Picture Yours Truly indulging in a rare pleasure these days: taking time to open a new book, published by a small electronic press.
The cover of the book I’m browsing looks good. The author has been published before by this small press. She’s new to me, but I’m a supporter of Indie Authors. I'm willing to give her a shot. I buy her book.
What a Waste of Money
Half way through Chapter 2, I am so PO’d about wasting my time AND money on this grossly amateur piece of garbage, that I sit down to write this rant.
Listen folks. There are lots of reasons to self-publish. Legacy Publishers have long monopolized information, determining which messages reach the public. Legacy Publishers have also paid writer's slave wages. Many authors yearn to make a living writing ebooks.
But in this particular ebook's case -- and in an alarming number of cases -- Indie Authors are not self-publishing because they have a thought-provoking message for the betterment of mankind.
They're self-publishing to thumb their noses at the Legacy Publishers, which rejected their manuscripts for good reason: these Indie Authors haven't mastered basic fiction-writing.
Believe me, aspiring authors, I feel your pain. I know how much it hurts to have a manuscript rejected by a legacy publisher.
Heck, Bantam rejected (my now #1 bestselling) Scoundrel for Hire three times. And that was AFTER I wrote three award-winning, reviewer-acclaimed novels for the nimrods!
I know of two best-selling New York Times authors who were stalled midway through their careers because their legacy publishers REFUSED to accept any book that they wrote.
Both of these authors wound up changing genres and legacy publishers (but not their pen names. Good for them!)
Publishing is one of THE most competitive marketplaces in the world. You can't rest on your laurels. To survive financially in this business, you have to keep honing your craft.
So now you're probably thinking: No sweat. I'll just publish my Great American Novel through a small electronic press.
I hate to break it to you, but not all small electronic presses are created equal! A plethora of them have cropped up in this digital age -- a lot of Mom and Pop shops -- and many of them have no editing expertise, much less Internet marketing experience.
These presses publish new authors (Hint: like the one whose book I just deleted from my Kindle) not because the story-telling is coherent, but because the press needs to churn out SOMETHING to stay afloat.
Here's another hard truth: Brace yourself.
Authors like to pat themselves on the back and say, "Look at me. I made it. I have a published novel." However, to have some small electronic press offer you zilcho dollars upon contracting you, and then make you wait for nearly two years for your first royalty payment (assuming that you actually earn royalties) doesn't mean that you've mastered basic fiction-writing.
Heck, you're not even getting a good business deal. You're writing for free! And how long are you willing to put up with starvation -- or working three jobs to pay rent?
Indies, you have more competition in this digital age than ever before. With vocal fans on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BN, and the rest, your amateur writing can sink your career -- before you really get started.
So do yourself a favor. Keep studying your craft. Practice it. That way, you'll start to attract loyal readers and more lucrative contracts.
Because in the end, all Indie Authors suffer from the stigma that a few bad apples cause with amateur writing.