Very interesting and thought-provoking post by Jane on Dear Author; Publishers, It’s Your Move. In the article, Jane gives a list of 8 things publishers can do to reconnect with their readers and in number 4 notes that: “The great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings helps to increase the value of quality offerings but if the higher priced goods are crappy, then readers might as well pay $.99 instead of $7.99.”

I have to admit to a slight wince when I read the “great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings.” My sister, Christy Tillery French (the other half of CC Tillery) and I spent upwards of 4 months reading, proofing,and formatting then re-reading, re-proofing, and re-formatting many times over before we even considered submitting Whistling Woman to Kindle Direct Publishing. Quality was uppermost in our mind while we did that. We read countless books on how to format your e-book for the various e-readers and did our best to follow the directions of authors who have walked the self-publishing path before us. And from all indications, we got it right. Everyone I’ve talked to who has read or is reading Whistling Woman (available on Kindle for a low $2.99!), has commented on how clean the formatting is. Both Christy and I have read the book on our Kindles and (pardon the vanity) it looks beautiful. So I have to disagree on the quality of self-published e-books. There are some that are of an equal or higher quality than the e-books being released by the major publishers.

In fact, judging by the e-books I’ve read from the major publishers vs. the self-published e-books, I’d venture to say that whether you pay the outrageous prices from the big publishers or the much lower price for a self-published book, the odds of getting a poor quality e-book are about the same. I have a Sony Touch e-reader, a Kindle, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab with all the e-reader apps, and I have numerous e-books on each one. With the exception of one Stephen King book and a few books by fave authors, I’ve never paid more than $5 for any e-book. I just refuse to do it and I no longer have an auto-buy list simply because I learned pretty fast that in the world of e-books, high price doesn’t always equal high quality. So, being a cheapskate, a skinflint, and a Scrooge admirer of the highest order, most of the e-books I buy cost no more than $.99, and though I don’t know for sure, I’d be willing to bet I have just as many that were free. A great many of those books are self-published, as Whistling Woman is, and I’ve found very few that have glaring formatting errors, typos, or grammatical mistakes. Which leads me to believe that most self-published authors are at least making an effort to get it right.

I heartily agree with Jane’s admonitions to the big publishers, “Be synonymous with quality” but I have to add that a cheaper price doesn’t always mean cheaper quality. And yes, I know that Jane isn’t saying all self-published books are low-quality because the truth is, there are quite a few that are…well, crappy, but there are also quite a few self-published authors who take pride in their work and strive to make it the best it can be.

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