Lots of activity in the blogosphere about self publishers recently. It seems Hugh Howey had someone do a study about numbers of self published titles in the Amazon best seller lists, and then did some data extrapolation to determine estimated sales numbers and estimated dollar figures for sales, and he found that self published titles were beginning to become the majority of ebooks sold. Others jumped on his data, and reblogged it, making their own comments about it.
On top of it all is the old “tsunami of crap” argument resurfacing, that as more and more people self publish, more and more “bad” books surface. Apparently by “bad books” they mean poorly edited, typo-laden works, mostly by self publishers. Maybe they mean bad stories as well, but mostly they talk about the quality of the craft used to write these books. In other words, the stuff that a good copy editor will find and presumably correct.
Well, I wonder where I fall. Am I part of the tsunami or are my works professional?
Here was my hope. Most of the short stories I’ve published have been through the wringer with readers. Then I put them through my wringer again as well. I read them and reread them, correcting turns of a phrase and adding in missing words and fixing typos that generally were something like using “fee” instead of “feel” (in other words, typos that the spell check didn’t find).
So I thought (and still think) I’m putting out a pretty good product, even though I haven’t had anyone “professionally” edit these works. Am I the best judge of that? Probably not. The reader is the best judge.
But maybe the stories aren’t good enough. Maybe I’m not a good enough storyteller. Again, I can’t judge. I think the stories are pretty good; they’re the stories I wanted to tell. So who does judge? Readers, I’d guess.
Yes, I made three of my covers. But I had four of them done for me by a professional who happens to be a good friend, someone who has designed covers for small presses. Two of them are a little rough, I know. My latest, for DEAD OR ALIVE, looks pretty decent to me.
I started with these short stories because they’ve been through the wringer, and because my hope was that they’d generate some sales and some income which I could then use to pay professionals for editing and covers on my longer works. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve only got the short stories, a 14 story collection, and a Disney guidebook (under my real name) out there so far. I don’t do much promotion; I’m not on Facebook every day suggesting that people buy my stories. I don’t tweet; I have been less than regular with updates to my blog. I’ve hoped that somehow word will spread and a few will get sold here and there. We’ll see.
So the question remains: am I part of the “tsunami of crap”? Who gets to say whether I am or not?
In my estimation, the only ones who get to make that judgement are readers. So far they haven’t voted enough to let me know one way or another (all of my reviews are 5 star so far, but there aren’t many of them), but I intend on continuing to plug away until either something happens, or nothing at all happens.
Thanks if you’ve bought one of my stories. Heck, thanks if you’re even here reading this. I appreciate any recognition I get.