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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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I, too, am 100% on board with what he's saying.  Down with double-standards!
 

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Sorry but I think it's nonsense. If someone puts out an unedited novel with an amateurish cover, why would I think they would care about my opinion about it and wouldn't I be better served by thinking about my own work, instead of someone elses?

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

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Yeah, I'm not in lock step with everything there.

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

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

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

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that doesn't mean it's my job to s--- all over their dreams. There are plenty of people out there on the Internet who are already willing, quite gleefully, to stomp all over someone else for no real reason whatsoever.
That's one extreme. The other is saying, "Hey, good job buddy. Writing a book is a lot of work and I'm proud of you." Without addressing anything about the product other than its existence.

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

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Kathelm said:
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JRTomlin said:
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:

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.
 

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Kathelm said:
Everyone's better served if your criticism is, "Here's what I think worked well about your book. Here's what I think you should work on next time."
Which is exactly what I do when I'm asked to mentor a fellow writer, on the rare occasions when I have time to do so. My simple offering of a "congrats" to someone online who has recently self published their first work is kind of my own business, for one thing, and doesn't exactly give full acceptance or approval of the entire, massively broad culture that makes up indie writers, for another.
 

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SLGray said:
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.
 

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JRTomlin said:
Or maybe everyone is better served by leaving it up to the reader and getting on about their own business of doing their own work.

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

No.

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

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I've not always agreed with his blog posts before, but quite liked this one.

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

 
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Excellent blog post!

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

Yeah, go hard or go home!

Jolie  8)  
 
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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  :)
 

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You! Yeah, you! Quit publishing that [email protected] 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 . . .
 

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What is Mr Wendig asking for that isn't already being done? Criticism? Snark? Gentle advice? A prod in the right direction? That's already happening, on this forum and elsewhere. What more does he want?

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

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

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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

 
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JRTomlin said:
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 :)
 
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