Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Indie Book Quality

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today is a post about something I've noticed has changed over the last twelve months. No huge advice, nothing to shake a stick at, but something I think you all need to hear. Grab your coffee and a comfy chair and let's get going!

If you happened to see the 12 Days of Review Requests event finale this past Saturday, you'll know there were well over twelve books chosen for review in 2015. I started out the event with the resolute promise I wouldn't go over my twelve book allotment. But, that was short lived.

You see, the samples I was downloading from Amazon were of better quality than many of the ones from books pitched in last year's event. Last year, I believe I went over my allotment by just two. Heck, it might've been just one. My memory fails in this matter.

This year was different. It was overwhelmingly amazing. It seemed each and every book I opened, I had a hard time releasing before I got to the last page. Now, you may think this is no big deal. I beg to differ. What this means is: Indie authors are getting more serious about their craft.

No longer are we seeing the author with only one book in them slapping words on a page and clicking publish. There's an upswing in the care and diligence being taken before a book is put on the market. It may be because of the particular authors who graced me with their presence this year, but it may be that the market is weeding out the, for lack of a better word, crap. Of course, I could be completely wrong and it may just be that those who were publishing before, have realized the need for an editor.

Don't mistake my words, there's still badly written books out there. But I think the sheer volume of it is decreasing by the day. No sales make the author who didn't take the proper time to edit give up more quickly.

Mark Coker says self-published titles are decreasing in volume. I think it's the folks who thought self-publishing would lead to quick bucks leaping off the boat in droves.

For those of you still on board, writing, publishing, and editing, you're to be commended. Let me be the first to say:


I look forward to seeing what you all accomplish with another eleven months!

If you're a book reviewer, do you see the change in the quality of novels? If you're an author, do you find you're taking more time between writing and publishing?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Your blog post comes on the heels of Hugh Howey's blog post on similar subject: http://www.hughhowey.com/are-indies-treated-like-second-class-citizens/

    I hope that books are getting better and authors are taking more care with their publications, but there is still a need for weeding out the bad ones.

    1. I see it. Those authors who rush to publish or don't have their book edited aren't making money and are starting to become disenchanted with the whole process. Readers are getting pickier and aren't as apt to click the free button before checking out the sample :) Maybe that'll make room for more excellent writers to break out and be found. Thanks for the comment, Rachel. I'm gonna go check out Hugh's post :)

  2. I've noticed there are better self published books too. There are still stinkers, but not as many and they seem a bit easier to pinpoint. I attribute this to consumers. They are getting more savvy at buying books from Amazon. Also, there are more avenues for writers to explore for better quality books.

    This is all MHO as I'm not a professional reviewer.

    1. Amen, Rebecca! I think everyone can see it :) I think kudos should be given to the reader world at large for refusing books that aren't on the level. Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Oooh Jo, I fear answering your question honestly!! Haha. But hey, you asked.

    When I published my first book, which you read & reviewed, I didn't have an editor. You were able to tell a little, you did comment on a few things, but overall, I write well naturally.

    My second book (which I wrote first, actually) isn't one I'm as proud of. It's the only book of mine written in 3rd POV and I don't really like it. I had it edited, but it's still one of works with the lowest average review score on Amazon (still above a 4, though).

    My third, fourth...and now my 13th published since August 2013...none of them had an editor. I get compliments all the time on how 'well-edited' books my are, and weirdly enough even though I get complimented, I dread the day it's well known I write my books, finish them, and put them out almost immediately. I never write anything I don't intend to have in the final book, so nothing is ever cut from my novels. Only a few people read them before they are published and none of them ever see the ending. They point out tiny typos and missing words if they see them, but that is pretty rare. I am not perfect, but I truly cannot afford to have an editor, and the few times someone I knew offered to do it for free...they said my book bored them because they didn't really need much work. Oops.

    So to answer your question...no, I don't spend more time between writing and publishing. If anything, I've done it faster and faster over the year. :\ Now I'm gonna go hide for admitting that out loud :D

    1. But I did pick up on it. LOL! I suppose that's part of the bane of being an editor, too. I'm eager to read the new one I bought. Your storyline is compelling, and I find the machinations of the human mind fascinating. I reviewed a book a while back about a man who spent time in a mental facility. Despite the editing issues of that book, the story really kicked my butt. I loved having a peek into the mind of someone who's losing it. :)

      No hiding. If it works for you, work it. :) Thanks for the comment and the courage, C. S.

  4. Jo, what a great and timely post. This year has been interesting for me in that I took a contracted position as chief editor of a brand new publishing firm. Along with my personal clients, I have edited 17 books this year. Many authors signed with this new company I work for were previously indie pubbed. Most were part of a vanity press scheme prior to coming to the new publisher. I was surprised at the lack of quality editing through even a vanity press. I expect it from newbie indie authors, but what an eye-opener.

    There are some who write well naturally or have a type of genius strategic eye that makes their structure best-selling-worthy. However, most authors (including myself) need an outside eye before even dreaming of putting his/her book to print. There is something to be said for an editor who can help develop the plot of the manuscript, especially for an indie author with very little experience under his/her belt.

    After reading nearly 70 books and editing 17 in several genres this year, I have learned so much more about what makes a good story--and just how important it is to be professional and have proper sentence structure and grammar. Though I have always had a penchant for the crafting of prose, I could stand to learn something new about storytelling EVERY day. I have been pleasantly surprised with some great indie authors I discovered this year, and I have been very disgruntled by others who just churn out absolute garbage.

    I think 2015 will begin to burn the chaff in the indie movement. With all the changes going on in traditional and independent publishing, I think readers are getting smarter and demanding a better product. If I had a dollar for every person I meet who tells me he/she dreams of writing a book one day... well, let's just say I wouldn't need to work so hard to market my work. It will be interesting to see what this industry brings to us in even the next three months. It's an exciting time to be a writer, but one thing is for sure: Crap, no matter how shiny, just won't cut it anymore. It's time for all of us writers to step up our A-game.

    Happy holidays, Jo!

    1. I agree, Tamar. I learn something new every day, too! Isn't that the awesome thing about being an editor? Not only do you get to kinda worship the craft of writing and become overly knowledgeable, you learn from the books you edit, too. LOL!

      Crap loses it's sparkle once you get a whiff ;)

      Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays to you, too!

  5. Hey Jo,

    I think those dreaming of getting rich quick, but not really being into writing, are jumping ship, but there's probably another factor. People who want to write a book or have a specific single idea in mind will have largely gotten that done now (ie the everyone has one novel in them sort).

    It's curious how independent writers are often looked on as those who can't get agents/publishers (negatively) whereas independent musicians can be viewed as embarking on the start of their career, and independent carpenters, plasterers and so on are viewed very positively (SMEs, backbone of the economy etc). I wonder if we might start seeing more hybrid authors, releasing some stuff traditionally and some stuff independently (the former still has more prestige, but the latter is more profitable and gives the author more control).

    1. That's quite possible, Thaddeus. Those one-book wonders. LOL

      I was just discussing this with Tia the other day. Indie films are heralded as "genius" and "groundbreaking," but an Indie book is crap. Gah! We actually have a panel on hybrid authors at utopYA in June. I'm looking forward to sitting in on it and getting the pros and cons. :) Thanks for the comment. Good to see you!!


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