Indie Author Stigma (Part I)

It is a true force that indie authors have to deal with every day . One look at some free previews on Amazon will clearly demonstrate this fact. I saw one where the blurb had typos, and then the author was on the forums lamenting about his lack of sales. On another, the first sentence had a quotation mark instead of an apostrophe (…don”t tell me…). I did not have to search for hours to find these. They are readily available, and within minutes you can find some as well.

pen&paper

Photo by Joel Montes de Oca (used under creative commons license)

Remember the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Like many indie authors, I don’t have the money to pay a professional editor. However, I take the time to make at least three editing passes, before daring to present it to my critique group. After listening to their suggestions, I’ll polish up another draft and send it off to beta readers. Another polishing pass (remember, each pass can create more typos) and then I read it out loud, slowly and carefully, to ensure the work that will bear my name is as good as it can be.

Even with all of that, I have still managed to put out a short story that dropped a word out of a sentence. I still don’t know how that happened, because the missing word was present in the original document. I’ve fixed it, so no harm no foul, but it has made me more diligent.

Remember, we’re not just authors. We are independent businesses; our books, poetry and stories are products. Yes, they are marketable and sell-able products like any other. All the promotions we may do, or slick art work on the cover can’t hide sub-standard writing. Conversely, a cover that looks like a lunch-hour project will not compel anyone to discover your writing either.

Be careful and think of all aspects before uploading anything. There’s a great blog series by Diane Tibert to help you through the entire process, if you would like more detailed advice.

Seen any poor examples out there? What do you do to protect your writing reputation?

10 thoughts on “Indie Author Stigma (Part I)

  1. I totally know what you mean. But then there are some truly abysmal books that still become popular. I read Twilight even had a major publisher, and I reached page 30 before the lack of craft made me put it down. That’s become mainstream. Reading isn’t cool anymore. Viewing crappily put together words is cool as long as it’s about a confused teenage girl and an abusive, ripped man. As for how I protect myself: haven’t gotten published yet 😉 Some day.

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    • If you start self-pubbing, you’re going to need a procedure to prevent errors.
      I found a copy of a popular erotic novel in the sci-fi section of B&N last weekend. I showed it to my wife and randomly flipped open to a page. We found eight errors (not typos) in three paragraphs. Five adverbs and three different “hack-style” speaker tags.
      Heaven help us.

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  2. What you say is true. I picked up a self-pubbed print book that had a gorgeous, professional-looking dust cover and beautiful binding. The back copy text had errors. The front flap text had errors. Still, I decided to give the book a chance. The front page had errors. As an ex-English teacher, I knew I would be twitching if I pressed on and read the book, even though I found the topic fascinating.

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  3. That link to Diane Tibert is a blank page. I was interested in it. What you are saying is advice we should all take something from. Its a rat race out here and if you are not diligent you will pay a price. I am thinking about moving my product from my publisher and going on my own. They raised the price of my ebook and won’t change it so I am annoyed by the control they have over my product. That;s another topic.

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  4. Ernesto, thank you for sharing my blog. That is very kind of you.

    The expense of an editor certainly stops many writers from hiring one. I’ve also read where some writers won’t hire one because they feel their words should be published as is, that there is nothing wrong with them.

    I have learned like you have that even when you edit several times, mistakes can still appear. Even after an editor looks at it, mistakes can still occur. I see them in traditionally published books too. In one book I read, the editor had moved two sentences from one paragraph to another but failed to delete them in the first instance. The paragraphs were separated by only two short paragraphs, so it was very noticeable…to a reader.

    Humans are not perfect, so if a book has a few minor errors (say 1 every 50 pages), I forgive them.

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