Was just cruising through my Yahoo mail when I found an article titled "The Big Reason Indie Authors Aren't Taken Seriously" from the Huffington Post:
"Several predictions have stated that 2012 will be “The Year of the Indie Author”. After all, 2011 saw some awfully big moments.
John Locke became the first indie to break the Kindle million-seller mark. Amanda Hocking, Queen of the indie vampire books, signed a ginormous contract with St. Martins Press. And The New York Times deigned to include indies on their best seller list, where every week at least one title – often more – are contained. By all indications, you’d expect that readers and traditional media alike would be wrapping their arms collectively around indie authors and their books into something akin to a big ‘ole hug.
And yet… not so much."
The article goes on from here, listing the reasons this is so:
Big Reason #1: Bad Editing
Big Reason #2: Quantity Over Quality
Big Reason #3 – The Lack of Gatekeepers
Big Reason #4 – Crappy Covers
Two big things I agree with: bad editing and crappy covers, both of which can really drive me bats. That's one reason I'm planning to start doing some freelance editing of self published books in the not-too-distant future, because I've been reviewing for a decade, and if there's one thing I know it's a good book from a bad. Or my take on that, I should say, which I can only assume is flawless.
As for the covers, well, that's another animal. I'm not sure what's to be done about that. Hiring photographers is an expensive undertaking. Ditto graphic artists. Plus, I'm not sure how much leeway there is with the various self publishing entities for one to substitute a custom cover over their stock choices but I believe that's getting a little better.
I also think the glossy covers are a bad choice, especially when coupled with somewhat generic covers. Compared to, say, the covers Vintage Books tends to produce – which are most often matte – glossy covers tend to look cheap.
All in all, I believe in self publishing as a means of getting your work out there in an increasingly competitive field. One just has to be sensible about it, not expecting a big publisher will pick up their book in exchange for millions. Amanda Hocking's a one-off. If you're self publishing with $ in mind you may as well not do so at all. On the other hand, if your aim is to see your name in print and sell a few books go for it.
I'm not set up to start the process of freelance editing just yet but that's coming sometime this year. It's a necessity for self published writers and, let's face it, a lucrative route for me, personally. I've done loads and loads of it, plus have had a finger on the pulse of publishing for a decent chunk of my life. Seems a natural extension of what I'm already doing.
But check out the article if you're interested. It's a really informative one.