rip them for publishing something they thought was ready, that didn't turn out to be, because that could be me.

I don't think we are as far apart in opinion as you might think. The perspective I come from is not only as a writer but as a teacher. I teach workshops and get questions all the time like "Why aren't my books selling?" Sometimes, I have to read no more than one page to know why. When I start asking about their knowledge of technique or how they organize their "team" I get a blank. Aside from prodigies, I simply don't think people can excel at anything without training. You can't improve if you don't have anyone telling you what is wrong. And since the vast majority of readers don't study craft, they will only know that they hated the book. They won't know that there's no conflict or characterization, or that the pacing is horrible. You need to get that kind of feedback from other authors.

Quote
A moment ago you were lamenting the poor reader who had to endure the atrocious writing, now you're saying the only person the author hurts is himself. Which is it?

You're absolutely right. Both are affected. My bad.  :D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 06:41:58 PM
All right . . . The deer and the popcorn . . . I'm laughing again.

Or...maybe they do help. ;)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 06:42:43 PM
All right . . . The deer and the popcorn . . . I'm laughing again.

I've procrastinated editing my scifi serial all day to read this thread. I think I'm a masochist with a motivation problem.  The fact is that it needs work, and it's more appealing to self flagellate than to do the work right now. Sigh... 
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 28, 2014, 06:46:25 PM
I've procrastinated editing my scifi serial all day to read this thread.

Okay, now this made me laugh, in no small part because I'm in the same boat (though fantasy novel instead of scifi serial).

But I like popcorn, too.  :)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jim Johnson on January 28, 2014, 06:46:52 PM
Popcorn eaters, eat your popcorn in silence...those posts do not help.

Betsy
(who actually IS eating popcorn...)

My apologies. It was either that one or the 'cats abandon thread' gif. I'll put the animated gifs away now and pop up some more Jiffy...Pop.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 28, 2014, 06:51:42 PM
Sorry, this is not right.  Trade apprentices, certainly the ones I've known, are definitely paid while apprentices.  I was married, once upon a time, to a union carpenter, who was most certainly paid as an apprentice.  And a good thing, too, or we wouldn't have eaten.  Just sayin'. Edit:  Not your best analogy. ;)

Betsy

Let me guess: he wasn't paid as much as a post-apprenticeship professional?

Which brings me to this question: are readers prepared to pay $6.99 instead of 99¢ for the same book, provided it is professionally edited? Because $6 is what you pay on average for the editing when you buy a trade pubbed book.

In other words: don't buy a Yugo at the price of a Yugo and expect the quality of a Merc or a Beamer.

And you know what is funny? Most indies on this forum do their best to deliver quality work rivaling that of trade publishers but at ridiculously low indie rates. Actually, that's why this forum thrives: indies supporting each other and motivating each other to do better and better still. It has even rubbed off on me. Phew.

And guess what? Readers have rewarded us for it. Indies have a growing market share.

The Wendig-complaint is a non-issue.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 06:56:51 PM
Chuck literally said there are writers out there who don't care about readers. He used quote marks and everything as though this was something he literally read or he read enough times in various forms that he can now sum it up.

This is his direct quote describing the culture and attitude of self-publishers:
“Publish your first effort — it’s okay that it has errors, as long as people buy it! Who cares about readers as long as I’m satisfying myself?”

He said that and chirp chirp go the crickets. People summarize his article as "try harder, guys!" and ignore this completely.

He literally wrote something down which you can read right now and hardly anyone bothers to say "um, source please?".


Yeah, someone really needs to evidence the inference that there are books on Amazon written (or perhaps the right word is scrapped or collated) by people who don't care about readers. Very controversial claim, that.





Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 28, 2014, 06:57:52 PM
[Self publishing] exists for whatever purpose the publisher intends, and for whatever Amazon and similar sites allow through their [terms of service]. One doesn't have to like it, but that's reality.





This really is the bottom line.

However, as others further up the thread have pointed out, it might take a few years for everyone to come to this realization and for debates like the one in this thread to die out.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 06:58:58 PM
Last time I looked, 99 cent books can't burn down houses.

