Comments: 59
You know what saddens me about this whole thing - in terms of people saying "How can you expect high quality from something that's only 99 cents or self published?" It's a lazy argument to escape doing the best work that you can for what you're offering for profit. Money is tight for everyone at times. Regardless of background, we want to be able to put our dollars forward for the best quality product or something that we can believe in or love for both interest and immersion. Why not take the time and energy to get it right? If the person receiving the book or service is spending the dollars and time they have to peruse it, then of course they're going to expect the best you have to offer and not settle for anything less. That means you have to take the energy to get your spelling correct, do your research, correct the grammar, find and design a cover that suits the mood of your work and appeals to a readership. Sure you may have limitations that a trad pub or someone with bigger resources may have, but you do what you can or learn ways of being able to get over those barriers.

I just can't with this sense of entitlement culture that's going about. I think regardless of whether a person's traditionally published or self-published, it's not unrealistic to expect quality work and invest in people who take the time and energy to make sure it's right, because that's what it is - it's work, and you have to put that effort forward. Hard work is rewarded eventually with success, but it may take a while getting there. It's like you said, if someone cares, then you'll care enough to invest in the things they do. If they don't care about taking the time and know-how to invest in quality, then it's hard to care.
Agreed. I hate that sense of entitlement. There's a reason I stick with mostly traditionally published works, and well, they're pretty much all there in that post!
Tackling Mt. TBR 10 years ago
I don't often talk about it because I'm not a fan of drama, but I tend to stay away from self-published books unless they are free or highly recommended. I've been burned in the past and a lot of times it seems just reviewing a self-published book results in drama if you don't love it. I guess, I speak with my wallet, because I tend to only go for books from publishing houses that I know and trust. I really hate that people feel like they can put out an unfinished product and then say, well it was only 99 cents, what did you want a finished book for that price? The answer? YES! I don't care how much I pay, if I buy your book I want you to actually be done with it.
Exactly - I don't want to spend money on something that's incomplete or half-done. I want a finished product or something as self-contained (i.e. a serial novel, per example, though I usually prefer complete works) with high quality as it provides.

I hate the drama too. I don't think all self-published works are like that (there are many examples of people who do it right), but it's hard to weed through. I'll admit I'm a stubborn person who takes one for the team to try to find stories and authors who do provide the best experiences even in a sea where it seems others don't offer it or are constantly immersed in drama.
Tackling Mt. TBR 10 years ago
I agree, I think there are good self-published books out there. It just seems like there are an awful lot of bad ones as well and it can be a little daunting trying to discern between the two. I appreciate bloggers that are willing to weed through them.
I don't want my voice to go unheard because I'm afraid of the drama, and I'm not afraid of airing this. People have told me I'm a brick wall, whatever, before and I'm sure they'll say it again. Meanwhile, I'm finally in the place that I can revisit the positive reviews of Robocop 2014 and see if I like it any better in retrospect. Because when people tell me it isn't that bad, I oftentimes do that of my own accord just to see if I change my mind - y'know, like a brick wall would. I guess my point is I do what I feel is right, and I've come not to care much for what people who don't want to talk to me respectfully have to say. And I've yet to hear an argument that convinces me of the value of trying self-publishing, although I'm still open to hearing that side.

But, in general, and not to hijack my own thread, yes. I don't like the drama that results, although I didn't get much into that, if you hated a self-published book. I don't like half-assed books. I want a professional product, and I've turned to professionals to fill my need. You can't be unprofessional and expect me to keep trying you when I'm clearly looking for something else. But self-published authors seem to want not to be held accountable for their faults, but be given the same chance as traditionally published authors. I'm not drinking that particular flavor of kool-aid.
" it can be a little daunting trying to discern between the two."

Daunting, time-consuming, and simply not worth the effort for me. Exactly this.
I tend to do the same thing. I can dislike something and say my two cents about it, but I always reserve the right to change my mind. I do read other people's opinions on a work for the enlightenment and to see perspective points of what others say aside from my own. I think that's a good thing about reading things - everyone sees a work in a different way. And as for my mind changing with respect to a particular work, happened with me plenty of times before. There have been some media that I once loved that I came to loathe, and some I've loathed that I came to love, and sometimes found a median between the two.

