Does It Matter What You Publish

I have always championed everyone's right to publish whatever they want to. Some people may disagree with this, arguing that too many poor self-published books let the side down. This is not true.

 

There is a very important concept to grasp here. When you publish a new book it does not create any new readers. If you manage to make a few sales all you are doing is taking readers away from some other author. This is a competition! So, if you publish a book which is of a poor standard you are not likely to get very far. Even if all the poorly written dross is withdrawn from the market that is not likely to help the average author because there will remain so much good stuff out there. There are millions of perfectly formatted, edited and well written books available. These are the books your book is competing with, not the books with poor spelling, bad grammar and boring storylines unless, of course, your book is in the latter category.

 

I'm not sure who was the first author who thought 'I know what, I'll get people to crowd fund my book. I'll earn thousands of dollars that way' but I wonder if his dream came true. The rest of us sell one book at a time. We're elated when there's a spike in our sales and down in the dumps the next day when sales are flat. Such is life in one of the most difficult markets. If you write because you have to there's a chance you might be happy. If you write because you need to plug a hole in your finances you are bound to be disappointed. For every down-on-their-luck person who self-published a book and sold 3.8 million books in a month and became super rich there will be millions of people who sell 3.8 books a month, if they are lucky.

 

Remember - publish whatever you want to but if you want to sell you have to be realistic.

Comments

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Does it matter what you publish? In a sense it does.

     

    As technologies have changed it has become possible for people to publish work that would never have made it into print thirty years ago. As the quality of some authors' work has risen, traditional publishers have lost some market share. This is part of what's driving the perspective that the vast majority of self-published work is basically, poop.

     

    As you said, people should be realistic, but often enough some will only see opportunities for easy money. This is why some people get a second mortgage on their house when the lotto has a large payout, only to have a handful of losing tickets after the drawing and a house they're about to lose.

     

    Having a decent grasp of statistics and probabilities helps. Determination also helps.

     

    Whatever field of endeavor you're in, you don't have to be the best, but if you strive for excellence it will show.

     

    I'll just be happy to recover the latest versions of my work off the hard drive they're on at present. I have WIP characters pestering me to get back to their stories.

  • People are fed what is put on their plate. Meaning that after thousands of dollars spent on book titles covers and an emence amount of editing one becomes well known. This person who has out marketed anyone else on the market are basically going to buy what is put in front of them. That novel at the check out counter in your local grocery store. The book at the front of the self published page that everyone seems to agree upon due to the fact that a certain well known person has persuaded people to buy.

     

    When in all actuality, the book resembles the rest of the sensored versions written by generic authors who seem to be well renound as it pertains to their wallet. Not to the story at hand. Put a book and the front of the website and have all your friends give glorified reviews or just the opposite in my case and control the market to an audiance who only agrees when its glorified with pleanty of stars that no one wants to contradict and stare down the compition written by the positive feed back that everyone seems to write so ravinously. Over what???

     

    So, they never even bother to look else were. They can take a great novel with good character formatting and a good time line and story line with a few twists that always end up in a happy ending but if everyone is against a certain book complaining about this that and the other totally missing the story at hand complaining all about what ever has been pronounced. This becomes what seems to even become a neuscence pratically crucifying even the best of novels. This is due mostly to how much money you have to spend on a well known publisher with good editors or glorified people who re-word a sentence by moving the pronouns and verbs to the front of the sentence when it was just as ledgeable the way the outhor entended it.

     

    So thats where indie publishing shines whether or not people have been predisposed to an author or not. The truth remains. Raw and untouched. Mostly, people complain about anything in my novels even if it has been edited by a respectable and reputable author of several well known romance novels who was paid well for their services. Maybe you should be the one to re-write the story and see if it resembles anything even remotely resembleing what you originally had in mind. kjrb.crb


  • Bolter1224 wrote:

    People are fed what is put on their plate. Meaning that after thousands of dollars spent on book titles covers and an emence amount of editing one becomes well known. This person who has out marketed anyone else on the market are basically going to buy what is put in front of them. That novel at the check out counter in your local grocery store. The book at the front of the self published page that everyone seems to agree upon due to the fact that a certain well known person has persuaded people to buy.

     

    You say that after "thousands of dollars spent on book titles covers and an emence amount of editing one becomes well known"---well, what is wrong with that? All you are saying is that a publisher has done their job in making sure that a book is of the highest possible quality.

