Thursday, 30 June 2011

To E, or not to E? Now there's a question...

Do not, dear reader, be surprised if this post contains at best shonky or no research at all into the subject matter. After all, this is me here; I don’t do much in the way of research (unless it’s to check out 21st Century Heroes and their pectoral presence of course – see ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ a couple of posts back. But I digress. Which only works if you’re Ronnie Corbett. And a National Treasure).
Anyway...focus, woman.
E-books and E-book publishing. It’s very ‘on-trend’ right now isn’t it? There’s stuff about it EVERYWHERE. Especially on-line *ahem* obviously. This blog made me nearly need to change my underwear twice whilst reading it: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/02/02/why-your-self-published-book-sucks-a-bag-of-dicks/
And for the most part I kind of agree with everything it says. I know it denigrates the whole idea of e-publishing and spins such a negative on it that it’s difficult to know how an average human being could believe anything like this is worthwhile. But, bear with me, I’m trying to be impartial.
For instance I’ve never considered Self/Vanity Publishing. In fact I get very heated at the word ‘vanity’ – I think it’s a throwback from my childhood and actually, isn’t Vanity one of the Seven Deadly Sins? BUT (and this is only since I’ve begun to approach A Certain Age) I have decided to weave into my Last Will and Testament the stipulation that should I die unpublished, I want three of my books to be posthumously printed so at least my daughter can show my grand/great grandchildren one day. I’m also hoping that the adage “never speak ill of the dead” also applies to being posthumously self-published; CAN you be vain AND deceased?
{Aside… okay then, digression… just had a small ‘lol’ moment imagining my e-book review on Amazon reading something like this: “…was crap. Thank god she’s not around to write any more sh*te like this one”}
And speaking of scary reviews, I’d NEVER want to be in the position where I’d feel I had to deliver a ball-breaking response to a (not even bad) review of my e-book like this one: http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html
Once you start getting heated in defence there’s really no going back for some people, is there?
And this, I believe is the crux of the whole e-matter. I think it works for certain people - people with the right kind of character; the strong, the determined and the unfathomably brave.
All of which, I’m sure you’ve sussed by now, are qualities of which I have none.
I am an anxious, feeble-minded coward who needs somebody to hold her hand and kick her up the arse, whichever is the nearer. And I could no more promote any product of my own making than I could fly to the moon and back. Unless I had somebody – a Proper, Professional, Qualified somebody behind me one hundred and ninety five percent who was willing – and being paid a percentage of course – to stick their neck out for me and declare me a creative literary genius (or similar… just a Good Writer would do for now to be honest).
Of course it DOES help if you are an excellent writer. It helps if you can work happily and constructively alongside spellchecker, it helps if you’re a first-class Proofreader who can spot a typo at fifty paces, a consummate Editor who can find a plot-hole without falling into it.  And I imagine it would also help to have a couple of hundred quid as a cushion/starter block for things like cover-production, initial set-up/registration fees and soforth. (Can you tell here’s where my research falls a little flat? I don’t have precise figures and I hate maths so can I please be excused if “a couple hundred quid” is wrong in any way... I’m just hazarding. Phew, thanks).
And it must all be so very… I don’t know, stressful. Going through this whole process pretty much on your own, with the unswerving belief that what you’ve written is Good Enough to be out there… even if Agents and Publishers have already told you there is No Place for it. Half of me is in total awe of these e-authors who have flown in the face of rejection and self-pronounced  that their work is publishable, whilst the other half of me is hiding behind a cushion wishing they’d just bided their time a bit longer and given any feedback they may have had from professionals, the proper considered thought it warranted before launching their babies into the ethosphere.
So I'm on the fence.  Which is probably why I walk this way.
Oh, and during my 'research', I also found this site: http://theselfpublishingreview.wordpress.com/ where a lot of self-published/e-books are reviewed and I found myself especially drawn to the 'tags' section on the left hand side which felt rather like looking out for a car-crash, which I know is all kinds of wrong but reading these makes me feel more sure I'm doing the right thing with my game of patience.

7 comments:

Fiona Faith Maddock said...

Oh gosh, I think you speak for millions of wannabe debutantes here. Thanks for expressing it so well.

Kate said...

I'm sure your game of patience will pay off in the end. I'm playing the same game too.

The thing is that every time I think my work is as good as it can be I discover it isn't.

Neil said...

The links you included are great. There are an awful lot of people out there who have not learned how to write, but for some reason think they are great, and if someone tries to tell them otherwise they will stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalalalala.
Self-published ebooks have become like a public slushpile - there may be the occasional gem in there, but how to find them amongst all the dross?
Where do people get such incredible self-belief from? I am almost jealous, I wish I had that.
If only people considering self-pubbing would first run their ms past other people, not friends or family but professionals. Personally I would never buy an ebook without a personal recommendation from someone whose judgement I trust.

Gillian McDade said...

I recall reading the first sentence of a self-published book and seeing the same word repeated three times. Bloomin' awful!

Great blog!

Gillian x

badas2010 said...

Self publishing through ebooks is a good thing. There I've said it.
Do your own editing, formatting, proof reading and cover design as well as you can and it's free. What made you think it costs £200? And you don't have the heartache of years of rejections and waiting.
If you write a book and get several other experts to go through it and tell you where to change it, is it still your book?
What you should do is write a book as good as you can make it, do as much editing as you can stand, and when you think it's good enough go ahead and publish it as an ebook.
True there's lots of dross about, but there also some gems hidden away, the difficulty is finding them, and luck plays a huge role in selling any copies at all, never mind being a top seller.
Be patient and brave, but realistic, and your enthusiasm for writing will grow through the effort needed.
My advice? Go for it.

Debs Riccio said...

Fiona, thanks, I was beginning to feel like an Ostrich/Dinosaur! (an Ostricaur?)
Kate - I hear positive things about us Meek (!)and you're right - there's ALWAYS something, isn't there?
Neil - glad you like the links, they ARE good aren't they? Only I did notice that the 'Greek Seaman' comments left by the author have been *ahem* removed - shame if you didn't get to read them - they were positively hysterical!
Gillian - exactly - THIS is something that would happen to me - I need an Editor!
Badas, I hear what you say and can only suggest you're a braver man than I! Oh, and I didn't get £200 from anywhere, I just assumed that it couldn't possibly be 'free' - why, that'd mean ANYONE could do it!
Thanks for the comments, folks.

debutnovelist said...

Hi Debs and all
Interesting post, especially as I have just bought a K***** and know lots of writers who are publishing this way. I think I agree with Badas that it is, or can be a good thing. But even if you have the courage for self-promotion (which lets face it anyone with a blog and FB/Twitter account is already doing)and the ability to proof-read, I worry about the energy required to get the job done. (Additional editing, technical mullarkey, more promotion, promotion, promotion ...)I guess not much will be left over for writing, which is what I like doing. If only someone would pay me to do it!
AliB