For me, if someone disagrees with my opinion, I tend to be cool with that and I keep an open mind in a debate (sometimes I love debates because they can be fun and enlightening). But when the conversation starts devolving into people hurling terms like "bully" or "hater" or "jealous" or insults towards my person, I step away. That's not who I am, never has been. I give critiques, not to put other people down but to say why something doesn't click with me, or I offer food for thought. I know I'm different. I know I offer different perspectives because of the vein of my experience. It's a cheap shot to dismiss the thoughts and concerns of another person who may not like a work as something promoting negativity, because people have their reasons for liking/disliking anything you could possibly think of, and they are often complex and unique to the individual - and there's value to be had in hearing that.

I'm starting to find that even authors in trad publishing houses go off the rails for drama and offer less than quality work after a certain time. So in my mind's eye, I look for those who approach professional and produce professional work regardless of who or what they publish with. Sometimes I can tell this from how they interact with their readership, what their policies are, how they approach reviewing or their reviews - I try to see those things. I'm nervous myself at trying self-pubbing, but I think that's the best option I have now for the kind of stories I want to write. For me it's a creativity platform for more control over my content directly, but I realize that I have to put my A-game forward if I want to stand out.
X 1 million
a TeMPLe of WoRDS 10 years ago
If they don't "have the money," they should hire me :) Not only do I charge a lot less than most editors, I do a damn good job AND I promote the book and the author. *shrugs* Just sayin.

And very well-written Grim.
You know - to be blunt and perfectly honest, I don't care where they go so long as someone does a damn-good job. I honestly don't care if they know the best editor in the world who does it for free. I just want a good product.

And thank you.
a TeMPLe of WoRDS 10 years ago
I agree (and was being partly sarcastic). The book I'm reading now has a lot of misspellings, punctuation issues and a few misuses of words. I'm doing it for a blog tour and sent her a message letting her know that whoever did the final proofread really let her down. You would think that this would be the most important thing before they sent it to a publisher.

And I am so tired (as well) hearing people say they don't have the money. It's a tax right-off AND it's necessary. You see what you meant to write, not what you actually wrote.
Ah. Sorry, I sometimes do not get internet sarcasm. I think you're right, though - if they can't afford an editor who's worked for the big six, say, then there are alternatives. You're one of many inexpensive, or free, alternatives.

It's a matter of making that time, effort, and money a priority!
Tackling Mt. TBR 10 years ago
I don't necessarily think that they need to get the biggest name in editing to proof their book, but they do need to get someone that will be brutally honest. So, ya know, not their besties.
Agreed. Unless their bestie can be that brutally honest, which is very rarely the case.
Amen! All of this is exactly how I feel, too!
Well said, Katiebabs, as always.
Merle 10 years ago
I've never read a self-published book and have no plans to do so. It's hard enough to find high-quality books from actual publishers. And I know good manuscripts get turned down, but no matter how much potential a manuscript has when it's submitted, everybody needs editing. And then there's the drama factor. Essentially, my free time is limited and there are far more traditionally published books out there than I'll ever have time to read. So why would I bother?
Right. Unless they actually behave in a professional manner, and treat their manuscripts professionally, there's no real reason to bother.
Merle 10 years ago
Yes, and when you know 90% aren't professionals, to me it's not worth the time. That's slush pile digging, and people get paid for that shit.
Yup. Yet, they keep pointing out the samples can do that for us. Um,so can people paid at publishing houses.

I'd rather spend less time on samples, and more on good books.
Tackling Mt. TBR 10 years ago
I HATE reading samples. I actually despise it. What a waste of my time to send dozens of samples to my Kindle in the hopes one of them will be good.
Merle 10 years ago
I'm actually a big fan of samples for any book--I won't buy or order an ARC without a sample, because plenty of supposedly professionally edited and published books are still not good, or just not for me. But I'm not going to spend hours sifting through random people's creative writing samples when the publishers have already done that for me.
Nods. I can see both. Sometimes I use samples, sometimes I don't.

I didn't for Transformers retribution - which I pre-ordered based on the fact that Transformers is orgasmic for me in most any form - and that was... a huge mistake. Which led to a long, ranty review. I wished I'd sampled that one...
Aw! *blushes*

Glad to help when I can. I think I was just frustrated, in general, and then I'm glad I wrote this when I did, too. I've spent the whole day lying in bed, organizing comics, and napping eventually, to try and drive away yet another migraine -_- Not a good start to the week, either, but I was fairly productive given the crapiness of the day.

And I think that's yet another reason I'm astounded, and humbled, by the reaction this has gotten. I just wasn't at my best even when I wrote it earlier.
I hope you get better soon, Grimlock; migraines suck.
The Fangirl 10 years ago
I have problems with Chuck Wendig, because of past issue related to this idea. Where those who profit from mediocre or ethically questionable shit, like himself, doesn't feel he should have to answer to critics or even deal with us at all.