May I infer that my time is yours to waste?

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Andrew Ashling on January 28, 2014, 07:03:59 PM
May I infer that my time is yours to waste?

You probably may not. ::) If you're an irresponsible consumer you waste your own time. All by yourself. Yep.

And be fair. Better your time is wasted at the exceptionally low rate of 99¢. Trade publishers are proffesionals. They waste more of your time and they ask $25 for the privilege. Your call, of course.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: bonbon foofoo on January 28, 2014, 07:07:46 PM
May I infer that my time is yours to waste?

You may in infer that no one's poor writing will burn your house down. I can tell if I don't won't to read a book within about two paragraphs. I download tons of free books from BookBub that bore me to tears. I don't read them. Am I complaining about my time? I'm a reader too. I read several books a week. I just dropped a book by a really well known, very professional indie who I gave a shot. It just wasn't my genre. It was well written, but I ended up abandoning it for something that was more my style. I also read A LOT of free books because I read so much. I only buy books from authors I already like. I think all readers have that option. That's why perma free works so well as an introductory marketing technique.

Edit: I want to note that I was somewhat emotionally scarred by the ending of one of the most famous books by one of our millionaire self pubbed regulars. Because I got to the ending of the book and didn't like it, does that mean he shouldn't be allowed to publish?

Anyway, I'm on to procrastination that feels less like self abuse- putting away the razor blades and keeping down my last meal.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 28, 2014, 07:10:07 PM
The analogy brings out another point. People keep saying that readers can return books for a refund. True. But they can't get a refund on a book where the author got tripped up by the plot and ended the book abruptly.





Sure they can.


Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 07:15:02 PM
And sometimes there are naturals. What do you do with them? If you wonder why I'm fighting so hard here, it's because I don't have the education, and I don't have the experience. Yet I think I can write a good book. Now, somebody's gonna have to explain to me why I shouldn't publish this book until I have some courses under my belt.

How do you know your Beta readers know what they're talking about and aren't leading you astray? How do you know other authors aren't as clever as you or as ingenious as you and aren't leading you astray? You go with your gut. People go with their gut all the time, thinking their work is gonna sell, and it doesn't. That's inherent here. I will beg writers to be as good as they can be, but I'll never rip them for publishing something they thought was ready, that didn't turn out to be, because that could be me.

A moment ago you were lamenting the poor reader who had to endure the atrocious writing, now you're saying the only person the author hurts is himself. Which is it? Everyone is affected. But we're talking about rights here. The right of the author to publish what he thinks will or MIGHT sell, because I really can't say with any degree of certainty that mine will sell a single copy. And the right of the reader to decide whether or not the thing is good enough to shell over the $.99

No one is saying you need to take courses.  I have bought books with dozens of typos, terrible grammar, and all kinds of terribly amateurish things like repeating the same word ten times in a paragraph.  No one is saying you need an English degree to be a good author, but there are a lot of books out there that are objectively below professional quality.  I've bought some of them.  This see no evil, hear no evil mentality, mindlessly arguing that every self-pubbed book is wonderful is beyond my understanding.  

If you want to be a professional, you need to adhere to the standards of professionalism.  Probably, many of the posters on this thread do, but defending those who do not is not helpful to the development of this industry.  Go hire someone who doesn't know what he's doing to fix your plumbing.  Go pay a mechanic who has no idea how to fix an engine work on your car.  Maybe the mechanic is working on learning but just wants to get paid while he's doing it.

Those who already sell well will be fine.  They have mailing lists and fanbases and hundreds of reviews.  This attitude is just going to make it more difficult for responsible new writers.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 07:17:26 PM
Well, apprentices work under journeymen who supervise and certify their work. So they get paid while they learn, but they don't practice by trial and error on people's houses. "Ooop! That one burned down. Better try harder next time!" It is a fair analogy.

The analogy brings out another point. People keep saying that readers can return books for a refund. True. But they can't get a refund on a book where the author got tripped up by the plot and ended the book abruptly. The quilt's a good comparison. You can look at a quilt and the stitching before you buy it. But you can't exactly read a book before you read a book.






