Sunday, April 29, 2012
There are pros and cons to publishing one’s books independently. The pros are that you don’t have to submit your book and wait for someone to read the slush pile at a publisher and get back to you. You no longer have to go through a vanity press and pay thousands of dollars to publish your own book. Companies like Smashwords and CreateSpace will help you format your manuscript and allow you to upload it for little or no cash up front, and will even help you design your own cover art. If you can afford it, many of these companies (including CreateSpaced) even offer editing services.
The cons are that many authors cannot afford editing services. And not everyone who thinks they can write better than the author whose book they just read can write professionally. Some of these novices have talent that, with the help of a good editor could be honed and polished. Others, well… Others I wouldn’t even agree to review next door on Rochelle’s Reviews.
This is not to say that there aren’t some really good independently published books out there. I have colleagues who have published some of their books independently for various reasons, and I published my first book, Rock Bound through CreateSpace after it went through two e-book publishers. Inara Press was a start-up company that just didn’t make it. I parted amiably with the publisher and went to another company, Red Rose Publishing. Stay away from them. That’s a whole other blog.
The point is, a professional writer will work with a critique group, a beta reader, even his/her spouse to be sure the book s/he’s putting out is as polished as possible. The way to tell what you’re getting is to read the blurb and excerpt. If they’re messy and difficult to understand, the rest of the book will be, too. In the indie publishing world, the motto truly is “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) when reading an independently published author with whom you are not familiar. And, okay, shameless plug: check out the critics like me.