Monday, July 28, 2014

Self-Published Books

Okay, Killer Friends, I'd like to do a little research today, if you'll bear with me. 

If you're here, I assume you like to read.  Since you like to read, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that some of you have read at least some self-published books.  My question today is about your perception of self-published books in general, and your experience with self-published books specifically.

Do you think self-published stories, in general, are just as good as traditionally published stories?  Are they worse in general?  Better?  (Not talking here about the printing quality or the proofreading quality - just the quality of the stories.)

Now, talk to me about the quality of the printing and proofing (if they're hardcopy) or the editing and proofing (if they're ebooks). 

Does your perception of a self-published book go up if you have to pay for it or go down if it's free?  Or do you tend to treat those books you pay more for with a harsher eye - like if a book's got typos, are you more irritated if you paid 7.99 for it than you would be if it was free?

Since my book budget went to hell, I've been reading more free books than paid-for books, and of the paid-for books, about half of those have been ebooks vs hardcopy.  (With ebooks being half self and half traditional and hardcopy being about 90% traditional.)  Having said that, I'm really not finding the quality of the stories to be any different for self than traditional - most are good, some are dogs (which is the nature of reading, I guess.) 

As for the quality of the actual book on a self-published hardcopy versus a traditional hardcopy, I've found that I'm more likely to get a book with flaws from a traditional publisher.  As in, I've bought 'published' novels where the cover fell off while I was reading it the first time or the print was lighter on some pages than others or there was a big glob of ink in the middle of a page or, in one case, ten pages were missing out of the middle.  I haven't encountered that yet with self-published hardcopies yet. 

Now with editing... well, you can tell which self-published books haven't been seen by an editor and which have - pretty much within the first chapter.  I do run into those more frequently with self-publishing than with traditional publishing - usually when the author is someone I'm totally not familiar with and one that hasn't been recommended to me.  It's really rare these days, but it does happen.  On the other side of the chasm, traditional publishing isn't immune from typos, misspellings, and mistakes either.

I admit it.  I have a higher level of expectation when I have to shell out good money for a book.  And yes, I do hold traditional publishing to a higher standard.  They're the ones with the editors and copyeditors, etc.  I also tend to expect more from a self-published book I've paid for than one I got for free.  Not that I still don't get irritated with a bad self-published free novel, but again, it's rare.

Well, those are my opinions on the subject.  What are yours?  (And please, no specifics.  I'm not trying to call people out here.  I'm just trying to get a feel for the industry from the people who know - as in you, the readers.) 


jblynn said...

I've read traditional books I've hated (including major bestsellers) and I've read self-pubbed books I've hated.

I'm one of the few people who, as a reader, doesn't give a crap about typos. If the story's good I don't care about misspelled words or misplaced punctuation.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Exactly, JB. I'm just wondering why there's still a bias since there doesn't seem to be that much of a difference. And exactly about the typos, too. As long as the story's good, typos don't matter.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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