Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

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

68 Comments

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.

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

68 thoughts on “Self-published Books – You Get What You Pay For?

  1. I absolutely love your little rant. It’s true. I’m just starting out in all of this, and it is a lot of work. I haven’t even gotten to the self-publishing thing yet. I’m working on my first novel, or at least the first one I intend to publish. Reading your post definitely helped though, because it helps me understand there will always be haters. But it’s important to keep working at it. So good for you! πŸ™‚

    Like

  2. I want to self publish and I know the difficulties of doing so, but it isn’t exactly easy when I keep hearing that I need money to pay for cover design, and editing. I understand that but I am really good at catching my own mistakes on paper when I read through my writing. People think I have to hire someone to promote it for me and drive around to bookstores asking for them to stock a few copies of the book. We have options for ebook publishing now. For free where all an author has to do is make a cover and format it properly for smashwords or amazon. I am highly not interested in sharing the rewards for my book with someone else when it was me who slaved and cried over it.

    Like

    • Honestly though? A great cover and an editor–as long as you don’t pay thousands of dollars for one–may just pay for themselves. But it’s true that if you only plan to sell to a few people, like friends and family, you don’t need to spend any money at all. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Thanks for having speaking for all of us who are self-published. It is a hard business and I have to say just like you said that when I read a published book with the resources that they have-I always find atleast one issue in grammar. This article has prompted me to follow you! Happy writing! Leigh

    Like

    • Thanks very much, Leigh. πŸ™‚ It’s true, there will always be errors in books as long as humans are writing them and proofreading them.
      Happy writing to you too!

      Like

  4. Pingback: Self-published Books – You Get What You Pay For? | Martians Attack!

  5. I don’t know a word that properly describes how exuberant this made me feel. Maybe that’s the word. Amazing rant.

    “Name one profession other than writing where you can pay the person producing the work under five dollars for five thousand hours of work.”

    I don’t think anybody has ever hit a nail as squarely on the head as that sentence. That’s perfection. Thank you for this! I’m going to be sharing the crap out of this…

    Like

  6. Here, here, I’m praising and sharing your rant! πŸ™‚

    Like

  7. https://fortheinvisible.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-priest/

    This link shows a little bit of the hard work one young author has done for her book.

    Like

  8. There is a very young nurse who likes to write about special topics in religion. She posted one blog article recently that tells a story of how she has created a book about A Day in the Life of a Priest. At present she has had some trouble deciding whether to self publish or go with an established publisher. What do you think? https://fortheinvisible.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-priest/

    Like

    • I’ll have to go give it a read when I have a chance. It does sound like an interesting project.
      The decision whether to pursue traditional publishing or go with self-publishing is a tough one for many of us these days. Most of the time we find there’s no choice. Thanks for the links, Beth. πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. Trying to catch up on posts here. Proofreaders are human. Humans make mistakes. One of my groups recently noted a book was a whole page missing! The author was aware and tried her best to rectify the situation. Human error. Facebook can turn into a nasty place at times when people start to rant about things that, actually, are low down in the order of things. Yes a typo is annoying. But when people start coming out with lines like “there’s nothing worse than….” they should stop and think. There are so many worse things happening in the world today. I’m glad you skipped genocide too. (If I’ve made any typos or grammatical errors please feel free NOT to point them out to me lol.)

    Like

    • Yes, there are far worse things than the occasional typo. If machines existed that could accurately proofread, there would likely be machines that could write books. Where would be the fun in that?
      And don’t worry about typos with me, Wendy. I never mentioned them unless asked before I became an editor – I’m even less likely to bring my day job to my pleasure reading now. πŸ˜‰ Haha. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeah, fcku her and her sthtiy attitude to typos.

    (If a snarky comment is worth posting once on the wrong post, it’s worth posting again on the right one)

    Like

  11. Shared to FB. The advent of the digital, on demand, publishing era has flipped the conventional catch 22. It used to be that getting published was Sisyphus’ Hill to most writers but the marketing was pretty much a given. Now anyone can be published and succeeding at marketing is the crap shoot. I guess that when it comes to catches, “22” backwards is still “22.”

    Like

  12. Reblogged this on Books, Books, and more Books and commented:
    This is very true!

    Like

  13. Pingback: Self-Published Books Are Real Books Too | Singular Fiction

  14. Well said Linda!
    Some people are so up themselves!!! I don’t get why they want to put self-published authors down anyway!
    We are all human, not bloody robots!
    It made me laugh that the person who complained about the grammar error, needed to look a little more closely at her own!
    😑😑😑

    Like

  15. “The preacher’s kid or the town cop’s kid has is always held to a higher standard….” – Sigh – so much of this growing ‘topic’ actually makes me hopeful – From my perspective, as more negative reviews come through, as more people choose to moan and groan over the ‘self-published’ world, here and there….just means more folks are choosing to read self-published works – πŸ™‚
    The book club I de-camped from 3 years ago, for their refusal to even ‘think’ about reading a self-published work, is now scrambling to find enough library copies of self-published works, so they can order in for their next monthly meet –
    Sooooo… self publised authors, after you be nice to the nasty commentator, go forth & always remember to donate one or more copies to your local library.
    Many libraries are starting to offer Self-e digital publishing services, here’s link to Library Self-e program: http://self-e.libraryjournal.com/