Also, college students, medical students, many interns, and everyone trying to start a business or freelance profession.  Union carpenters may make money as apprentices, but a huge swath of those learning how to do something do not.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 07:20:49 PM
Chuck literally said there are writers out there who don't care about readers. He used quote marks and everything as though this was something he literally read or he read enough times in various forms that he can now sum it up.

This is his direct quote describing the culture and attitude of self-publishers:
“Publish your first effort — it’s okay that it has errors, as long as people buy it! Who cares about readers as long as I’m satisfying myself?”

He said that and chirp chirp go the crickets. People summarize his article as "try harder, guys!" and ignore this completely.

He literally wrote something down which you can read right now and hardly anyone bothers to say "um, source please?".


Are you actually stating that there are NO self-published authors who don't care about readers?  You seem to ridicule his statement, yet yours is painted with an awfully broad brush.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 07:42:29 PM
I am saying I want proof for his statements.

I am ridiculing his statement. I flat out say it's untrue. I have not seen anyone saying they don't care about readers. Have you? Where are these people? Do you have a forum link where they hang out?

Show me where they are.

The correct answer to an assertion of dubious quality is: source please. An explanation of how they formed that opinion. And the answer to that is a source and not: no, you prove that it's not true!

Show me proof every single self-published writer cares about readers.  Your statement is by far the more sweeping and inexplicable. 

You want to see writers that don't care about readers?  How about every one of them who uploads a book FULL of typos and appalling bad use of language?  Are you saying every self-pubbed book on Amazon is properly proofread? 

How about everyone on this thread attacking anyone who thinks writers deserve professional caliber books when they go on Amazon to shop?  How about the people on here attacking a reader because she said she wants the books she buys to be of professional quality?  How about the people on here who have defended publishing poor quality because they need the money they may get out of careless reader/buyers? 

How about writers who can't stomach any level of criticism directed that the industry? 

When I first came here, this board was full of enormously successful writers who were extremely forthcoming with advice.  I learned an enormous amount from all of that, and most of it was very demanding in terms of what being a professional entailed in terms of providing quality and conducting yourself as a serious writer.  I've noticed that a lot of those people rarely post anymore, and I understand why.  Thread after thread is the same thing.  Attacking or taking offense at some article or blog post that dares to suggest that indie authors might be able to conduct themselves better. 

Well, when the Committee for Public Safety is in charge it's time to emigrate.  Which is clearly what a lot of the most prolific and informative posters have already done.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 07:44:34 PM
Oh Andrew, first you give a lecture on being a savvy consumer.

You probably may not. ::) If you're an irresponsible consumer you waste your own time. All by yourself. Yep.

Then you tell me what my time is worth:

Quote
And be fair. Better your time is wasted at the exceptionally low rate of 99¢. Trade publishers are proffesionals. They waste more of your time and they ask $25 for the privilege. Your call, of course.

Neither is especially persuasive. You should be saying something like, “You’re right. It’s not fair that people publish half-baked pies. But I don’t publish half-baked pies. Have you read my _____?”

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 07:48:38 PM
This is ultimately why I referred to his post as low-effort linkbait.

When I read his list of descriptions of self-publishing culture I kept asking myself where is Chuck hanging out? Where is he getting this from? And so far I've asked him directly and been given no answer.

Not a single person has posted a link to a post showing authors saying "yeah, just write it and throw it up". Not a single blog post. Not a single discussion where people say just churn and go.

People keep arguing about what he meant while ignoring what he literally wrote.

So then I conclude that Chuck hasn't read these things. There are no posts saying that stuff. He is just writing it as though someone has said it so he has something to argue against.

I'm open to being proved wrong though. Should Chuck wish to supply the forums or blogs he hangs out that display the attitudes he describes then I'll happily eat my words. Somehow though, I doubt that list of sources will be coming through.

