September 20, 2020, 06:19:12 PM

Author Topic: What do you think of Self-Published books?  (Read 7249 times)

Offline Raptori

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2015, 08:25:52 AM »
As for this, m3m:
2 -
is it just me, or does the main site make your eyes bug out if you read anything on it?  i always have to smash the stylesheet with evernote's clearly plugin to read anything on there.
No, not just you. I love seeing white font on black, but after reading an article, I'm left with black blobs in my eyes for a while ::)
What's that plugin?

in this day and age of questionable design and layout choices, this plugin is GOLD.
https://evernote.com/clearly/
My browsers have a built-in "reader view" that does basically the same thing as that.  :P
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2015, 01:23:04 PM »
a few things.

1 -
"run the gambit" -- ew.  was that your phrase, geoff?  or, i hope, a copy-paste from speculative book review?


A copy/paste :) I wrote the intro and outro only.
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Offline Overlord

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2015, 03:54:15 PM »
As for this, m3m:
2 -
is it just me, or does the main site make your eyes bug out if you read anything on it?  i always have to smash the stylesheet with evernote's clearly plugin to read anything on there.
No, not just you. I love seeing white font on black, but after reading an article, I'm left with black blobs in my eyes for a while ::)
What's that plugin?

in this day and age of questionable design and layout choices, this plugin is GOLD.
https://evernote.com/clearly/

We'll get that sorted one day O:) We did actually get a new design at one point, but we just couldn't get it working with the old content and gave up on it :P
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Offline JamesLatimer

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2015, 05:03:55 PM »
Jonathan Renshaw's Dawn of Wonder...Jacob Cooper's Circle of Reign and James Islington's The Shadow of What was Lost
You and I must have some of the same tastes in self-published fantasy. I loved Islington's book and Cooper's, and I'm currently enjoying Renshaw's.
I had a quick look at these because of the strong recommendations, but each seemed to flag up some of the typical problems I have with SP books. Some of the reviews for Circle of Reign flagged up the need for editing for grammar, vocab and general wordiness, while the other two seem to feature the "chosen one" trope (at least from the blurbs).  Now, I've seen some poorly edited (small press) trad pub books, but for me it's a minimum.  If the author can't afford a professional edit, they should work on it themselves as long as it takes. 

Trope-wise, I'm sure lots of people are still looking for "chosen one" heroes and "ancient darkness" awakening but I feel like 90% of the self-pub books I encounter have exactly the same blurb.  With trad pub you can at least be somewhat assured that an experienced agent/editor have made sure there is something new, different and uniquely interesting in the book they have chosen to rep/publish.  Even if these authors put a new spin on it, tropey keywords in blurbs just turn me off (but this may just be me).

I don't mean to pick on these books, because I'm sure they have lots to offer, but they just illustrate some of the biggest turn-offs I notice with self-pub, despite wanting to champion it.  In the end, despite their very strong ratings and reviews on Goodreads, and personal recommendations, I'm still wary of reading them because of these flags.  :-\

Offline YordanZh

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2015, 08:12:41 PM »
Now, I've seen some poorly edited (small press) trad pub books, but for me it's a minimum.  If the author can't afford a professional edit, they should work on it themselves as long as it takes. 

It's worth mentioning that even after professional edits, all books still have some mistakes here and there (what was Gaiman's "Law"? "Whenever you open your own, already published book, you'll always find a mistake on the first page you check"). And the sad fact is that when a book is self-published or small press, readers are extra vigilant for such mistakes and mention them in their reviews 9/10 times, while with books from bigger publishers, we tend to ignore them more often. Additionally, a big portion of the initial reviews of most self-pubs are from bloggers that the author's contacted personally and bloggers do the above even more than regular readers.

Now, I'm not saying that as a defense for self-pubs - of course the quality of editing of indies is - on average - very, very low. All I'm saying is that the trustworthiness of such reviews is also not always on 100% and especially if you've seen some positive reviews and recommendations, your best bet is to just check a short sample of the text and judge it for yourself. :)

(I myself haven't read the books in question, so I can't say anything about them in particular.)

