Indie Author Stigma (Part II)

Indie Authors have to be better

I’ve seen typos in some editions of traditional books. It is a rare phenomenon, but it does happen. How does a reader react to such an occurrence? They will probably react the same way that I usually do. I’ll blame the proof-reader, the editor, or the printer. The author is never blamed.

However, if it’s an ebook from a  self-published indie-author, guess who the reader will blame? That’s right, the responsibility for everything squarely rests on the shoulders of the author.

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Photo by Nic McPhee and used under the Creative Commons license

Just because a document can be easily uploaded, that does not mean it should or must be done. I can throw my cat out of the second floor window pretty easily. Does that mean that I should? Certainly not. There are no circumstances that would allow or justify such an action. Yet this seems to be the mentality among many indie authors. Judging from the quality  of the indie books that I’ve seen, I believe that I have made a correct assessment.

Many ebooks have been uploaded simply because it can be done. Therefore it serves as a sort of vain purpose. I wonder if they realize the damage they’re doing to the rest of us.

It has been my privilege and honor to blog, chat, learn, and teach with some other indies who work and strive in order to produce a quality product. Some I’ve met on-line like Diane Tibert, Therin Knight, Robert Hill, Wayne DePriest, Ben Garrido, Nonnie Jules, and Bruce Borders.

I also work closely in critique circles with other authors through the San Antonio Writer’s Guild, like Marilyn Hudson Tucker, April Grunspan, Charles Tate, Suzanne Daniels, Florence Wall, and Stewart Smith.  I can’t wait to read their material. They are all great authors and deserve respect.

Is it fair that after all of the intense work, that we should all be lumped into the same category with a bunch of amateurs who are merely masquerading as authors? What should be the strategy for High Quality Indie Authors to separate themselves from the rest?

22 thoughts on “Indie Author Stigma (Part II)

  1. Thanks for the kind words. One of the most beautiful books I ever picked up had so many errors in word choice, sentence structure, and spelling tht I put it back down without buying it. I was fascinated by the topic, but the errors were like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. You make an excellent point.

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  2. Thanks for the kudos, Ernesto. There serm to be a lot of hybrid publishing options popping up right now. I’m very happy with mine largely because it helps me avoid the unfortunate associations with the “never seen a proofreader crowd.”

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  3. Thanks for the mention, Ernesto. I accept it as part of the writing process to produce a quality work, though I’m sure I and my editor still miss things.

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  4. This is the problem for many indie authors; they are all placed in the same heap regardless if they pay attention to quality or not. I think this is part of the reason why many indie authors create small presses to separate themselves from their publisher. It sounds much better for Diane Tibert to be published by Quarter Castle Publishing than Diane Tibert published by Diane Tibert.

    Unless the ease of publishing is reduced, there will always be those individuals who write what they want, slap a cover on it and hit publish without editing.

    Thanks for the mention, Ernesto. I think my fear of finding mistakes keeps me working towards eliminating as many as possible.

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    • Thanks Diane for your input. You know how I admire your work. I like the idea of creating a small press. Sounds like what some musicians did with their own labels, or early Hollywood celebrities creating United Artists.

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      • It is a good idea, my next book will be under an Indie press, & I’m curious if that alone will make a difference. Perhaps if there was some sort of indie author collective/small press where authors still took the DIY approach but were listed under said indie collective publisher name? (Does that make any sense? lol)

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  5. I sadly agree with this! I try very hard to support my fellow indies, and now I know how desperately hard it is to catch every little error in a book, but sometimes I feel like indies do just publish because they can. So … if you read my book and spot an error, for the love of all that is holy, let me know!!

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    • There are different classes of indie quality. I wouldn’t sink my teeth into a fellow author who had a few errors here and there in an entire manuscript. However, I’ve seen a few where the first page was loaded with mistakes.

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  6. Maybe a group needs to be started to do a stamp of approval on indie published books – that the indie author submits the book, and the organization puts a stamp of quality assurance regarding proof reading.
    One of the biggest benefit of traditional publishing is the stamp of quality control. There’s got to be a way to do it.

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  7. It’s funny, I was just saying this exact thing to my sister the other day. And yes, even the part about wondering who is to blame when I see typos in traditional books. I accidentally said, “when the typeset” is wrong, then I laughed and added, “okay what century did I pull that from?” LOL! I’ve caught error in traditional books very frequently, actually, but whenever I do, there is no more than ONE spelling error per book. And a couple of times I have found where they normally start new chapters on the right-side page, but then added a left-side start to a random chapter for no apparent reason. But I agree with you, it is a shame that anyone can self-publish anything without reading it over first, or worse yet, reading it over and not knowing that they even have errors. And by the way, thank you for not throwing your cat out the upper window! 😀

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