I guess you've never been to the warrior forums. I once read a thread about how you could take a public domain book, rephrase a little here and there, and re-publish it under your own name. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the schemes are downright hilarious because of the absolute disregard for anyone else. That's the reality outside KB--and sometimes inside.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 07:52:15 PM
Jay and Emily, you're arguing in circles.  Your points have been made.  Time to move on...or make a different point.

Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jay Allan on January 28, 2014, 07:56:31 PM
Jay and Emily, you're arguing in circles.  Your points have been made.  Time to move on...or make a different point.

Betsy

Fair enough, Betsy. 

This is a COLOSSAL waste of time anyway.  I'm gone.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 08:00:23 PM
I have been there. Chuck's not talking about public domain repurposing and the stain on the industry it is theoretically causing.

And if he's using Warrior Forums as his source then he needs to change his source.

It's like saying "Here are a few people who take drugs and run. Therefore the culture of running needs to change."

Actually, it's worse. It's more like "here are some made-up examples of negative behavior that I can't provide a single scrap of evidence for. Therefore the culture of X needs to change".

He drew and inference from behaviour and put it in the mouth of a personification of the excesses of the culture. Dramatic, perhaps, but it's not wholly unfair to infer from the products available on Amazon that some people thought exactly that when they published.  

If he made a mistake, it's probably in assuming that there's a culture there--in any but a theoretical sense.

ETA: Almost forgot. It's best not to raise that "linkbait" accusation, I think, because there's a bit of a glass houses blow-back. It's not like some people don't squeeze the whole go-indie/we're all snowflakes shtick for all its worth. And that one's a lot easier to get away with too.

 

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Hugh Howey on January 28, 2014, 08:01:45 PM
No one ever has said this. Source please.

This is precisely what I'm talking about. Who is mindlessly saying that every self-pubbed book is wonderful? Not a single person, ever.

The culture I see is "welcome, work hard and do your best and you'll be fine". The culture I see has endless threads of people asking for help and getting it. The culture I see is writers doing their best, falling short, coming here for advice, doing better, falling short again, coming back for more help and then doing better once more.

The culture I see is one of relentless improvement. The state of self-published books today is lightyears ahead of where it used to be. Beautiful covers, perfect editing, brilliant marketing, great stories and all for the low price of $2.99.

You are arguing for minimum standards. Standards that ultimately cannot be agreed upon. And Chuck, ultimately, is arguing for the same thing. He's calling it guidelines now but they're just rules in softer garb.

Anyway, if you have a source on that people mindlessly arguing that every self-published book is wonderful I'd love to see it.


You are my hero.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Ty Johnston on January 28, 2014, 08:15:34 PM
Not a single person has posted a link to a post showing authors saying "yeah, just write it and throw it up". Not a single blog post. Not a single discussion where people say just churn and go.

Not exactly the same thing, but to play devil's advocate for a moment ...

"Writers are the worst judges of their own work, but alas, we all still have strong opinions of our work when finished. So when you write a story that sucks in your belief as a writer and you wouldn’t want anyone to see it under your main name, sell it under a pen name. This is becoming very easy in indie publishing. And has been a standard practice since the beginning of publishing. You might be surprised how well your bad story sells. Let the readers decide."

Guess who said that? It wasn't someone who started out as an indie.

Link: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: CDForness on January 28, 2014, 08:16:25 PM
I have been there. Chuck's not talking about public domain repurposing and the stain on the industry it is theoretically causing.

And if he's using Warrior Forums as his source then he needs to change his source.

It's like saying "Here are a few people who take drugs and run. Therefore the culture of running needs to change."

Actually, it's worse. It's more like "here are some made-up examples of negative behavior that I can't provide a single scrap of evidence for. Therefore the culture of X needs to change".

Can't just throw out the Warrior Forum. It is proof that there are authors out there who don't care about readers. No they don't push Public domain like they used to but in the past thirty days u could have bought several Warrior Special Offers for bundled plots in several genres, learned how to write a best seller in a weekend, and used public domain a la pride and prejudice and insert a few monsters in for a "best seller that amazon loves!"  Oh and all of them come with resources that teach u how to outsource the writing. There's even a recent WSO that teaches you how to rewrite the pre-written plots sold there because Warriors were lazily publishing the prewritten plots without changing any details. There are at least a hundred different money making Kindle programs that have come out of that forum in the last two years and they wouldn't still be coming out if people weren't buying them.