     

    Besides, as I have said many times in the past, every author---including the most famous and best-selling---had to have had a first book at some time. And those first books had to have had something more going for them than the recognizablity of the author's name. Yes, all best-selling books have been meticulously edited (mistakes still do happen: no one's perfect!) and yes, a lot of money is spent on obtaining good cover art and on merchandising and advertising...but what is wrong with that? If an author is expecting someone to pay for the priviledge of reading their work, than it behooves them to make certain that the work is as letter-perfect as it is possible to make it. And this includes making sure that it is meticulously edited, properly formatted and attractively designed.

     

    And I have also pointed out this dozens of times, but it's always worth repeating: Every commercial traditional publisher includes the work of brand-new, first-time authors in every new catalog. Sometimes this can represent as much as 30% of new titles. These books cannot depend on author recognizability. Instead, they have to put all their hopes on good reviews, both by readers and professional reviewers. The latter are, at the outset, the most important since they will have been the very first people to see the book. If Kirkus Reviews or the New York Times praises a book, it is that much more likely to attract readers...and then the ball starts rolling. But this will not happen if the book is simply shoddy in every respect. It will sink and both it and the author may never be heard of again. But if a book is shoddy, whose fault is that?

     

    This is why publishers put so much emphasis on professional editing: they have only a narrow window of opportunity. If the book is sloppily written and with bad editing and formatting, then it will simply be ignored---or worse---and all of the expenses incurred in publishing the book will have been for naught. It is in both the publisher's and the author's best interests to make certain that the book is as perfect as possible.

     

    My most recent commercial book took a year and a half to go from inception to print. And more than half that time was taken by editing and design: every single detail was scrupulously gone over and over again by editors and designers. And while this took an awfully long time to do and was sometimes frustrating, I cannot complain about the final result. Besides, as I say elsewhere, I know that these people had the very same goal in mind as I did: to make the book as good as it could possibly be...and who could find fault with that?

     

    When in all actuality, the book resembles the rest of the sensored versions written by generic authors who seem to be well renound as it pertains to their wallet. Not to the story at hand. Put a book and the front of the website and have all your friends give glorified reviews or just the opposite in my case and control the market to an audiance who only agrees when its glorified with pleanty of stars that no one wants to contradict and stare down the compition written by the positive feed back that everyone seems to write so ravinously. Over what???

     

    So, they never even bother to look else were. They can take a great novel with good character formatting and a good time line and story line with a few twists that always end up in a happy ending but if everyone is against a certain book complaining about this that and the other totally missing the story at hand complaining all about what ever has been pronounced.

     

    In short, the above sounds very much like the complaint I hear all too often in these forums: "Why can't people ignore all the bad formatting, grammar, punctuation and spelling in my book and just pay attention to the story?" I have heard this and similar complaints from many self-published authors who don't seem to realize where their responsibility lies.

     

    This becomes what seems to even become a neuscence pratically crucifying even the best of novels. This is due mostly to how much money you have to spend on a well known publisher with good editors or glorified people who re-word a sentence by moving the pronouns and verbs to the front of the sentence when it was just as ledgeable the way the outhor entended it.

     

    First of all, that is not how editors work. Professional editors at traditional publishers never touch a word of an author's manuscript. It is up to the author to make any suggested changes...and they are under no obligation to do so. If you disagree with a change, you can discuss it with your editor. There have been many, many times I have disagreed with a suggested change. Sometimes I have talked an editor into leaving the text alone, sometimes I have suggested an alternate way to fix a problem. And more often than not, I see the wisdom in what the editor is saying. After all, not only is he or she an experienced expert at what they do, their goal is exactly the same as mine: to make the book as good as it can possibly be.

     

    But in every case, the changes have to be made by me. An editor will want a book to always be in the author's voice.

     

    (I have explained many times in the past that there are two different kinds of editor who will be working on a book: the editior proper, who is interested in concepts, style, continuity, sense, etc., and the copy editor, who is responsible for grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, etc.) 

     

    However, the smart author does not just blithely ignore the advice of an experienced editor: making sure that books are readable and interesting is their job and most of them are very, very good at what they do. It is easy to check out an editor's track record: if they have a long list of best-selling books under their belt it is wise to listen very closely to what they say.

