First a couple of items of news, sort of. First of all, Naked Reader Press has put up a preview of Kate Paulk’s upcoming novel, ConVent. Kate is one of those writers who constantly surprises me. She can do alternate history (Impaler) with a twist of the fantastical and then she can be split-your-sides funny laced with a healthy dose of cynicism and WTF (ConVent). Any way, the first scene from ConVent is up at The Naked Truth and the book will be available for purchase the weekend of Oct. 21st.
The next bit of news is that The Naked Truth will be featuring previews of several new novels over the next few weeks, including Quicksand by C. S. Laurel, Cat’s Paw by Robert A. Hoyt, and my own Nocturnal Serenade. There is also a guest post by Jim Snover, author of the wonderful steampunk/western short story Blackie, that will be up on the blog sometime within the week.
As for the thought or two, do you remember when I blogged about how readers are beginning to look closer at what e-titles they buy? As proof of that, there is a new thread on the kindle boards this morning asking how to tell what titles are written by “indies” and what titles are not. Now, before you get excited, the original poster isn’t wanting to know what books and short stories are written by indies because he wants to buy them. Quite the opposite in fact. He wants to know so he can avoid them. A quick look at the responses show that most of those answering are concerned by exactly what I — and so many others — predicted. Poor editing, poor story construction, poor cover art, etc. No longer is the low price enough to entice them into buying a title. They’ve been burned before — too often, according to some of them. Now they want e-books and short stories that only come from established publishers.
Does this presage a quick death to indie publishing in the digital world? Nah. But it does point out that authors, established and newbies, who want to go this route need to make sure they are putting out a quality product. Editing, and not just copy editing and proofreading, is a must. Decent cover art is also a must. Now, I’m not sure about having “professional” reviews as some of the commenters suggested. After all, for most of these so-called pro reviews, you have to pay. That sort of defeats the purpose, imo.
What this means is that we, as writers going the indie route, need to make sure the product we put out is as good, if not better, than that put out by traditional publishers. Mind you, in a lot of cases that’s not saying much. But take a look at the e-books you’ve downloaded, especially the free ones. How many have had weird fonts or strange formatting? I’ll be honest, I’ve seen more than that than I have of e-books with horrible spelling or punctuation. In fact, when I’ve seen complaints about that, and I’ve checked for myself, the spelling errors have usually been from the reader and not the author. But, there have been spelling and grammar mistakes I’ve seen and, usually, I can attribute them to the author relying on spell-check and grammar-check. Please, DO NOT DO THAT.
Any way, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the fundamentals of what makes a good e-book. I’ll probably do that for Mad Genius Club for The Naked Truth later. This was just to put the bug in the ear of all those who are considering self-publishing to be aware of the fact that there is a movement among some readers of e-books not to buy indies because of all the bad ones they’ve read before. The moral of the story is to make sure you have the best product possible and that you have enough of a preview available for your potential readers to show not only that you can write but that you also hook them with the plot and the characters.