“You Gotta Earn it!”

Finally, self-publishing has moved out of the realm of vanity. Or has it completely?

I keep hearing that a lot of people avoid books by indie authors. I also hear a lot of indie authors bemoaning the fact the indie world still has a bad rap for poorly constructed, poorly edited books and badly behaving authors.

I understand both sides.

As an indie author, I want to be taken seriously. I don’t want my books passed over because of the issues in other books. As a reader, I’ve read some indie books that were so poorly edited, I couldn’t finish reading them.

I can understand if maybe it is a first book by an indie author. We all make mistakes, even if it’s the colossal mistake of skipping professional editing. I know this, because when I released my first book, I made that mistake and I had a few reviews that pointed this out to me. That was a mistake I worked to rectify as soon as I possibly could. I was never so relieved as the day I was able to re-release my first book after having it put through a professional edit and design and I will never ever release another book that hasn’t been through the full process. However, when a book is released and a year later it still hasn’t been edited and the author has released yet another unedited book, then any understanding flies out the window.

Nothing can take the place of a professional edit done by a good editor. Even if you have a dozen people read and critique your manuscript, they still don’t replace an actual editor.

If as indie authors we want to be taken seriously in the writing and publishing world we need to, as a collective whole, work harder at presenting professionally polished work to the world.  Thankfully, it seems that many indie authors are moving in that direction. Many have figured out (as I did) that if we want to be looked at with the same respect as big six authors, then we have to publish material as good as what the big six put out. Unfortunately the numbers of those that haven’t moved in that direction are still high enough to get all indie authors painted with the same brush.

I know, I know, there are mistakes in the big six books too. The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect book. And that’s okay because we are all human and humans make mistakes. Two or three mistakes in a full length novel aren’t a big deal. However, when novels are riddled with missing words, horrible grammar, bad punctuation, and repetitive homophone mix ups, then there is a problem.

Unfortunately, people have a tendency to remember bad experiences more strongly than good experiences. When they try a couple of indie books and find these issues, they write them all off as worthless drivel. They know they can pick up a book by the big six ( or even one of the many good small publishing houses)and even if they hate the story, the mechanics are going to be right.

I know, people will point out various books put out by the big six that were horribly written and filled with issues. And they are right, there are a few. The word “few” being the key. Books like that tend to be the exception rather than the rule with traditionally published books.

As a whole, indie authors need to work harder to make books riddled with issues the exception and not the rule for us as well.  If we want to be taken seriously, if we want to be respected in the writing world, in the world of book bloggers (quite a few of whom won’t review indie books), and by our readers, we have to earn it.

You don’t get something for nothing nor should you. It takes a lot of work to write a book, more work than many people know. It seems a shame to drop the ball after typing “the end” on a manuscript.  We need to be a professional in all aspects of our writing careers from producing professional quality books to behaving on the internet and in real life like the professionals we want to be taken for.

So the next time you feel frustrated when contests turn their noses up at indie authors, or a blogger turns away indie authors due to a frustrating amount of books with poor editing or from having taken the brunt of poor behavior over a review, remember, if we as indie authors want to swim with the big fish in the big pond we have to earn it.

In the words of the late Captain Phil Harris, “Nothing in life is given to you, you gotta earn it!”

phil harris

And yes, I know there is probably a typo or two or comma mistakes in this. I didn’t send this post to my editor and I make no claims that I can edit anything.  🙂

6 thoughts on ““You Gotta Earn it!”

  1. If the indie gaming scene is anything to go by, the time will come when indie books are viewed no differently than books produced by the bigger publishers. That said, I think that it’ll take a while yet.


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