     

    Part of what you wrote suggests that you think authors pay publishers. In the world of professional, traditional publishing this is never the case. What you are describing is a vanity press, which will publish anything, regardless of quality or with the barest minium of vetting. A "well known publisher" such as Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Random House and countless others do not charge the author a single penny, ever. They bear all of the costs of publishing a book: editing, copy-editing, proofreading, design and layout, marketing, advertising---the whole works. In fact, they pay the author for the priviledge of publishing their book. This is what an "advance" is. That is short for "advance against royalties," and the author gets to keep it even if the book doesn't sell a single copy. 

     

    So thats where indie publishing shines whether or not people have been predisposed to an author or not. The truth remains. Raw and untouched.

     

    Sadly, that is all too true. Far too many self-published books are indeed raw and untouched---which, of course, is exactly where their problems lie. Equally sadly, far too many self-published authors will place the blame for poor reviews or poor sales everywhere but where it belongs: in their own laps. I have had commercially published books that have gotten rave reviews, gone into multiple printings and editions and even foreign translations...my best-selling book has sold a quarter million copies to date...and I have had commercially published books that have been brutally stomped on by reviewers. The latter is always hard to take, but if a book fails in any way for any reason I have no one to blame but myself. If I want to take credit for the success of a book, then I also must be willing to take the blame for one that did not do well.

     

    Mostly, people complain about anything in my novels even if it has been edited by a respectable and reputable author of several well known romance novels who was paid well for their services. Maybe you should be the one to re-write the story and see if it resembles anything even remotely resembleing what you originally had in mind. kjrb.crb

     

     

     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Ron,

     

    I remember you looked at a rough manuscript of mine once and wondered why I hadn't tried to shop it around to a traditional publisher. I likely sounded like an a-hole in my reply, because I've tried in the past and at this point in life time is not my own and I have a lot of other things going on. It does warm my thumping gizzard to know I have reached a level of at least basic competence and I appreciate that fact.

     

    At any rate, too many beginning Indies like to think raw and fresh from the keyboard is all it takes to present a fresh new perspective that will take the world by storm and earn them instant respect, adoring fans, and millions of dollars. I've seen the same dreamlike quality in others whether it's the kid in grade school who feels no need to study because he's going to be a professional football player, or the adult who thinks he's going to be the one to win the mega-lotto payout by betting the house.

     

    My first two releases aren't my first work, I still have an earlier effort from the 90s waiting until I can dust it off, update it, and finish it off, if I find the time. My other work between then and the first of the Regeneration series has been lost. Things happen.

     

    I pounded out the rough drafts of the first two releases in two and three weeks respectively by pounding the keyboard before and after working the paying job. The editing process took months for each book.Years passed between when I finished the rough drafts and when I released the books. Part of the reason was studying how to get the format and typography as tight as possible.

     

    With the budget I have to work on for advertising (I refuse to try to hawk my wares to the few people I know well enough to talk with as time permits) I feel a certain satisfaction that with limited sales the few reviews I've received have been mostly positive. Then again, I see the process as an avocation that requires diligence, patience, and an eye for details (as the devil is always waiting in the details). In short, self-publishing is a real job even if it doesn't always pay well.

     

    I think part of the issue some Indies have lies in things that have been pointed out numerous time by you and others.

     

    There is no easy button associated with writing and getting work published. Dreams of quick easy money are no match for putting in the hard work required to get a book ready for others to read and hopefully enjoy.

     

    Success, whether limited or limitless, requires an honest assessment of probability as well as the emotional maturity to embrace the fact that what may intrigue us as writers may not be well-received by others. "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" the year I was eleven-years-old might hold interest for me, but unless I had built a fusion reactor back then most people could care less.

     

    As well, readers don't give a diddly squat %*&# if I've gone through or am going through hard times, because too many of them are going through their own set of issues and hard time. People buy books to learn or entertain themselves by escaping into a world a writer has laid out for them. When people are trying to step back from their own issues for a space by picking up a book, poorly written unedited work generally won't be excused by the readers due to the author's personal tale of woe.

     

    As you've pointed out, as writers we have to take ownership of our successes and our failures. Unfortunately, some individuals will never accept that level of self-responsibility.

