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Author Topic: Self Published Books - Do you read them?  (Read 10074 times)

Offline Overlord

Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« on: August 07, 2015, 09:14:03 AM »
Hey readers, if you have some time I'd truly appreciate you answering the following questions:

How many Self Published books you have read.

What ratio of Self Published Books do you read vs Traditional.

Do you feel there is a difference in the quality of Self Published books vs Traditional Quality books?

In terms of pricing, would you pay the same for a Traditional book vs a Self Published book?
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Offline YordanZh

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 10:36:58 AM »
I don't read much self-published books, but then again my reading speed isn't that great, so I'm not one of those "5 books per week" type of readers, that run through amazon, B&N and others, check everything out, etc, etc. So I rarely stumble upon self-publishers. When I do however, I always check them out, especially if I see them in a crowdfunding site like kickstarter, indiegogo, etc, since those places offer quite a bit of info, a video presentation, etc. (I found Becky Chambers this way, "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" was so great! It also got picked up by a publisher lately)

It's also worth pointing out that I've read several (10-15) ex-indies that were picked up by traditional publishers after that's happened. So while I've read them published, they started as self-publishers.

As for a difference in quality - no. There are great traditionally published authors, great self-published ones, crappy traditionally published authors, and crappy self-published ones. The difference is in the quantity, not the quality - a bigger % of the indies are crap. As a reader, that doesn't make much of a difference however, because all you have to do is research the book a bit (blurb, reviews, outside info, etc) and if it looks crap - don't read it. As a matter of fact, because I'm very picky about what I'm going to read, I have read only 1-2 bad indies (it was when I was asked for a review too, so they didn't already have reviews), while I've read dozens upon dozens of crap traditionally published books (over-hyped, over-marketed, "best-sellers").

In terms of pricing - yes, I would, if the indie looks good. I mean, if anything, the indie author's invested much more effort, sweat and tears into the publishing of his book than the traditionally published one, so if the book looks good, I'll gladly pay a good price for it.

Now, all this being said, I myself am both a published and a self-publishing author (the first in my native language, the second in English), so I know first hand the author's point of view about the effort that goes into self-publishing and the effort that goes into traditional publishing. So, as a consequence, as a reader I'm completely open to indies as long as they look good.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 11:11:22 AM by YordanZh »

Offline JMack

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Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 11:12:32 AM »
How many self-pubbed books read: I hadn't tried self-pubbed until I joined F-F 10 months ago. Since then I've given 4 a really good shot and several others a quick sample read. 2 by a F-F member were quite good once you got past some grammatical stuff; one was brilliantly weird for the first 10,000 words and then lost its way (have not finished; but plan to go back); 1 was just not there (did not finish). For the quick samples, maybe 4?, they weren't quality so I stopped. Then there's Copper Promise, which started self-pubbed. I read it in the traditional version.

What's the ratio: I have read and continue to read traditionally published far more than self-pubbed.

Difference in quality?: Fair or not, yes. I go into a self-pubbed book expecting it to be below the traditionals in quality and so far have usually find this to be true. Self-pubbed tend to have problems with grammar, point of view, and overall skill in the writing.

Would I pay the same in pricing: No. A self-pubbed has to be priced lower because I feel I'm taking a risk on it. Even if I read a Kindle sample, and it seems okay, I guess I also want a deal as a consumer. And since the amount of money going to the writer is bigger than for a traditional, I don't feel bad expecting the lower price. Like anything else in pricing, if I were to see a self-pub with a trad price - and it's selling - then there's value there and I'll buy. But a high price and low sales/few reviews? Feels like a reach.

So overall, I'm excited for self-pub as a means for good work to be seen and personal work to at least get out there. But there's a bazillion of us doing it and a lot of useless reviews... I certainly don't know how to find the gold among the dross reliably.





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Offline YordanZh

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 11:29:49 AM »
I certainly don't know how to find the gold among the dross reliably.

For starters, definitely don't get books that haven't been professionally edited. ;) The fact that an indie is self-publishing a book doesn't mean that he can't hire a professional editor, it's not that expensive. If the author's the only one that's worked on the book - yeah, expect lots of mistakes in it.

Offline Yora

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 11:38:49 AM »
I don't know. I don't buy books based on who the publisher is. I buy books when I heard people say they are good and similar to other books I liked.

