Linda G. Hill

Life in progress


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Self-published Books – You Get What You Pay For?

Warning: rant ahead.

There’s a discussion going on in one of my Facebook groups and I’m having a very hard time staying out of it. So lucky you, you get to hear the side that’s going on in my head.

The complaint was a misused word. The sentence they are “Ugh!”ing over included the phrase, “something worst.” The original complainer called it a grammatical error. I pointed out it could have been a typo, and asked if it was one of many. She said it was the only one she’d found, so I said it was understandable: even a spellchecker wouldn’t have picked it up, to which she replied, “True probably self published.” Note the total lack of grammatical issues with her reply. (Sorry, I get sarcastic when I’m pissed off.) What I wanted to say was that even had it been edited and proofread professionally by a traditional publisher’s editing department, they hire humans. And humans are fallible.

Oh, but this isn’t the worst of it all. Someone in the group actually had the gall to say that with cheap, self-published books, you get what you pay for. First let me say that we self-published authors, no matter how much effort we put into a book, have to stay competitive. That means charging less than the big publishers do, because we don’t have the fan base who will buy anything as long as it has our name on it. That means, yes, undervaluing our work much of the time. But even so.

Name one profession other than writing where you can pay the person producing the work under five dollars for five thousand hours of work. Think about it. How long does it take you to read a three hundred page book? Do you think the writer wrote and edited it faster than you read it? Did you pay minimum wage for the number of hours it took you to read it? I don’t care who you’re reading, you’re getting much more than you paid for, and chances are if it’s a self-published author, you’re getting a lot more of their blood, sweat, and tears than you are of an author with a team of editors and marketers behind them.

End rant.