  • I'm not here to argue with you. I mearly am stated it as a fact. It's not me personally you should attack. If you have a problem with what  I said then you mearly have a problem with the way of the world. Not me. Besides, if you expect me to read two thousand words defending your position I delcine to punish myself with your redereck. There is nothing wrong with people paying for book publishing. All I'm saying is that popularity is often superphisicial.


  • Bolter1224 wrote:

    I'm not here to argue with you. I mearly am stated it as a fact. It's not me personally you should attack. If you have a problem with what  I said then you mearly have a problem with the way of the world. Not me. Besides, if you expect me to read two thousand words [1142 words, to be exact---RM] defending your position I delcine to punish myself with your redereck. There is nothing wrong with people paying for book publishing. All I'm saying is that popularity is often superphisicial.


    I apologize for any rhetoric in my recent posts. You are right: popularity is all too often merely superficial. But that is really no argument at all. For instance, I could give you a list of best-selling books by first-time authors as long as your arm, which would go a long way toward demonstrating that popularity is very often based on quality and originality. And, as I pointed out in the post you declined to read because it had too many words, every best-selling author today had a first book. They may sell millions of copies of a title today based solely on their names, but their reputations are very often built on solid foundations. In other words, they had to prove themselves first.

     

    No...there is nothing intrinsically wrong with people paying to have their book published. The problem is that far too many vanity publishers (and that's the only term to use for publishers who charge authors to publish their work) are unscrupulous, offering little real editorial oversight.

     

    By the bye, you may be a tad oversensitive since I don't think anyone ever mentioned either you or your work specifically.

     

    [total word count: 191]

     

     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Writing is certainly hard work.

     

    In my teens, I thought that I would slap a few words onto a page and the world would beat a path to my door. I was young and green, what can I say?

     

    In my twenties, I thought that if I could just find the time to put my thoughts onto paper, they would be so fresh and so amazing that the world would beat a slightly more realistic path to my door. Yeah, not so much, oddly enough.

     

    In my thirties, I thought that the things I had to say were not what the world as a whole wanted to hear, and that I just had to find the right niche, the right market for my writing, and then a small but substantial segment of the world would grudgingly allow that a path to my door would be appropriate.

     

    In my forties, I realized that I would not be the next Hemmingway, Faulkner, or even the next Steinbeck.

     

    In my fifties, I write because it amuses me to write. I write because I have words in my head that want to be expressed. I write because the page challenges me. How the words are received, once they leave my brain, is secondary to my pleasure in writing. And that has allowed me to finally write what I feel to well-crafted and professionally composed writings. I may be over-rating myself, and if I am, then I will work harder on the next book, and eventually create the piece of art that I know is within me. But that is a matter of my fulfillment as a person, and not because I want to sell them.

     

    I still use sales as a metric of success, but it is one of many: Completion of the project is a metric; a product that pleases me is a metric; The feedback of friends and peers is a metric; my analysis of the book later once it has had time to cool down and is no longer fresh in my mind -- all of these are more important in my measurement of personal success than sales per se.

     

    I may be like Kurt Vonnegut's character, Kilgore Trout, the writer who composed an endless series of horrible books, but enjoyed doing it. Vonnegut gave Trout exactly one fan, who used to lament, "This guy is brilliant -- if he could only write!"

     

    So does it matter what I publish? Well, to me it does; to you it may not. If I want it to be a best-seller, then it does; if I write for my own pleasure then it does not. And to the readers of 100 years from now, it almost certainly does not. To the writers of 1000 years from now -- well, can any of us flatter ourselves that far?

     

    But to the real question: Can we tolerate slopped-together works that distract readers from the true gems? Well, I disagree with Daniel, in the OP, on this one point: The market for readers is not a zero-sum operation. It is possible for a book to draw in non-readers, dormant readers, and readers of other genres. There is no law that says that while I have read only 20 books this year, I cannot read 50 books next year (or vice versa).

     

    But Daniel is absolutely correct in saying that we compete with the top few self-published books for the readers' attention. In fact, if we assume a normal distribution curve for quality, 68% of books will be mediocre, 13.5% of books will be bad, 13.5% will be good, 2.4% will be exceptionally bad, 2.4% will be exceptionally good, .15% will be horrible, and .15% will be fantastic. We're trying to get our books into that top 2.55%, the exceptionally good and fantastic categories.

     

    Which talks all around the point, but says little except this: Let's work hard and make good books.

