Thursday, 23 January 2014

Self-Publishing Concerns

I've noticed that as I do my research to see whether self-publishing my LEGENDS OF GALRIA series is the route I want to go, I'm noticing a consistent trend that makes me worried that it's not really what I want to do. At the same time though, I do feel that I could bring a breath of fresh air to the market depending on your outlook. I know that sounds egotistical but I need to have some self-awareness, right?

I've been taking the time to read some self-published books that are available over Amazon, and reading some reviews for many more. Some of the common trends I've seen are cause for concern with regards to whether people enjoy reading indie authors' works. I don't intend to name authors or their books (because I'm not in the mood for "shaming" those who are in the same industry as me), but I do sufficiently feel like some of these concerns are common enough that you could pick up any number of indie books and see one or more of them popping up.

For example, one issue I've seen is flat and unsympathetic characters that do not get enough development over the course of the story to warrant their existence. I feel that if a character is in the book as the protagonist or antagonist, they need to develop to some extent or become relatable to the reader to be worth writing. A character who is angsty throughout the work or is overly obnoxious to everyone else is not fun to read about, unless they develop into someone the reader can like. Perhaps that's a bit of a generalization, but that's the way I see it.

Perhaps the basis for that perception is what some of my beta-readers have said about earlier drafts of one of my books. The protagonist was very whiny and angsty, and there were only a few interesting characters the reader liked. When one of those interesting characters was killed, people put the book down because the MC was not worth reading about, because there wasn't enough development and he was too much of a whiner.

Another issue I've seen come up is the lack of editing. Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and improper word usage are all over the place and across a huge spectrum in terms of severity. Part of it has to do with the author not being a native English speaker. I've seen that in at least one case, and they essentially received a lot of flak for it from people who purchased the book. However, since they are a furry author, perhaps the drama and backlash is to be expected since the whole furry community is terrifying when it comes to drama.

Other authors don't have as much of an excuse for a lack of editing. It shows a lack of care or concern for their own product, in my opinion. I don't feel that there's any reason to miss errors beyond having a poor grasp of the English language. I may be a bit harsh in saying that, but I believe that much of writing has to do more with editing drafts than writing. I wrote my novel 4 years ago. Everything else since then has been edits. ;)

I'm hoping that when it comes time to start working on CreateSpace, after I've obtained a cover I'm happy with and after my beta-readers get back to me, that I won't run into reviews that gripe about my handle of the English language. Or about flat characters.

Or that my characters are too gay. Part and parcel with a GLBT offering, I suppose. ;)

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