Thursday, April 21, 2011

Declan Burke says...

Over at Crime Always Pays, author Declan Burke says, in part:

I’d further suggest that an editor isn’t the only requirement: if you’re going to successful at self-publishing as an e-author, you’ll need (among other things, including a bloody good book) a professional to design your cover, another to format / typeset the work, and you’ll also need to invest heavily (time or money) in promotion. In other words, readers are fully entitled to expect the same quality from their ebooks as they would from a conventionally published title. Any writer who believes epublishing is a cheap shortcut to getting published is taking a cheap shortcut to oblivion.

I'd have to agree with Declan that there's not a "Cheap and easy" way to self-publishing success. The first rule is as it always has been: write a good book, and that's not easy though not financially expensive. (Unless you count your hours working on the book as billable hours.)

I spend dozens of hours editing and formatting and making the covers for my ebooks. Let's say at a minimum 50 hours (after the writing which involves a lot of editing as well) and if I were to be paid $10 an hour, that would be $500 invested. And I would not say I've achieved "success" yet. ("Ever hopeful," says the man with the betting slip in hand...)

And I'm an author who generally produces clean copy and has been through the editing process a bunch of times and who works as an English professor so I'm used to reading with an eye towards finding textual problems.

Amanda Hocking has made a million or more, but as Declan points out in the comments, the amount of promotional work alone was enough to make her want a traditional publishing contract (though I don't see this as a cure since her publisher will want her to ramp up her promotional efforts, not scale them back).

In the comments, someone pointed out that Hocking has achieved her success with bad editing, bad cover designs and generally a bad product. I suppose it depends on how you judge success - Will she win a Pulitzer? No. Will she make a million dollars? Done. I would just point out that Stephanie Meyer has pretty much done the same thing - I don't like her covers, I don't like the little bits of the writing I've read, and I don't think the storylines (I saw the first movie and won't see the others unless it's midnight and I can't sleep and there's nothing else on TV and Netflix is broken and I'm too sick to walk to my dvd player...) are particularly good.

And just to end my tirade, if you want a good book, well edited, try mine.


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