Self published books suck. The majority of them are a waste of a good tree. Lately I’ve been editing books for a vanity publisher, and only one has been any good.
But I’m self publishing. Why? Because I am persuaded that it’s a good way to go for someone who is able to learn new things and has the resources and time to take on the massive marketing and learning it takes to do everything yourself.
So why are so many self-published books so bad?
Criticism. The biggest problem with self-publishing is the lack of critics that stand in someone’s way of getting published. In the traditional publishing industry, you have to be polished and have your game together, along with marketing ideas, to even get noticed by an editor. And then it goes through revision after revision before it ever gets in print.
This makes it hard to get noticed, but it also weeds out a lot of junk. It makes writers take a second and third look at their manuscript before sending it off. It forces potential authors to refine their craft and their word choices and structure. Yes, there are also books that get in just because of a marketing scheme or a well-written query. But I know from experience that when you know you can get rejected, you put a LOT of thought into whatever you send.
Criticism is tough to take. Each rejection letter is a blow to a shaky self-confidence. But that’s the only way you ever get good at anything. I’m not very qualified to write this, I’m just learning to take criticism. With my first books, instead of rewriting, I just wrote new books. But that’s okay. My first books sucked. Write five more, concentrating and learning what makes bestsellers good, and then read the first bits of what you wrote. You’ll be disgusted. Appropriately so.
So here’s my advice to all writers: find somebody who will tell you that you suck. Find someone who won’t spare your feelings and knows something about good writing. Then, be a good enough sport that they are willing to pick apart your writing with you. Learn to take criticism.
So, what do you think? What’s your process when you buy a book? What helps you make your decision when you’re browsing?