Every time I get a POS half complete book, first thing I think of is Warrior Forum, or other lazy marketers who wanted in on the Kindle gravy train. I've been burned enough as a reader that I certainly think twice about downloading and as a newbie writer I am more than second guessing myself as well. I thought Chuck's blog post was terrific and inspiring but I'd already started putting money aside several months ago after Blake, Ward and others here stressed the importance of hiring pro cover artists and editors. So, please don't just ignore me and continue the circular arguments. You wanted data. It's there.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Terrence OBrien on January 28, 2014, 08:16:34 PM
Seems this is all about power. Each individual self-publisher has the power to produce whatever she choose, for whatever reason she chooses.

Others don't like how that power is being used. They don't like what is being produced, and they don't like the mindset of the producers. But they lack the power to do anything about it.

God Bless the free market, for it empowers us all.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: WHDean on January 28, 2014, 08:21:18 PM
Not exactly the same thing, but to play devil's advocate for a moment ...

"Writers are the worst judges of their own work, but alas, we all still have strong opinions of our work when finished. So when you write a story that sucks in your belief as a writer and you wouldn’t want anyone to see it under your main name, sell it under a pen name. This is becoming very easy in indie publishing. And has been a standard practice since the beginning of publishing. You might be surprised how well your bad story sells. Let the readers decide."

Guess who said that? It wasn't someone who started out as an indie.

Link: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849)

(Grin)

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Jim Johnson on January 28, 2014, 08:34:36 PM
Then I see people saying *this* thread is the proof, which is a little disingenuous. I feel like we're being told that as a group we're argumentative and then when people say "no, we're not!" they then say "aha! Told you! See!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

:)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: PatriceFitz on January 28, 2014, 08:47:52 PM
Finished my popcorn.  This movie is dragging on too long.

I don't agree with Chuck's position, but let's say we all did.  We on this thread said, "Yes, Chuck Wendig, you are correct.  Such a culture exists.  We've not been trying hard enough to make sure self-pubbed books look professional.  Let's fix it!"

What would such a fix consist of?  First of all, we don't have judges for what's professional, good enough, or demonstrates enough effort.  Secondly, how would we enforce it? 

'Night all!  Thanks for the entertainment.

[Watches the credits roll and wonders if there will be any funny outtakes.]   :P
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Alessandra Kelley on January 28, 2014, 08:48:37 PM
Then I see people saying *this* thread is the proof, which is a little disingenuous. I feel like we're being told that as a group we're argumentative and then when people say "no, we're not!" they then say "aha! Told you! See!"

No one is calling you "argumentative," individually or as a group.

You, specifically, said you had seen no examples of writers who don't care about readers and it was specifically pointed out that there are posts in this very thread expressing indifference as to whether readers get a readable, let alone professional, product when they buy a self-published book.

Unless there is some other meaning of "not caring for readers" which you intended, it seems to me that those posts express it.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 28, 2014, 08:59:01 PM
OK, folks, really...time to move on.  Agree to disagree on whether Chuck's point has been made or not. 

Edited...


Betsy
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell on January 28, 2014, 09:41:59 PM
Not exactly the same thing, but to play devil's advocate for a moment ...

"Writers are the worst judges of their own work, but alas, we all still have strong opinions of our work when finished. So when you write a story that sucks in your belief as a writer and you wouldn’t want anyone to see it under your main name, sell it under a pen name. This is becoming very easy in indie publishing. And has been a standard practice since the beginning of publishing. You might be surprised how well your bad story sells. Let the readers decide."

Guess who said that? It wasn't someone who started out as an indie.