Offline Rostum

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 11:47:08 AM »
I have read a half a dozen or so self published fantasy, after they were picked up by a publisher or came with a strong recommendation from someone I know. The reality is I cannot keep up with the major publications/Authors I wish to read. So I have no time to wade into self published books of any genre unless I am after specific information or am given a strong reason to do so.

Saying that I have a collection of pre 1990's Archaeological reports and papers which probably count as self or independently published. These tend to have very specific content and are either of no commercial interest or on subjects too obscure to find their way into anything but the driest of journals.

Offline Raptori

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Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 11:50:06 AM »
In theory I wouldn't have a problem reading self-published books, though I'd expect them to be more likely to be lower quality. I'd expect to pay less for them - as others have said, even at a lower price the author gets more money so I think that's fair for both parties.

However, I don't think I've actually read a book that is self-published. I've read books that were self-published, but not until they were picked up by traditional publishers - Riyria and The Martian being good examples of that. That's not because I wouldn't have read them as self-pub, I just hadn't heard of them.

I have many books in my to-read list, and most of them keep getting pushed back as new books that I'm more excited about are released/come to my attention. I expect that very few of them are self-pub, and  self-pub would have to have a lot of hype and reliable reviews for me to jump it up that list.
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Offline Hedin

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 01:13:33 PM »
I've never read a book that was truly self-published (I have read some that were originally self-published and then were later picked up by someone).  I'm not opposed to it but there are a lot of published books I want to read before I would start experimenting and on top of that I don't really know how to separate the decent books from the bad.  I have toyed around with the idea before of doing a review blog/site for self-pub books but haven't gotten to it and I don't know if I ever will.

Offline Arry

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Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 01:21:37 PM »
I've read several self published books, but opposite of JMack, I pretty much stopped reading them after finding Fantasy Faction and other online resources for getting a better idea of the books that are being published. Pretty much, finding better ways to find books other than "Hey, look! This one is cheap!" and impulse buying in the middle of the night for my eReader. I would say most of the self published books I read were definitely lower quality. Sorry.

The last book I bought when it was self published was Blood Song. I have to admit to being a bit leery of that one, worrying that all the hype around it was because "Hey this book is amazing " with an unspoken conditional at the end "for self published". After reading it, I agreed, it was a great book by any standard, but I do admit to having a bit of doubt. That may have helped my reading experience to be truthful, because I hate going into books with a practically unattainable level of expectation. Blood Song is an excellent example that they are not all like most of the self published books I read.

So, I fully acknowledge they are not all lower quality. Some do pay professional editors and have a talent with words and stories. There are many excellent examples of books that thrived as self published and then publisher took notice (Blood Song, The Martian, Riryia, Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, etc). BUT, any book that is being published has hopefully had some level of professional vetting and editing. No matter how great a book is, there is still no guarantee I will like it, so I do prefer to at least take the route of least risk. There are more books out there that are published that I truly want to read than I have the time for. So, to me, I prefer to let someone else filter out some for me. Perhaps I am missing an amazing work of fiction by not reading self published, but with so many published books, I am certain I am missing some amazing published books as well.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 02:10:04 PM by Arry »
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Offline DrNefario

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 01:47:55 PM »
Very rarely.

I dabbled a bit when I first got my Kindle, and to be fair, nothing I read was actually terrible, although I wouldn't say anything was great, either, but ultimately my reading time is a precious resource and I'd rather spend it on a known quantity. I'd read a self-pubbed book if it generated enough of a buzz, but these books are often picked up and republished by a "proper" publisher anyway.

I don't believe self-published books are necessarily worse than trad-published books, but I think the average standard is much lower. I think this results in books being overpraised for mere competence. I also think the market tends towards the generic. If you want a yard of heroic fantasy, you're fine, but if you want something a bit more interesting and unusual, you're out of luck.

The last self-pubbed book I actually read was The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata, near-future military SF, which was very enjoyable, but then Nagata is a trad-published author with a good reputation who was just trying something different, and the book ended up being nominated for the Nebula and Campbell Memorial awards. It has since been picked up and published by a trad publisher (but so far only in the US, by the look of it  >:( ).

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 02:28:52 PM »
I do read Self-pub'd books, and I write them.

I have found some really excellent self-pub'd books and some that are not so good. Mark Lawrence's SPFBO (find it on twitter or facebook, or his blog) has been an excellent way for authors to get their books looked at by respected bloggers/reviewers. Not every site gave scores, or reviewed them, but some did.

If you look at Bookwormblues.net, you'll find some of the good books getting good reviews.

