Posted on 2013-Jun-19
Are Self-Publishers Really that Bad?
Yesterday marked the most vehement battle yet between the two schools of traditionally published and self-published authors. One article published yesterday at Good e-reader entitled "Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature" changed the way literature was perceived due to the writer’s perception based on his view of modern literature.
The blog starts with by criticizing several self-promotional tags #BuyMyBook, #iamfree, #GetMyBook, etc. Apparently, self-published authors are seen as spammers who merely use social media to “pump out a copious amount of horrible eBooks.”
Citing Bowker Market Research, he asserts a point that the sales of eBooks still owe to a few popular genres (i.e. science fiction, fantasy, romance, and humor) and many authors are following the footsteps of E. L. James or Cassandra Claire.
To reemphasize Andrew Franklin’s standpoint that disapproves the quality of self-published works. The “unutterable rubbish” claim is brought back to attention for a reason that it has become painstaking for readers to find a good quality book among the slush pile of “auto-generated books.”
Low prices and aggressive self-promotional strategies tend to hinder other “legitimate published authors” from being discovered in the market. Once readers are accustomed to pay less, they may not be likely to pay for a more expensive book. In his mind, he has more respect for hybrid authors who “self-publish for a little bit more control.” Self-publishing is essentially commercial viable at the cost of devaluing modern literature.
Excuse Me, What Are You Trying to Say?
Joanna Cabot of TeleRead captures the heat of the moment and summarizes what Good e-Reader has been discussing lately. Joanna neutrally focuses on what he is trying to say in regards to self-publishing. Promotional messages like ‘I don’t know you don’t read this genre’ can be flagged as spam due to the weak logic of the sender. If you know what I do not like, why would you send it to me?
Irrelevant messages can be replaced by targeted marketing campaigns instead. The claim that self-published books are ‘poorly edited and written books’ is overly generalized. Joanna describes her experience reading poorly edited books and eBooks alike, yet not all of them are unacceptable.
If Smashwords is the base launcher of ‘anything’, Joanna sees how readers are empowered to choose their favorite book. You, as a reader, can search for your most favorite book from the slush pile and find your own gem but you are not alone any longer. Basically, readers can access a wider variety of literature and they discover their voice to talk about the book they love and share what they learn with their peers.
The ‘devalue’ remark analyzes the raw cost of production between eBook and print books. Again, eBooks are known for their low-cost production. However, a good quality eBook is not that easy to make. To debunk the myth about auto conversion, I must add that manual eBook creation with a good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and the EPUB specification still counts to make sure that every picture is correctly inserted, ToC perfectly inked, images displayed to fit the screen, etc. Perhaps, it should also be noted that eBook customers generally pay less because they need instant access to their favorite products and catalogue. That reason alone is simple enough. Period.
The last point that most self-published authors do not contribute anything good to the literary world is simply confusing. Generalization up to this point has generated the doubt in ‘commercially published genre authors’. My question is if they self-publishers do not bring anything worthwhile in the industry, how come readers keep buying these books?
The Definition of Life
To pacify the war that started with a shower of heavy criticism against self-publishing in general, Mercy Pilkington breaks her silence.
She questions how many books might have been rejected to pave the way for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath to be nominated for an award by Penguin. Why should a company decide what readers should like or not have the right to read? Which books deserved to be thrown in the whirlpool of rejection or slush pile? What might have happened had self-publishing flourished like this?
When the decision was made by an executive which books should be released, the sad truth is readers were unable to see what the rejects were like? Fast forward to the millennium, self-published icons are distinctively mentioned here in the merit of what they have achieved in their unique expertise. These authors are skilled at connecting directly with the readers and they are very hard at work to keep all the promotional channels available for their fans. They exist and listen.
Instead of damaging the literary world, self-publishing indeed opens the floodgate of reading materials for readers to discover in each and every day. People can tell you all sorts of things what you need to do to lead a happy life. With more accessible books and eBooks from self-pubbers, your private time will never be the same again.
My personal experience reading a self-published eBook totally changed the way I perceive. Although I am a naturally born fast reader, the laziness to read print books prevents me from finishing the untouched catalogues hidden in the somber-looking bookshelves. When I was introduced to the first eReader, I had a mixed feeling of excitement and uncertainty whether technological gimmick would be too redundant to enlighten literary curiosity. Last week, I tapped more than a hundred times to gain significant reading progress (from 23% to 54% in approx. 5 hours) while monitoring repairmen fixing the awning roof at my home. Surely, there were moments of frown when I detected typos that further disrupted my passionate reading. Nevertheless, I reported the content error right away and continued to find out how I can relate myself to the author’s message in existential living and which parts of the book had touched my soul. My humble response is to simply appreciate and enjoy what life is all about. To answer my question about what literature really means, instead of exemplifying all the notable authors in the world, my teacher simply concluded, “Literature is life.” I seconded that from then on.
Label: Self-Publishingcomments powered by Disqus