Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Why Quality Matters (A Reader's Perspective)

Charity Tinnin @CharityTinnin: Long-term success as an indie or hybrid author depends on a number of factors. Some of which you can't control. However, one you can absolutely control is the quality of the product you introduce into the market. This fall, Jessica and I will focus on giving you resources to help you put out a great book. But first, our YA friend, Kim Vandel makes the case for why quality matters from a reader's perspective.

Why Quality Matters (A Reader's Perspective)

by Kim Vandel @KimVandel

Hi, my name is Kim, and I’m a reading addict. A bookaholic. My craving for a good story is never satisfied, so I keep a stash of reading material on my nightstand, my computer, and even my phone. I need to have a book available at all times otherwise I break into a cold sweat and start to get the shakes. 

Perhaps you can understand how exciting the advent of indie publishing was for me since it meant more books to read. When I purchased an e-reader, it was like letting a sugar junkie go trick-or-treating on Halloween. I loaded that baby up. 

Then a pattern began to emerge with some of the self-published books I bought. My excitement would dwindle as I started to read. Three pages into the book I’d find myself doing more editing than reading. “Than” and “then” are not interchangeable. 

After a few poorly (sometimes horribly) written books, I found myself less and less willing to read anything indie. I gravitated toward traditionally published books, thinking that if it had gone through a publisher it had at least been professionally edited. Yes, there are plenty of traditionally published (professionally edited) books that are less than print-worthy. I just figured my odds were better with a traditional publisher. I admit it. It was pure laziness. I wanted someone to sift through the millions of books out there for me. I wanted someone to point me in the direction of the houses that gave out full-size candy bars, not homemade fruit leather. 

Fortunately, indie publishing is not what it was a couple of years ago or even what it was six months ago. Talented authors are investing the time and money it takes to produce a quality product. They learn the craft of writing and create a story worth reading. They act as a general contractor for their book, securing professional editing, formatting, and cover art. They build a frame that will make their masterpiece shine. 

I’ve seen some fantastic authors emerge, authors who’ve proved that an independently published book can be just as good—or better—than a traditionally published book. A few hard-working authors restored my faith in indie publishing and took away my excuse for being lazy. But I’m okay with that. There’s plenty of room on my e-reader, and my craving for a good story won’t be going away anytime soon. I’m pretty sure I’ll be a reading addict for life. 

Kim's right that indie publishing has come a long way in the last two-three years. The cream is rising to the top, and we could not be more excited about that fact. So we have to ask: what book(s) convinced you to give indie publishing a second look? 

TWEETABLES

Bookaholic @KimVandel shares why she stopped reading indie books ... and then started again. #IndieTuesday (Click to Tweet)

In #IndiePub, quality matters. #Reader @KimVandel gives her perspective on why. #IndieTuesday (Click to Tweet)




Kim Vandel is a writer and voracious reader from the Seattle suburbs. She won the 2013 Cascade Award in the Unpublished Young Adult category, and her current project is a YA fantasy set in Washington state. It features plenty of coffee but no vampires. You can find her at kimvandel.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest.

23 comments:

  1. Kim - I had a similar experience when I bought my first Kindle. I read some decent Indie books, but also some so horrible that I couldn't continue them. Like you, I began reading traditionally published books. I found, however, that even with these I found errors and mistakes. I noticed a difference in those that were published years earlier (before publishing houses started slashing jobs and positions) were edited better. I've also returned to reading Indie books because there are some authors that take the time to have the book print ready before publishing. Thanks for posting from a reader's perspective.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Joan. And I agree. I think traditional publishing has really suffered because of the changes. It makes me feel even more grateful for indie authors who are putting in the hard work to create great books.

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    2. I wish I could find the link, but I recently saw a report that surveyed a ton of indie and trade published books and found a higher percentage of errors in trade books (by a significant percentage...I was shocked!). It really opened my eyes (and made me stand proud for my indie friends) -- and that's the truth, many indies go above and beyond to make sure their books are error free. They know that when push comes to shove its their name and their name alone behind that book so it puts extra (good) pressure on making that final product shine. That's not to say there are indies who don't write a first draft and toss it online, they're there. But gladly, they're now in the minority.

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  2. Heather Day Gilbert's God's Daughter was incredibly well done. That was when I began to really consider going solo.

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    1. Heather is one of the authors who helped change my mind! She's dedicated to great stories and great writing.

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    2. Heather's a wonderful author. So glad she's part of the Christian Indie tribe!

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    3. Oh, I just love you all! Thanks for the kind words! I'm so thrilled if anything I've done has helped open doors for authors. Most of what I'm reading now is indie books and I love championing these authors. You are so right--indie books have changed, and I believe they're now paving the way for what trends WILL come.

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  3. There are so many great Indie Authors out there now. I'm so thankful you all have acted as pioneers and given us excellence to shoot for! It's your willingness to step out that have given authors everywhere a real choice in publishing.

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    1. We couldn't do what we do without people to support us! Thanks for being one of those people! :)

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    2. Willingness to publish is nothing without people willing to read! We're just as grateful for those readers taking chances on us ;)

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  4. Great post, Kim!! I only recently stepped into the Indie waters (a little late buying into the Nook craze *hangs head*), and thus far I've been spoiled enough to read only wonderfully written stories. Including Charity Tinnin's and Jessica Keller's, ahem. ;0) And what is this fantasy YA story of yours, Kim? Clearly I need it!! Love you guys!!

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  5. Hi, Mary! I'm so excited for Storm Siren! Hopefully I'll be able to share more about my own book soon.

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    1. Can I ditto you both? 'Cause I need to have both fantasies in my hands ASAP ;)

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    2. Ditto infinity. I've already pre-ordered Storm Siren so I know it'll be coming my way soon (just not quickly enough!) but...must hack Kim's computer for her fantasy....

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    1. I was just going to say that I totally agree about Heather ... just read Miranda Warning ... such great work.

      Thank you, Edie!

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    2. Thank you, Shelli! I'm so thrilled you liked Miranda Warning--it's extra inspiration to get busy on that next in the series!

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  7. I love reading Indie because I don't want some fat cat publisher exec deciding what I might or might not like. I like what I like and I am able to find it much easier now. Great job, Kim! (Julia)

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    1. Thanks, Julia! You're the kind of reader that indie authors love!

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  8. Like this article, and have struggled with poor editing across the board for years. Best of all, today I learned what "Indies" are. Seriously! :-) And I'm not ashamed to admit it. I backed off the whole publishing end of writing for several years, choosing instead to work on my wip without that pressure, so I've not read the articles that would have clued me in earlier. Thanks for the enlightenment!

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    1. Thanks for joining the conversation Kay! I love that you've been devoting time to your WIP, sometime we writers need to dive into our work and tune out everything else. If you're interested in the indie path Charity and I blog here about it every Tuesday.

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  9. I agree! I've read indie titles that rival (or beat) the traditional standards.

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