Of the 25 she tackled, 9 achieved 4 stars meaning, if nothing else, they were enjoyable stories and well-written.

My next step, when buying a book that isn't from a recommendation (or the Works 3 for £5!), is to use Amazon's look inside feature a lot more :)
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Offline YordanZh

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 02:47:51 PM »
Mark Lawrence's SPFBO (find it on twitter or facebook, or his blog) has been an excellent way for authors to get their books looked at by respected bloggers/reviewers. Not every site gave scores, or reviewed them, but some did.

Here's the link. :)
http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/the-great-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 03:27:28 PM »

oooh!  this will be fun!


How many Self Published books you have read?

a bunch.  a whole bunch.  tho, not that many in the last year or so.  i've been following joe konrath's blog for about five years now.  he's a great starting point to find really great self-pubbed authors and really great resources for those authors who want to self-publish.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

if i remember correctly, that was how i discovered michael j. sullivan -- whom i adore.  (shhh...  don't tell him.  even tho it's totally just the bro-hug kind, i don't want to weird him or robin out.)

i've dropped off the self-pub lately because of time constraints.  basically, i've moved to reading fantasy only (with the rare non-fiction exception) in the last couple years.  since i've been catching up on all the fantasy written in the last decade (omg -- rothfuss, sanderson, weeks, ryan, oh my!) i haven't had a lot of time to dig through who's good in self-pub fantasy.

the few i have looked at, however, have been the drive-by guys here on the forums.  i've dug into their work with the 'look inside' amazon thing and have been...  um...  unimpressed.

tho, i hear good things about this g. r. mathews guy -- whoever he is.


What ratio of Self Published Books do you read vs Traditional.

five-to-two years ago:  80/20 self-pubbed to traditional.

two-to-0 years ago:  5/95 self-pubbed to traditional


Do you feel there is a difference in the quality of Self Published books vs Traditional Quality books?

on the whole?  of course!  if you look at the very best ones?  they don't stay self-pubbed for long (looking at you, anthony ryan) or, they are self-pubbing with purpose like joe konrath or barry eisler.  some people (sullivan, for example) have substantially less vitriol aimed at the traditional publishing world than joe and barry, but no one has more.

but, if you were to take the top 5 percent of self-pubbed authors and all of the traditionally published authors and mix them together?  you wouldn't be able to pick out who was what.

but, yeah.  to your point, the median quality of self-published authors is complete and utter crap.


In terms of pricing, would you pay the same for a Traditional book vs a Self Published book?

to preface this:  i do the vast, vast, vast majority of my recreational reading on kindle.

traditional publishing is absolutely and without a doubt completely and irrevocably wrong in their publishing price strategies for the kindle.  you have to be goddamn amazing for me to pay for than 5 bucks for your book on kindle.

if you're over $10 on kindle?  i won't buy it, full-stop.  i might borrow a friend's hard copy.  but only if your publisher is arm-barring you into it.  if you as an author price it that high on purpose?  or if you as an author agree with that pricing?  i won't read it or, most likely, anything else you write.  (i have lots of blog posts i've written over the years detailing out a lot of these feelings...  so has everyone else, i suppose)

paper books in stores?  fancy hardcovers?  they're alright, sure.  and i'd even pay a bajillion dollars (well, maybe not quite that much) for a badass hardcover that i can get signed by one of my favorite authors.

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My next step, when buying a book that isn't from a recommendation (or the Works 3 for £5!), is to use Amazon's look inside feature a lot more :)

yay!  it's not just me!

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2015, 05:21:19 PM »
The big thing with self-publishing is finding those authors who are doing it right. That is, they aren't publishing a first draft. They've hired an editor, or at least gotten some beta readers with some editing skill (after all, editors can be pretty expensive for those of us without much income to begin with). They also tend to be involved in online communities like this one. That is, they're not the drive-by self-publishers who only post about their work. The kind of person who gets involved in writing and fiction communities is probably more dedicated to their craft.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2015, 05:41:07 PM »
Up until last week I could say that I'd never read a self-published author, hehe

I only read paper books, so that limits my access to self-pub too.
Also, there are so many great published books that I've discovered through the forums that I still haven't read, that to risk not liking something by buying self-pub, it's something I'm not willing to do. I also have the impression that the ratio of good to bad books in self-pub leans much more into the bad, compared with traditional published ones.

Like Raptori, I've read books that were self-published, but not until they were picked up by traditional publishers (Riyria being my example).
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