  • To slightly paraphrase Theodore Sturgeon: "Ninety percent of all self-published books are crap. But then, ninety percent of everything is crap."

     

    I think an author who does not write for his or her own pleasure first is making an enormous mistake...and is probably, in the end, not a very good writer. You have to please yourself first. But... if you intend to have your work published---whether commercially or on your own---you are expecting other people to pay good money for what you have produced...the same amount of money, in fact, they would have to pay for a book by a professional author. Once you have decided to do that, it becomes your responsibility to do more than simply make yourself happy by typing "The End" on the last page of your manuscript. You need to make absolutely certain that your book is worth what you will be charging for it. It is a responsibility you owe to your readers. If you are going to be a self-publisher then you need to take on all the roles of a publisher: you need to make sure your book is properly edited, copy edited, formatted, designed, etc. If you do not have the abilities or experience to do this yourself than you need to hire someone to do this for you. You would not expect to pay for a chair from a woodworker who said, "I didn't have the experience or materials to make the legs even or get the joints glued or figure out how to get the paint to dry...but please buy my chair anyway." In the same way you should not expect a reader to pay for a book that it is not up to the same standards as a professionaly published book. If you cannot do these things, then by all means continue to write but do not charge people for the pleasure of reading your work. Write for the sheer pleasure of it, give copies away---but don't ask anyone to pay to read what you have written. That is simply unfair.

     

     

  • To me, Indie Writing has always been the greatest of freedoms and self expression one could possibly allow into the writing world. Or how should I say it, "Main Stream?". I remember a few threads back talking about disclosure papers being signed before writing about someone or something. Well, journalists do it all the time! So do skeptics.

     

    Like the time I got so mad at Ron that I wished I could sew him for his own opinion. Right, wrong, or indifferent it was his liberty to think and say what he wanted to and because of the fifth amendment, that's his right under law. So say what you want. As long as it can't be proven a lie, or infringes on someone elses rights that they hold so dear. Which is what I was trying to do. It had nothing to do with winning the lottery. I just wanted respect and wasn't getting it. First time book writers? You know the difference!!! But, if Ron can do it so can I.

     

    "Ron! I hate your writing! Everything you say is like riding on an old broken chair your trying to sell that's traveling down a bumpy road in the back of an old pickup truck!"

     

    Besides, what he wrote was meaningful to him, but that still is just his own opinion, and I appologize to you Ron, for that. But personally, to be honest I think he should be writing for, "The National Enquirer" because of the fact that he seems to relish in outraging certain individuals with his rules and ideologies on what is correct and what is not. And, "Be all you can be!" mentality. Sorry Ron. I just did it again. But, other than that, I don't dislike the guy.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Freedom of Speech may be a right but it also entails responsibility and has limits. My right ends where the next person's right begins would be a fair analogy of the concept.

     

    Yes, as long as your speech (verbal or written) is true and not uttered to defame or cause harm to others, within certain limits you can say what you wish.

     

    You shouldn't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, because probabilities are a stampede will ensue and people will get hurt or killed as a result.

     

    There are other examples wherein civil and / or criminal prosecution would result from someone exercising their freedom of speech without consideration, but I'm not standing in a classroom so I won't bore you.

     

    Respect is a different subject and there are many ways (as well as many reasons) to show respect for others. I've met many officers and officials for whom I felt no respect, but I did show respect for the rank or position. Sometimes it's a sign of respect to treat others as equals and say: "You can do better."

     

    Rules exist in a variety of contexts for a reason. Without rules, the world we share would be very unpleasant to say the least. As well, no one person makes all the rules for a given venue, rather it's many people over many years reaching a consensus. If there is no good reason for those rules, they will change as change is inevitable.

     

    Can I and will respect someone who made it to the completion of their first book? Yes, because it takes a lot of time and effort.

     

    Can I and will I respect someone who doesn't make every effort to produce the best work they can? No, because in that case the individual in question isn't showing respect for him/her/zirself.

     

    Basically put I can respect someone for effort made while not respecting the level of craftmanship when the craftmanship is lacking.

  • For everyone of my didactic books, I have to find a large number of data, and check each of them. My credibility depends on it. If I let pass something untrue, readers will start searching for other failures, and if they find more, they won't bother with my next title.

    On the other hand, they seldom evaluate a title, even if they liked it and found it useful, simply because for them I have just done my job. Therefore I have concluded that so long as a book sells, it must be regarded as satisfying.