    You could also, make friends with your local librarian/book club programmer – I recently watched a local, self-published author, scramble to find extra books to sell, when he was a guest author at a book club meet – so if you go, take plenty of copies to sell, with you…… πŸ™‚

    Librarians and book club folks are some of your best, very best, fan bases to launch from – πŸ™‚ Because they’ll hotly defend you and your work, (which means you don’t have to….) when a typo slips through – Why? Cuz you were just so durn funny, witty, interesting, personable when you sat at their book club meeting and joined in the discussion… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • I do indeed have every intention to try to get my book in as many libraries as possible. I believe it’s taken more seriously all the time, in some circles. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your experience, my dear. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I just finished going through a book for a friend, she does the same for me when it’s my turn. Good intentions aside, things slip through. I kind of roll with it, she gets apoplectic. With herself not me, with me she’s very nice but she gets so hard on herself for missing it. Self publishing is tough, time consuming and terrifying at times, we could all be a little kinder to ourselves.

    Tell whoever that was you were mad at I said to “Shhhhhhh”.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My replies to silly complaints are always best kept in my head. However, I would have been so tempted to reply to the complaint…”It could have been worst.” Of course, my autocorrect would have changed it to “It could have been wool.” And I wouldn’t have noticed until I went back later to read a slew of rants about wool. πŸ™‚

    http://judithabarrett.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I wonder what these people think when cars and appliances get recalled. Typos occur in almost every written thing. My wife finds them in newspapers, magazines, books and, fortunately, my blog. Well, it’s fortunate when I ask her to read them before I hit publish.

    When someone shares their thoughts, their experiences and their emotions, we should be grateful. The people who would snark over a couple of typos aren’t worth following.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Thanks for taking a stand on this! I would add that self-publishing is more about equality of freedom of expression for those of us who are unable to pay big bucks for editors and publishers. Many unsung awesome writers have missed out being published because of this and many of those published by professional editor/publishers wouldn’t be that awesome without all that ‘expert’ help they received. Amen to self-publishing!
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hear hear Linda! You get on that soapbox hun!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. powerful, a strong wake up call!!

    Like

  22. So, so, so true! I know it’s worse in some genres than others, but it shows up across the board. And heavens forbid you use the wrong phrase for the time era or world type you’re writing in.

    Like

    • Ha! Yes, do your research or else. People pick apart stuff like that with such glee! :/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ug, yes. And if you’re on a role, hitting a “common” modern phrase and then trying to figure out how to make it era appropriate can really derail the momentum.

        As a reader, I can ignore quite a bit of poor grammar/bad punctuation (my worst areas), but what gets me is when the plot has holes big enough to drive a mack truck through. (Sorry romance authors – picking on you) – so many times the “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl marry for happily ever after just… doesn’t …. fit. If she hates him (or he hates her), why would they ever get back to gether after they split up in the first place? (And, the similar implausible themes that show up in sci-fi and fantasy are just as bad.)

        Like

        • I agree – I feel cheated when I read a forced happy ending. Sometimes the reunited lovers thing works, but other times they’re like trying to stick the same poles of two magnets together. πŸ˜›

          Liked by 1 person

          • Odd question time. Do you find the forced endings more, or less, irritating since you started publishing? (I’d ask about grammar, but that’s a whole different bucket of worms.)

            Like

            • Equally irritating or more, it’s hard to say. As far as grammar goes, since you mention it, I find it hard to ignore. Especially since I started editing professionally. I’m currently editing… I mean reading “A Game of Thrones.” πŸ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

              • ::Chuckles:: I think I’m thankful I don’t have an editor’s eyes, though I take my hat of in deepest thanks to those who do (and are willing to tackle… erm… read the stories that others tell.)

                Like

  23. Hey thank you…your post is an inspiration for me…😊

    Like

  24. Hear hear. I could not agree more. Put a celebrity name on it and anything will sell, and normally it’s an afterthought. Self-publishing takes a lot of courage as you are putting more of yourself out there than mass market work does. But people love to hate

    Like

  25. WordPress, give me a LOVE button stat! Hugs from me, Linds.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Right on. There’s a lot of crap out there, and some of it sells well. I’ve seen some horrible stuff :/ Everyone who reads a lot has, right? Every writer makes a cringe-worthy typo here and there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do, and we can’t help it. My 67,409-word novel has 297,185 characters in it. (That’s accurate, according to Word.) Chances are at least two of them are in the wrong order. πŸ˜›
      Thanks for your support, Joey. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 4 people

  27. Well said!! The entitlement from some readers is beyond belief. I’ve seen typos even in books published by major houses. It happens. You’d think that paying a smaller price would humble these people but no. They don’t ever consider the time the author has spent on their story. Even with free stories, you get the same entitlement. We are our own worst enemies sometimes!

    Like

Don't hesitate - jump right in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s