Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Opinions: Self-Publishing Authors

It's Tuesday!  And it's time for me to shell out my opinions!  This week it's book-related.

My topic of choice today: self-publishing

for my review click here
Thus far, I've only read 2 self-published books.  The first one, called A Dewdrop Away, was a book that was written by a local author who works at my favorite, family-owned coffee shop (The Coffee Trade, if anyone is interested).  I bought her book because I was impressed that she had written, published, and promoted this book all by herself, so I wanted to support her efforts.  Her book wasn't all that bad, really.  It was original and creative, and had some good parts.  It wasn't perfect, however.  I felt the writing needed a little more work, maybe a little more editing.  This book could've benefited from an agent or publisher reading through this, or at the very least from a more critical group of readers before publication.  But she's on her way to being a great writer, I hope she keeps it up.
The second book was a BOTM (Book Of The Month) for a reading group.  I read it earlier this month, and it's called My Name Is Rapunzel.  I gave it a try because the ebook was cheap and the synopsis was intriguing.  Plus, I felt generous.  I mean, we should support new and aspiring authors, so I read it.....
For my review click here
.....and it was terrible.  It's in my 1-star Shelf Of Shame.  The author had a great premise, but failed horribly in the execution.  I don't normally give such a harsh review, I really don't.  I'm usually pretty generous and try to find some good points for every story I read, while being tactful with my critiques.  But this book irritated me so much that I really didn't have anything good to say about it in my review.  In my opinion, this author was lazy, impatient, and too quick to publish.  Her one editor was her best friend, and she copied and pasted whole chapters so you ended up reading the same thing twice.  As you can see, I still fuming over this read.

So based on these two experiences, what do I think of self-publishing?  Well, I think self-published books should be approached with great caution.  I have a hunch that the majority of them are terrible, with only a few being worth a look.  Based on my experiences so far (one decent read and one bad read), I'm going to look upon self-published reads with a certain degree of suspicion and misgiving.

Here's my theory about self-publishing: some authors self-publish because they want to get their work out there and be recognized, others self-publish because they don't take criticism very well but want to be an author anyway.  The former has potential to be a great author, the latter is most likely going to be a terrible author.  Personally I think that in order to be a good author, one should accept criticism from at least one trusted source and use it to improve his or her work.  Writing is a form a self-expression, but writing a book also means that you're trying to give something new and wonderful to a specific audience, which in turn means that you need to please them as well as yourself.  If you're going to self-publish, at the very least try to find one or more critical reviewers beforehand who can look through your work and give you some constructive feedback, so you can improve your story and turn it into something that was better than before.  This professional can be a publishing agent, a professional editor, another author, even your English teacher/professor.  Just make sure it's someone who can look at your book critically and without bias.  Your work deserves any improvements you can make, so don't be so impatient to publish that you decide to skip this rather important step.

I applaud those who have the courage to publish their stories, and I wish to support new authors, but if an author truly wants approval from their readers, they need to give them something to love.  And that something requires lots of work and dedication.  It requires hours of time, a huge amount of revising and rewriting, and lots of constructive criticism from other people before it can be sent out to the world at large.  I will read a self-published book every once in a blue moon, but I look for quality in my books, and I will rate a book based on the quality I see.  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

If anyone has any opinions on this topic please share!

1 comment:

  1. I have a a couple bad experiences with self published books but I've actually had more spectacular reads than bad ones. I think the key is only reading the ones that appeal to me. I'm a new GFC follower =D
    Monique @ Mo_Books