I had a run in with him when he did a promotional interview of a P2P author on his blog. I tried to be very articulate, and thoughtful in my criticism of his choice to support and promote P2P novel. In response this well respected, self proclaimed feminist mischaracterized myself and fellow critics as "mean girls" who were just trying to tear down another writer.

I tell you this in the name of transparency, so that you can have a full view of even things that might tint my POV on anything concerning him.

Anyway, this whole argument about how we shouldn't expect quality from "cheap books" is self serving bullshit. It is meant to silence those who have legitimate issues with poorly made products, and often those telling you to shut up are the ones either producing it, or like Wendig, side profiting from promoting it.

Sure, a MacDonald's cheese burger is a piece of shit, and I kind of expect it to be one, but I'm not going to tell someone else who says it's shit to shut up when they call it like it is. It's a shitty $1 cheese burger, not art, you can barely call it food.

And when it comes to a lot of these self published novels you can barely call them books, not just because the lack of effort put into the technical aspects of the book, but because the authors often couldn't tell a coherent, engaging story to save their life.

Then again, there professionally published authors who are just as lack luster, please see Fifty Shades of Grey. So why should reviewers/readers censor their honest opinions? Oh yeah, because they are affecting people trying to make a buck without having to work to hard for it. :/
Merle 10 years ago
50 Shades started out self-pubbed.
The Fangirl 10 years ago
Actually no. Fifty Shades was published through a small Australian epublisher, The Writers Coffee Shop (which specializes in publishing Twilight fan fiction as original novels), before being bought by Random House. It was supposedly edited by both, but in actuality it is almost identical to it's original fan fiction form.

So while, 50 had roots that look like self publishing, it benefited from all the opportunities professionally published novels get, including editors and they didn't bother making it any better, because they knew people would buy it no matter how crappy it was.

My point being is that type of publishing isn't the issue so much as it is the attitude. Where a self publishing author thinks that if someone's only willing to pay a $1 for a book, they don't have a right to complain about the quality. Likewise Random House believed that if someone only cares about explicit sex in a book like 50, they won't care about the quality of story telling or writing. Both are dead wrong and insulting to readers.
I honestly haven't read anything by Wendig and don't condone everything he does. How he treated you was horrible, and means I won't read anything by him.

I won't link to his post either, after hearing this. His post and reaction to it were merely a springboard, and I was influenced more by people saying they celebrate mediocrity than anything to be honest.
The Fangirl 10 years ago
My experience with him put me off his work, but more importantly made me examine his actions and those other authors like him, more closely. You got to wonder what kind of skin he has in this game, that he feels entitled to tell readers/reviews how to think.

For me, as a reader, I'm not surprised when a cheap or free book is poorly put together, but I don't censor myself either. I sure as hell don't think I owe the author anything other than an honest review.

I suspect that a lot of this behavior comes down to a sense of entitlement. That many authors feel like they deserve money and appreciation for their work, even if they don't put that much effort into it. That's just ridiculous.
The Fangirl 10 years ago
Here's a link to the post I commented on He deleted most of the comments, including his rude replies to them, with the exception of mine and one other person's.
Ah, I don't honestly read much of his blog, nor have I read his books. Those were rather rude, and I'm disappointed in him.

Let me also clarify that I read the post he wrote that they talked about on the kboards, then read the kboards, then read his post again and was so disgusted by the 'I'm going to celebrate/cheerlead mediocrity' response that I was compelled to write this. I had no idea that Wendig did this, and I very much appreciate you telling me so that I can continue not to read his books. (And I didn't, simply because they didn't appeal to me in a 'must read right now' way, even with his background, and being traditionally published. I don't read absolutely everything put out, after all.)

I'm so sorry you had this experience :( I personally understand that there might be some conflict, and I hope you continue to share if you do - hearing the other side does matter, and it should be brought to all our attention in my opinion.

While I myself am conflicted about Wendig and his post after hearing this, I do think the responses to the post - let twelve-year-olds publish/let them publish their crap because it's a *learning experience* - were completely wrong. That isn't what I want to read - someone's learning curve. Arguably all artists learn every time they write, or create in whatever way they do, but I want the basics - good grammar, good storytelling, good editing - down before I purchase the product.

