Karen H had some interesting things to say on my post about pet peeves in the books we read. Her comments got me thinking and this post is the result of my thinking.
Karen says, “Laurie, this book you talk about sounds like an unedited, self-published ebook. Is that the case? I’ve really only been reading ebooks for a short time since I finally got a Kindle in March. Some of the stuff I’ve picked up for free at Amazon wasn’t worth any price…even free. I think some of these so-called authors think anybody can write a book, so because self-publishing makes it relatively easy to get a book before the masses, they whip something together without benefit of a critique partner, beta reader or editor.”
I’ve had similar experiences with self-published books. It so happens that the one that I was referring to in the post mentioned above wasn’t a self-published ebook. It was actually an audio book published by a traditional publisher. Still, it seems like the majority of the self-published books I’ve picked up have either been poorly written, such that I didn’t finish them at all, or they had a good story idea which could have been a lot better with some judicious editing. There have been a few exceptions…a few self-published books that have been good reads, that I enjoyed as they were.
I don’t feel comfortable saying all self-published books are bad. Clearly, not all self-published books are bad. Not all New York published books are good. Not all ebooks published by publishers are good either. What I do feel comfortable saying is that the chance of getting a bad book that is self-published seems to be quite a lot higher than the chances of getting a bad book that is published by a publisher – large or small. I’ve been bitten enough times by bad self-published books that I now pay attention to whether a book is published by a publisher that I recognize or whether it is self-published. A book being self-published doesn’t mean that I won’t buy it…but it means I’ll check it out more thoroughly than I might a book published by a publisher I’m familiar with who has a good track record of publishing books I like.
What about you? How are you faring in this new world where self-publishing in digital form is relatively, quick, easy, and inexpensive? Are you enjoying the greater diversity of books that are available or are you finding yourself increasingly frustrated by books that don’t measure up? Are you finding yourself paying more attention to who published the book – and is that getting more consideration when it comes to what you buy?
I’m finding that for me it is. It isn’t about spending dollars on self-published books. For me it is about time. My pleasure reading time is limited. When I sit down to read I want a book I can sink into. One that doesn’t make me cringe or want to reach for my yellow highlighter. I don’t want to waste a chapter determining that the book started in the wrong place or that the characters are cardboard. When I sit down to read for pleasure I am after entertainment…enjoyment. Seeing another publisher’s name on the book’s description at Amazon helps to assure me that at least someone else thought the piece was good, worth investing some dollars in.
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