Link: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7849)

You are misconstruing what he is saying. His whole point is that the story probably isn't as bad as the writer thinks because he/she is "the worst judges of their own work." He says flat out, "So when you write a story that sucks in your belief...sell it under a pen name." (Emphasis mine.) He's not talking about bad grammar and typos. He's talking about the common self-doubt among so many writers and their work. I'm a great example of this. I would never publish a thing if I let my own judgement be the beginning and the end of the equation. That's why I have a first reader to tell me if it really sucks, or if that's just me doubting myself again.
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: The world would be prettier with more zebra stripes in it. on January 29, 2014, 04:30:00 AM
Finished my popcorn.  This movie is dragging on too long.

I don't agree with Chuck's position, but let's say we all did.  We on this thread said, "Yes, Chuck Wendig, you are correct.  Such a culture exists.  We've not been trying hard enough to make sure self-pubbed books look professional.  Let's fix it!"

What would such a fix consist of?  First of all, we don't have judges for what's professional, good enough, or demonstrates enough effort.  Secondly, how would we enforce it? 

'Night all!  Thanks for the entertainment.

[Watches the credits roll and wonders if there will be any funny outtakes.]   :P
The judge is goodreads. We could enforce by having gr strike lightning among the author that has disappointed any readers there.

Omg, even Chuck failed that one.  :P

How much wood could a wendig Chuck if Chuck wendig could Chuck wood? I dunno but he caused some excitement around here. ;D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: vrabinec on January 29, 2014, 05:47:03 AM

I don't agree with Chuck's position, but let's say we all did.  We on this thread said, "Yes, Chuck Wendig, you are correct.  Such a culture exists.  We've not been trying hard enough to make sure self-pubbed books look professional.  Let's fix it!"

What would such a fix consist of?  First of all, we don't have judges for what's professional, good enough, or demonstrates enough effort.  Secondly, how would we enforce it? 



Okay, so I called Jazzy last night -- that's my nickname for Bezos, we go way back -- and, surprisingly, he thinks there should be minimum standards of professionalism. Here's what we came up with:

1. One typo allowed per every 3500 words.

2. One dangling participle allowed per story.

3. One homonym confusion allowed per 50,000 words.

4. No more dream sequences to open the chapter and fake out the reader. Jazzy was adamant about this one.

5. No more stories that open with the main character opening his/her eyes to the alarm. Jeff says he's tired of it.

6. All erotica stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

7. All romance stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

8. All rom coms will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

9. Requirements 6, 7, and 8 are waived for M/M. (Jazzy didn't want to get too restrictive.)

10. All stories will have a woman who undresses and warbles her boson....wait, I can't read Jazzy's handwriting, it's like chicken scratch on this napkin, oh, that should be "wiggles her bosom"

11. F/F stories will have two women who undress and wiggle their bosoms, standing face-to-face, making a slappy sound with their, uh, you know.

12. Sentence fragments are allowed. We went back and forth on this. At first, he didn't want to, but I said, "Jazzy, dude, you gotta let writers be writers." So he conceded. There will be a reasonable allotment of sentence fragments. Each book will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of myself and eight others.

13. Deus ex machine IS allowed. I repeat, deus ex machine IS allowed. Jazzy said something about King and The Stand making gobs of money, so it's in.

14. If a book has had 10 returns, it is automatically pulled off the site. Now, that's gonna make it tough on those books that sell a ton of copies, so be careful to write books that fall in the 9 return range at most. Jeff and I thought it was too important not to address.

All these rules will be enforced. If authors stray, Jazzy said he's gonna send drones. I don't know what that means, but I wouldn't want to find out, so toe the line, people.



Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Susan Kaye Quinn on January 29, 2014, 05:53:30 AM
Okay, so I called Jazzy last night -- that's my nickname for Bezos, we go way back -- and, surprisingly, he thinks there should be minimum standards of professionalism. Here's what we came up with:

1. One typo allowed per every 3500 words.

2. One dangling participle allowed per story.

3. One homonym confusion allowed per 50,000 words.

4. No more dream sequences to open the chapter and fake out the reader. Jazzy was adamant about this one.

5. No more stories that open with the main character opening his/her eyes to the alarm. Jeff says he's tired of it.

6. All erotica stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

7. All romance stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

8. All rom coms will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

9. Requirements 6, 7, and 8 are waived for M/M. (Jazzy didn't want to get too restrictive.)

10. All stories will have a woman who undresses and warbles her boson....wait, I can't read Jazzy's handwriting, it's like chicken scratch on this napkin, oh, that should be "wiggles her bosom"

11. F/F stories will have two women who undress and wiggle their bosoms, standing face-to-face, making a slappy sound with their, uh, you know.