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2015, 09:41:52 PM »
I've just bought four Kindle books, all released by a large Traditional Publisher.

Reading the first one and there are 3 instances, so far (at 75%) of bad formatting... a simple <return> needed to separate the speech of two characters.

We are critical of SP books for this, and it is true they are at fault sometimes. Do we forgive TP books more? You know what, I am not sure.

I tend to forgive both equally.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2015, 12:13:56 AM »
I had a quick look at these because of the strong recommendations, but each seemed to flag up some of the typical problems I have with SP books. Some of the reviews for Circle of Reign flagged up the need for editing for grammar, vocab and general wordiness, while the other two seem to feature the "chosen one" trope (at least from the blurbs).  Now, I've seen some poorly edited (small press) trad pub books, but for me it's a minimum.  If the author can't afford a professional edit, they should work on it themselves as long as it takes.
 

I think those reviews are drastically exaggerating any grammar mistakes. I'm a huge stickler on grammar, and I noticed very few grammar mistakes. No more than I see in a lot of the trade published stuff I read.

Quote
Trope-wise, I'm sure lots of people are still looking for "chosen one" heroes and "ancient darkness" awakening but I feel like 90% of the self-pub books I encounter have exactly the same blurb.  With trad pub you can at least be somewhat assured that an experienced agent/editor have made sure there is something new, different and uniquely interesting in the book they have chosen to rep/publish.  Even if these authors put a new spin on it, tropey keywords in blurbs just turn me off (but this may just be me).

I think that's where a lot of self-publishers find their market. There are many readers out there who are dying for the types of stories and tropes they love, and they're faced with a trade publishing world that's often obsessed with finding stuff that's new. That can work, of course, but I think they're passing on a lot of great stories because they don't look past the surface.

For me, The Shadow of What Was Lost felt a lot like The Eye of the World, but I actually thought it was better. It didn't have Jordan's wordiness or not-so-great portrayal of female characters.

I can't say if Dawn of Wonder is a Chosen One story just yet, but so far, it's showing no signs of it. I'd actually say it's more like The Name of the Wind or Blood Song.

Offline JamesLatimer

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2015, 09:31:09 AM »
On editing (in response to the last three posts), I'm not just talking about spelling, grammar, word-choice, formatting etc - these little mistakes are pretty forgiveable, though if I find too many in a sample they make me doubt the quality of the overall work. More often, I'm talking about those other things that most editors (or beta readers, or even writing tip blogs) should catch - wordiness, telling not showing, dialogue tags, sudden changes in perspective, adverbs, etc.  Most of the SP books I've read could have used another pass by the red pen.
I think that's where a lot of self-publishers find their market. There are many readers out there who are dying for the types of stories and tropes they love, and they're faced with a trade publishing world that's often obsessed with finding stuff that's new. That can work, of course, but I think they're passing on a lot of great stories because they don't look past the surface.
Completely agree that SP is proving that a lot of writers and readers still love the tropes, and good luck to them.  I guess I'm just one of those looking for something new (be it setting, style, character, action, whatever), and if the blurb looks at all like something I've read many times before, I'm just less interested. This applies to Trad Pub as well, btw. There are enough 'great stories' out there that I can afford to be picky!
For me, The Shadow of What Was Lost felt a lot like The Eye of the World, but I actually thought it was better. It didn't have Jordan's wordiness or not-so-great portrayal of female characters.

I can't say if Dawn of Wonder is a Chosen One story just yet, but so far, it's showing no signs of it. I'd actually say it's more like The Name of the Wind or Blood Song.
Yeah, to me, Name of the Wind and Blood Song are effectively 'chosen one' sagas as they both focus on one exceptional individual (=man), following him from youth towards his inevitable destiny. Now, I like Name of the Wind (perhaps despite this) because it does the trope exceptionally well, with a twist or two and a lot of mystery, but Blood Song, for me, failed to transcend the trope and live up to the hype, though fun at times. Obviously, there are plenty of people out there who loved Blood Song, so I hope they pick up Dawn of Wonder, too. It's just probably not for me.

