We’ve all seen them. Microsoft Paint cover, skewed interior type, a “Foreward [sic]” at the beginning — the bad self-published book. It’s easy to look at a book like that and snicker (admit it, you’ve done it). It’s easy to look at those badly self-published books and write them off. Why should you care about the bad decisions of other authors? One less book to compete with your Amazon ranking.
Bad self-published books impact all self-published authors.
Every time a self-published author cuts corners, every time they skimp on editing, or fail to do their research before publishing their book, quality self-published books lose a little credibility. Opponents of self-publishing thrive off of bad examples. These poorly produced books become the ugly poster child for the self-publishing industry as a whole. Authors who have spent time and money investing in a quality book get lumped in with these botched books.
This is especially frustrating in an era when more and more self-publishers are treating their books as an investment. Many of today’s self-published books rival traditionally published books in quality and marketability. But when bad books are more prevalent, the self-publishing stigma perpetuates. Unless smart self-publishers stop sneering and start sharing information, this stigma will prevail.
If you’ve self-published a quality book, you’ve done your homework. You’ve researched the market and you’ve avoided book factories and scam artists. You’ve found an editor who has experience and can improve your manuscript. You’ve worked with a cover designer to come up with a dynamic book cover to show off your work. You’ve invested time and money in the finished product. And even if you didn’t sell a million copies, you’ve still produced a book to be damn proud of.
You know what you’re doing, now help someone who doesn’t.
You don’t have to sell your marketing secrets, or adopt a Createspace nightmare as your personal project, but there’s a good case to be made for self-publishers sticking together. The next time you see an awful example of self-publishing, write a blog post about the rewards of self-publishing the right way. The next time you’re tempted to make fun of an awful book cover, Tweet your book cover designer’s website instead (your designer will appreciate it, too!). The next time someone asks your opinion on their manuscript, give them your honest opinion, and then point them toward a professional editor.
Prevent the self-published books that give your book a bad name.
Prevent a prospective author from making the same first-time mistakes you did. Prevent a prospective author from hitting “publish” immediately. Self-published authors helping self-published authors, spreading information and encouraging each other to put in the hard work. This is how more quality self-published books will come to fruition. This is how more talented authors will buck the system and get into self-publishing. This is the way we’ll bust self-publishing stigma.
Share what you know. Improve the industry.
Maybe it’s naive to think quality self-published books will ever outnumber their mass-produced, cringe-worthy counterparts. But if we work together, we can change the way people view self-publishing, and as quality becomes the standard, create a standard of quality even the snarkiest critics can’t deny.
Questions about self-publishing? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org