12. Sentence fragments are allowed. We went back and forth on this. At first, he didn't want to, but I said, "Jazzy, dude, you gotta let writers be writers." So he conceded. There will be a reasonable allotment of sentence fragments. Each book will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of myself and eight others.

13. Deus ex machine IS allowed. I repeat, deus ex machine IS allowed. Jazzy said something about King and The Stand making gobs of money, so it's in.

14. If a book has had 10 returns, it is automatically pulled off the site. Now, that's gonna make it tough on those books that sell a ton of copies, so be careful to write books that fall in the 9 return range at most. Jeff and I thought it was too important not to address.

All these rules will be enforced. If authors stray, Jazzy said he's gonna send drones. I don't know what that means, but I wouldn't want to find out, so toe the line, people.





This wins the entire thread.  ;D
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: RobCornell on January 29, 2014, 07:44:43 AM
This wins the entire thread.  ;D

Agreed! All hail Jazzy Jeff Bezos.  :-*
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Key on January 29, 2014, 07:55:20 AM
I literally LOL'd.   :D ;D ;) ;)  8)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: JRTomlin on January 29, 2014, 09:23:20 AM
Okay, so I called Jazzy last night -- that's my nickname for Bezos, we go way back -- and, surprisingly, he thinks there should be minimum standards of professionalism. Here's what we came up with:

1. One typo allowed per every 3500 words.

2. One dangling participle allowed per story.

3. One homonym confusion allowed per 50,000 words.

4. No more dream sequences to open the chapter and fake out the reader. Jazzy was adamant about this one.

5. No more stories that open with the main character opening his/her eyes to the alarm. Jeff says he's tired of it.

6. All erotica stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

7. All romance stories will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

8. All rom coms will have a Czech named Fred who is more generously endowed than any other guy in the story, and who has flawless lovemaking technique.

9. Requirements 6, 7, and 8 are waived for M/M. (Jazzy didn't want to get too restrictive.)

10. All stories will have a woman who undresses and warbles her boson....wait, I can't read Jazzy's handwriting, it's like chicken scratch on this napkin, oh, that should be "wiggles her bosom"

11. F/F stories will have two women who undress and wiggle their bosoms, standing face-to-face, making a slappy sound with their, uh, you know.

12. Sentence fragments are allowed. We went back and forth on this. At first, he didn't want to, but I said, "Jazzy, dude, you gotta let writers be writers." So he conceded. There will be a reasonable allotment of sentence fragments. Each book will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of myself and eight others.

13. Deus ex machine IS allowed. I repeat, deus ex machine IS allowed. Jazzy said something about King and The Stand making gobs of money, so it's in.

14. If a book has had 10 returns, it is automatically pulled off the site. Now, that's gonna make it tough on those books that sell a ton of copies, so be careful to write books that fall in the 9 return range at most. Jeff and I thought it was too important not to address.

All these rules will be enforced. If authors stray, Jazzy said he's gonna send drones. I don't know what that means, but I wouldn't want to find out, so toe the line, people.




Thanks for clearing that up.

Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Cherise on January 29, 2014, 10:46:51 AM
(http://i714.photobucket.com/albums/ww148/loyal_elizabeth/train-wreck.gif)


Must. Stop. Watching.


(http://popculturegalaxy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/shatner2.png)
Title: Re: More Chuck Wendig: Self-publishing is not the minor leagues.
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on January 29, 2014, 10:51:38 AM
Folks, since no one is bringing any new thoughts to the thread, and it has devolved into silliness, I'm going to go ahead and lock the thread as having officially jumped the shark.

Betsy
KB Mod