Offline wimbly

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2015, 11:22:12 AM »
There's great stuff out there on Amazon, etc. Especially promos and freebies. The days of traditional agents/publishing houses may be numbered. Just too hard for authors to get their stuff out there. Readers have access to fresh talent and the market, not the big houses - truly decides.

Offline DrNefario

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2015, 01:33:39 PM »
I've just started looking into the SFPBO, and might manage to read one or two of them before long. I was really just thinking that the finalists might give me some ideas for books to borrow in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which is a free perk of Prime membership I often struggle to use. Of the ten finalists, three were free, four were in the KOLL, and three will cost me actual money if I decide to read them.

Maybe I'll soon have a more up-to-date idea of the state of indies. I read some back when I first got my Kindle, and they were OK. Solid. Kind of generic.

But that's not really going to cut it. You're not competing with the worst of trad-pubbed fiction, but the best. I already own unread books by Brandon Sanderson, Mark Lawrence, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Terry Pratchett and many others, without even straying outside the fantasy genre, which is less than 50% of my reading as it is. Why would I choose to read an indie fantasy ahead of those? It's going to have to have something very appealing about it to get past that.

Offline eclipse

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2015, 02:26:37 PM »
I've just started looking into the SFPBO, and might manage to read one or two of them before long. I was really just thinking that the finalists might give me some ideas for books to borrow in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which is a free perk of Prime membership I often struggle to use. Of the ten finalists, three were free, four were in the KOLL, and three will cost me actual money if I decide to read them.

Maybe I'll soon have a more up-to-date idea of the state of indies. I read some back when I first got my Kindle, and they were OK. Solid. Kind of generic.

But that's not really going to cut it. You're not competing with the worst of trad-pubbed fiction, but the best. I already own unread books by Brandon Sanderson, Mark Lawrence, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Terry Pratchett and many others, without even straying outside the fantasy genre, which is less than 50% of my reading as it is. Why would I choose to read an indie fantasy ahead of those? It's going to have to have something very appealing about it to get past that.

I think you should give a go to our @Saraband book Shattered Sand and there's a read along talking about it,I think @Jmack and lady Ty are still reading it.
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Offline Rostum

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2015, 04:08:50 PM »
Just read some good things about The Sane King and When they Shine Brightest both written by authors who use this site although I am not sure if Yordan's counts as self published? Both are added to my kindle libary. I am always suspicious of reviews for self pubbed books and new (to me) authors as there is a tendancy for friends to big them up to support the writer. I will review here once I have read them.

Offline YordanZh

Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2015, 04:19:52 PM »
Just read some good things about The Sane King and When they Shine Brightest both written by authors who use this site although I am not sure if Yordan's counts as self published? Both are added to my kindle libary. I am always suspicious of reviews for self pubbed books and new (to me) authors as there is a tendancy for friends to big them up to support the writer. I will review here once I have read them.

Traditionally published in Bulgaria and self-published in English, so I'm kind of doing both atm. :) And Bulgarians don't use Amazon and Goodreads much, so almost no friends' reviews.. *sad face* ;)

Offline eclipse

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2015, 06:29:24 PM »
Just read some good things about The Sane King and When they Shine Brightest both written by authors who use this site although I am not sure if Yordan's counts as self published? Both are added to my kindle libary. I am always suspicious of reviews for self pubbed books and new (to me) authors as there is a tendancy for friends to big them up to support the writer. I will review here once I have read them.

Traditionally published in Bulgaria and self-published in English, so I'm kind of doing both atm. :) And Bulgarians don't use Amazon and Goodreads much, so almost no friends' reviews.. *sad face* ;)

So what do Bulgarians use?
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Offline Rostum

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Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2015, 06:38:32 PM »
A variety of pirate and warez sites. Or have their own homegrown DRM stripping tools so one copy becomes everyones copy at a guess.