Friday, August 3, 2012

The Only Reader that Matters is the One Reading Your Book

I download and read a zillion independently published books. Okay, maybe not a zillion, because I'm an interminably slow reader (*curse you slow reading ability!*), but I've been noticing a seriously disturbing behavior among some indie authors.

And that's the, "I can always upload a new version" mentality.

It's like the author slaps up the shiny new draft of a story, hoping to start making money on it right away, even though they know ~ they know ~ there are mistakes in the manuscript. Meanwhile, they'll edit the story and then upload a new-and-improved version. Maybe they'll even do that five or six (or more!) times before they have finally made the story "good" (read: publishable).

I find this extremely disturbing.

To me, that's like saying those first readers aren't important. Like they're expendable ~ which is exactly how they're being treated because that author didn't bother to give them their best work. Sure, they took the reader's money, but they're "expendable" because that reader will likely never go back to that author.

And that worries me to no end.

Because I'm an indie author too. It's my bread and butter this independent publishing gig, and I can't afford for other authors to be disrespecting readers. Those readers might potentially be my readers ~ but if they've learned from experience that self-published authors aren't reliable and sometimes put out unedited crap, well . . . that hurts my bottom line.

I think it's even worse, even more offensive, when the author doesn't just put out unedited work because they don't know better, but they do it because they intend to take advantage of the sales, those poor suckers willing to shell out money on their story, at the earliest possible moment.

It reminds me of one of the more popular bits of advice I've read regarding when you know your manuscript is ready to be queried to agents. It goes something like, "When you think you're book is good enough--edit it again. Then it's ready." In other words, you never, ever, want to query a book that's only "kind of" ready. That's only "sort of" polished. You only get that one chance with an agent, that one little glimpse to know if the story is right for them. You want that experience to be as perfect as you can possibly make it.

Why in the world would we ever treat our readers with anything less than this pinnacle of respect?

Every reader counts.

But that first one? That brave soul who's willing to take a chance on your self-published work? That one counts the most. Because that reader can make or break you.

Make sure that everything you publish represents your very best.




Ali Cross is the sensei of the writer's dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles.

She's the author the young adult urban fantasy books BECOME and DESOLATEFind Ali online: Blog | Facebook | Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Yikes, that is scary. I haven't come across that yet and I've got to say, that would totally turn me off an author. I wouldn't buy another of their books. Prime example of why it's vital to edit thoroughly and possibly even use a professional. Because you're right, EVERY reader is important.