And by the way, I hope all your future author interaction is more pleasant than your interaction with Wendig was!
The Fangirl 10 years ago
Thanks so much. I've had great interactions with other authors, and to be honest, his behavior is similar to what I've dealt with in various fan communities. It's like I said above, I think a lot of this attitude comes from a sense of entitlement.

Sure 12yos can publish their stories, they could before (Smashwords and lulu have been around for a long time). The difference is that people have made a huge business out of packaging shitty content to look like good content. Often spending more effort to marketing than on the actually creation of the book, and then when people call it out they're using their PR power to try to silence those legitimate complaints. That's not free speech or even a free market, that's a scam. That's rigging the game to get the money and run, before consumers realize they've been taken for a ride.

Anyone can publish a book, but readers have a right to know what they're buying, which is where reviewers and book blogs come into play. Or we should.
Nope, no clue. :( I'm hoping dinner will help.
KindleRomance 10 years ago
Excellent post!! I can't understand why an author would want to chance putting out a book that wasn't their best effort. It might be their only chance of getting in front of a reader. Once burned, a reader might never pick them up again. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing authors out there that do care. Whether they go traditional or self-pub, it shouldn't make a difference. The output needs to be the same.
Exactly! And like I said, with traditionally published books, I tend to get a minimum standard. Not so with self-published. Why would I go somewhere I've been burned on a regular basis when I have a fire-free zone?

KindleRomance 10 years ago
I can't think of a good reason:-) At least when I sit through a bad or mediocre movie, I get popcorn!
Or orgasms if it's pretty enough. (Pirmus, that bike was fucking hot...)
KindleRomance 10 years ago
That was a very nice looking bike. Sorry you have a migraine:-( I hate when I get them.
I'm gonna sleep early because I still hurt :(

Mmm. Maybe I'll have good dreams about that bike! Best part of the movie, amiright?

I hope you have a better rest of the night than I do/have had today. Thank you for the kind words.
Thank you!

You should not be shamed. Those authors I spoke of? You're one of them. (Weeell, I still need to read your book but most of the polite authors I know are polite because they know their stuff and are confident about their products. If my theory holds true, I'll love your work!)

I don't want authors to be ashamed because of other authors or their behavior. You can't control them, after all, but you *can* speak out against them. Authors who come to posts like this and like, or speak out, are amazing in my book. Hold your head up high! You've spoken up, you've taken a stand against this, and it's a lot more than authors do. I think that's something to be proud of, my friend.
Thank you!
I'm reading Unteachable. Very good, but a hard read for me for a variety of reasons - lots of sex, really well done, so I'm kinda fascinated and repulsed at the same time. That would be my main issue with the book itself.

It's also a personal preference, so...

As far as the writing and characters? The world building - it's real world, but there's still world building? It's all excellent! I highly suggest it, especially if that's your thing.
julio-alexi genao 10 years ago
outstanding. bravo, grimmy.
Thank you!
♥So, guys, I don't want to post about this elsewhere, but wow. 15 reblogs and 44 likes, and fifty plus comments. I never got reblogged, I barely ever get close to twenty likes. I obviously hit a nerve, and I thank you all! Clearly this is something that people care about, and I just feel honored that you thought enough of my post to care this much about what had started out as a personal rant.

If I commented thanking you for the reblog, it's mostly because I appreciate it, but also to keep track of comments there if there are any. I'm fascinated by this dialogue, I have been for a while, and I love even just sitting back and reading what other people have to say.

I love you guys! ♥♡♥
Batgrl: Bookish Hooha 10 years ago
I really like to read this sort of thing because it's nice to know other people think this is a problem too. I can't figure out who told so many people trying to be authors that being a writer was easy, and that there would never be any criticism. And that if your spelling and grammar are bad and you still publish it, there's really no excuse for it - well, not if you want to be an author that is.
It's not just you. Given how often this has been reblogged, and commented on and liked, you're far from alone.
Grey Warden 10 years ago
Author Edward Lorn also reblogged this over on Wordpress. You're making a name for yourself, kid! lol
He mentioned that when I thanked him for reflagging on Booklikes. I was blown away. This was written at the start of a migraine, just needing to vent, so I'm like... wow. People really, really responded to it, and I was not feeling my best. It's absolutely humbling, though. If people didn't really feel this way, it wouldn't matter, and it would just be me screaming into the wind.

Like I said, I'm absolutely thrilled that people are getting something out of my thoughts. I tend to not think that highly of myself, so it's just... gratifying to know I got it right.
In2books 10 years ago
Great blog post Grim!
Thank you!