Thursday, October 9, 2014

God Speed, Hachette Books

The whole idea of self-publishing appeals to me up to a point - the point being that this is an opportunity for professional writers to send in their back lists, or any writer who has engaged a professional editor to try their hand.  Unfortunately, what we're ending up with for a great majority of entries is amateur hour at its worst.  It's that "100%" acceptance thing where quality control flies out the window.

So why would a reader care?  When the largest distributor of e-books (Amazon) creates its own self-publishing branch and pumps hundreds of these things a month into equal billing with professionally made novels, I'm thinking you've got a problem.  At the least it's "reader beware".  At the worst it's endangering publishers as their submissions become lost in a huge pile.  This latter issue is happening now.  I can see it in my own sales, on writer's forums, and in the reports of several large mid-range publishers struggling to survive.  How did this happen?  Simple.  We, as readers, let a single business gain control of the market.  There isn't an instance I know of where this ends up a good thing for anyone but stock holders.  In my opinion, Amazon seems hell-bent on upsetting the supply-demand formula to drown anyone other than themselves from publishing  books.

Now granted, that picture I slapped on the blog isn't particularly fair to those self-pubbers who are quite professional, thank you very much, but I doubt my esteemed peers in this area are anywhere near the majority despite some evangelical efforts on the part of a few outspoken self-pub types.  You're getting hurt by this as much as I am.

So what's a reader to do?  They can't trust the reviews since now the business of paid reviews is thriving.  No, the download count isn't much help when you've "promotional services" gaming that system as well.

Here's what you can do.  Find a publisher or self-pub author you already have seen great work from, and go to their sites and see if they are selling books directly.  Buy them there instead.  More often than not you will be rewarding the author with a higher return on their royalties, and you will help keep a good publishing company afloat despite attempts to sink it.

Or you can keep buying from Amazon until the day comes where all you find is amateur hour.

My publisher's direct buy site: Champagne Books


Anonymous said...

Right on all counts. Great post!