I’ve already mentioned in some of my reviews and recommendations that I’ve been reading some Indie (self-published) stuff lately. In the past, it’s been hard to identify exactly which pieces are not total garbage. Quite seriously, most people are extremely gunshy about reading things not put out by major publishers–not because they like what the major houses are selling (quite honestly, it’s a limited spectrum of voices that DO NOT always represent what people desire,) but because too many authors are not authors–they are merely people who wanted to put their name on a book.
Too many people refuse to edit, redraft, or put serious effort into their work and have been lured in by promises of “indie press” companies that seem to promise their book will be the next best-seller. They are usually easy to identify: cover art obviously done by Deviant-art users whose portfolios are mostly filled with anthro/furry erotica and Title/Text featuring the Papyrus font. Those “houses” are typically geared to make money off of authors and not sales, so they don’t care. Their status quo is “good enough” so that the author sends their check and another crappy Amazon listing goes live… don’t be that guy/girl. (Don’t publish until it’s a highly crafted piece that’s ready for the market.)
I’ve picked up books before, turned the spine to find Xulon, Tate Publishing, Createspace, etc. and had to find a restroom in order to wash my hands after. Some companies and authors are downright terrible. BUT NOT ALL OF THEM ARE. It only takes a couple kids pooping in the swimming pool to make the rest of the waters nasty for the rest.
Here’s my case in point: I recently got back into reading some indie stuff (mainly via Amazon Createspace) because of good marketing on books done right… I contacted a few authors directly because the marketing was so good that at first and second glance I could not honestly tell whether or not it was an indie book or a major publishing house. that leads me here: an article by Lindsay Buroker about Amazon’s marketing/advertising.
I like how she breaks down some analysis for a break-even point on some of her sales using a structure that pays per clicks and shows her profitability. Very seriously, it’s making me second guess my previous opinion that all self-published stuff ought to just be avoided. When an author is serious enough to actually invest in a third party marketing strategy, they have enough confidence in their book to actually shell out money to do things right. It’s even got me thinking about testing the waters with my sci-fi, just as long as I’ve got some support in order to stay out of the deep end of the pool with all the brown floaters.