March 25, 2011 | By: Tracy

In Case You Haven't Heard About Amanda Hocking. . .

In case you haven't heard, Amanda Hocking (something of a indie cult hero) has just landed a pretty sweet traditional four-book deal.

This worries me.

Not about Amanda, she's obviously put a lot of hard work into her writing in order to have obtained her success. I've got no ill will towards her in any way. My concern is that this will encourage a deluge of hopefuls to flock to the indie route, citing her success.

There's no secret that it's oh-so-easy to "e-publish" via B&N or Amazon these days. And, in my opinion, there are far too many people who jump the gun. Not having the experience, editing help or objectivity to put out a product that others will love as much as the author does. Adding to the stigma those who choose to self-publish have to fight through already.

Since I don't have any intention of going the self-pubbed route, myself, you'd think it wouldn't really care either way.

Except, I happen to be a huge ereader user. (Seriously, my Nook and I are starting to look alike) And right now, when I do a search for a topic -- say paranormal romance -- on B&N, the search engine pulls up both traditonal and "indie" titles. Often times the only way to tell the difference is the price (and usually the quality of cover artwork).

I can spot the difference, but does the average non-writing reader realize what they're getting when they purchase a $0.99 book?  Now, some self-pubbed work is actually pretty good. But, sadly, a good majority of it is pure crap!

Having no way to quality control the work that's put out there, it's the reading public that will suffer in the long run. And anything that runs the risk of turning off book readers is a bad thing for all of us, no matter what route we take.

Do you all think about or care about this kind of stuff? Have you indie published yourself?  If you're thinking about it, have you planned to have a professional editor review it first?

18 witty remarks:

Melissa said...

I wanna be traditional. No matter how long it takes. And I totally agree with you... Being able to self-publish so easily is....dangerous. People are going to stumble across these books, find a lot of crap and then...lose interest in reading all together. It's great people can get their stuff out there but people are jumping the gun (as you so rightly said) and a lot of people just aren't ready to be published. And the world isnt ready for them either.

Dan said...

While I'm sure some great self-published stuff is out there, I agree that most of the self published stuff seems to be poorly edited crap.

As it becomes easier and easier to self-publish, I think we'll see more people starting proof-reading, cover design, and book-marketing services to cater to the self-publishers. Too bad they won't all use the services...

salarsenッ said...

This is an interesting take on the Indie world. I plan on publishing traditionally, but I am glad there are other avenues out there. With that being said, I think you have a point about some writers jumping the gun. Then again, that's our opinion which--in this world of paper, ink, and now ereaders--is as subjective as ever. LOL

BTW - diggin' the new look, girl.

butchie34 said...

I have the same concerns about self-publishing and self-published works. Amanda Hocking has been THE success story (of the ebook revolution - Christopher Paolini of the hardcopy route) of self-publishing. Just because she happened to get it right, doesn't mean that everyone who does it will get it right.

Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but the cost of self-publishing if you take the most professional route and get decent editors and cover artwork can be prohibitively expensive.

Sophia Richardson said...

I'm with you, much as traditional publishing has its hoops to jump through at least there's some semblance of quality control built-in.
- Sophia.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

As someone once wrote, "Welcome to the slushpile!"

One thing to note, Amanda signed for her YA series. Right now, teens aren't the ones buying the ebooks. Amanda knows this. ;)

The traditional route is the only way I'm going, and I'm not bothering with epublishing right now either. Mainly because I write YA (see above point). For me, having my name on a book isn't the most important thing. Having my name on a book that is read and talked about (in a positive way) is. And the only way this is going to happen for me is the traditional route. And it's one I want to earn and not just have it handed to me.

Put it this way, who appreciates their money more: The person who worked hard to achieve her wealth or the one who was handed it because it's her birth right (hello Paris Hilton)?

Gina said...

I want traditional all the way, no shortcuts.

My version of self-publishing is called blogging. As far as novels go, I want the name of a real publishing house attached to THAT writing!

Kari Marie said...

My intention is to go the traditional route. I dream of a glossy cover in a bookstore. A lot.

However, if I would ever decide to take the indie track, I think I would pay for an editor. It's my name on it and I would want it to be taken seriously. I'm sure there are some folks adept enough at their own editing. I am not.

Elena Solodow said...

I've had a few incidents where I bought a self-pubbed on Amazon not realizing that it wasn't from a more traditional publisher. I started to read each one of them, but I hate to say that they were not up to the standard I expect from a published author, so yes, while I support anyone who wants to go that route, I would prefer it if the books were separated on Amazon so you know what you're getting...

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

I want to go the traditional route for sure, but I don't think self-publishing is...eep, how do I word this on a half wake/sleep brain. I don't think it's TOO dangerous although I would hate to see it flood the e-market just like anything else. It has produced some tremendous work that wouldn't have been publishded traditionally and for that, I thank it! My friend self-published and her book is amazing. It just didn't fit the market trends. So while I definatley agree with your post, the exception is that I know some self published is awesome.
Maybe the reviewer's or something need to hit that part of the "market" and weed out the "not so good" or "reader beware" kinda thing ;)

Beth said...

I haven't indie published, and it wouldn't make sense for me too. I don't have the marketing funds to put behind it that would be required to be successful. But I know people who have indie published; some of them do better than others. But Amanda got her million dollar deal and another indie published hit the NYT best sellers list this week. As far as I know, that hasn't happened before. I hope that it makes gatekeepers in the traditional route think twice before passing on a really good manuscript that they don't think is quite perfect.
bethfred.com

Chris Phillips said...

I think the epub market will get deluded but not because of Hocking. More so, because it's going to get easier and easier than traditional publishing.

LTM said...

I only care when I'm the one buying (or reading) the book... LOL! :D

Some mechanism for alerting the reading public will emerge to distinguish the two. It might be something as simple as the online reviews.

I just wish it would hurry up~ :D <3

Sarah McCabe said...

No offense, but exactly how many self pubbed works have you read to determine that a "good majority" of it is crap? And crap according to whose standards? Twilight is "crap" in my opinion. I've read a significant number of traditionally published books that afterward I wished I hadn't wasted my time with. And readers aren't stupid. They have plenty of tools to filter through everything that's being offered to them. More books available to readers is a GOOD thing.

Please stop perpetuating the ridiculous stigma that self publishing means you're not good enough and so must take shortcuts. Self publishing is a business decision. Nothing more, nothing less.

M.P. McDonald said...

Sarah, I agree. I'm self-published, and I have had plenty of feedback from readers who have loved my books. I can't believe that all the people I've heard from are just too dense to know crap when they read it.

Amanda Hocking is also not *the* only success story. She's the biggest one, but just like JK Rowling isn't the only best selling author of trad. pubbed books, Hocking isn't the only successful indie. There are plenty more who you just don't read about in the papers. There's Vicki Lieske, HP Mallory, and more who I could name but some are working out deals even now and so I can't say who they are.

The Happy Whisk said...

Love the sparkle Friday. So fun.

Adina West said...

As the last couple of commenters have said - there are some gems out there in the self-published world, but there's also some terrible rubbish. In answer to your question, YES any author who wants to self-publish should spend the time and money making sure their work has been edited properly before publishing. The best self-published authors already DO this which is why their work stands out from the rest, and deservedly so.

I think the role of reviewers will be key in the future, to steer readers towards work which others have read and enjoyed. Word of mouth is always one of the most important roads to success, in all arenas; conventional publishing, self-publishing and e-publishing.

David Powers King said...

Hey. I like the new look of your blog!

I have no intention to epublish. Maybe if I reach retirement age and haven't published anything, I'll give it a go.

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