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

     

     

    Can I and will respect someone who made it to the completion of their first book? Yes, because it takes a lot of time and effort.

     

    Can I and will I respect someone who doesn't make every effort to produce the best work they can? No, because in that case the individual in question isn't showing respect for him/her/zirself.

     

    Basically put I can respect someone for effort made while not respecting the level of craftmanship when the craftmanship is lacking.


    Well put! Craftsmanship is important no matter what you are doing, whether you are putting up a bookshelf in your study, restoring a classic car or writing a book.

     

    Even if you are only doing these things for yourself, I would think that simple pride in a job well done would make someone take as much care as they would if they were doing it for another person. And when you are asking people to purchase your work---whatever it might be---than craftsmanship becomes of paramount importance. 

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    To slightly paraphrase Theodore Sturgeon: "Ninety percent of all self-published books are crap. But then, ninety percent of everything is crap."

     

    I think an author who does not write for his or her own pleasure first is making an enormous mistake...and is probably, in the end, not a very good writer. You have to please yourself first. But... if you intend to have your work published---whether commercially or on your own---you are expecting other people to pay good money for what you have produced...the same amount of money, in fact, they would have to pay for a book by a professional author. Once you have decided to do that, it becomes your responsibility to do more than simply make yourself happy by typing "The End" on the last page of your manuscript. You need to make absolutely certain that your book is worth what you will be charging for it. It is a responsibility you owe to your readers. If you are going to be a self-publisher then you need to take on all the roles of a publisher: you need to make sure your book is properly edited, copy edited, formatted, designed, etc. If you do not have the abilities or experience to do this yourself than you need to hire someone to do this for you. You would not expect to pay for a chair from a woodworker who said, "I didn't have the experience or materials to make the legs even or get the joints glued or figure out how to get the paint to dry...but please buy my chair anyway." In the same way you should not expect a reader to pay for a book that it is not up to the same standards as a professionaly published book. If you cannot do these things, then by all means continue to write but do not charge people for the pleasure of reading your work. Write for the sheer pleasure of it, give copies away---but don't ask anyone to pay to read what you have written. That is simply unfair.

     

     


    I agree with you, and like most of us, I wrestled with this: Is my book good enough to be worth the money? In one case, after publishing a second (and greatly improved) edition, I contacted buyers of the first edition and sent them a second edition for free, because I felt that I owed it to them. Both of them.

     

    I've also sent a number of my books to acquaintances who would (in my opinion) enjoy them, but might not be able to buy them for themselves.

     

    But you see, Ron, this crosses from the purely aestethic consideration of making a good book because it is a good book, and becomes the ethical consideration of making a good book because we owe it to the world (or at least to our readership). We owe the reader what we have advertised. If we say (or imply) that it's a well-crafted 60,000 word novel, then we owe the reader the best 60,000 word nevel we can craft.

     

    On the other hand, if we say that it's a truly horrible book of Vogon Poetry, composed entirely for folks who get the joke and would be amused by it, then that is what we owe the readers -- a horrible book. Let me give you an example: I bought this eBook: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/captain-bud-sturguess/sheep-named-spike-collected-sermons/ebook/product-23156627.html even knowing that it had a very high chance of being monumentally bad. It was actually kind of okay. I wouldn't have bought a paperback copy, but all things considered, it was four bucks I don't regret spending.

     

    Many people would have bought it and been dismayed, but the book states up front that the writer suffers from psychosis and the previews of the paperback support this clearly. Nonetheless, the book is honest: It says what it is (sermons of a self-confessed madman) and so, imho, the reader is not deceived if he buys it thinking it's something else or something better. Perhaps deluded, but not deceived.

     

    This sort of thing is, naturally, the exception. A bad novel that pretends to be good, or a book of Vogon Poetry that pretends to be a novel, or the self-help books that spend 18 chapters reciting the same platitudes in different words -- those are not honest work, and the writers should be ashamed of even offering them for sale. So I  agree, Ron, but I did want to point out the change in the subject.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    SphinxCameron wrote:
    ...

     

    Can I and will respect someone who made it to the completion of their first book? Yes, because it takes a lot of time and effort.

     

    Can I and will I respect someone who doesn't make every effort to produce the best work they can? No, because in that case the individual in question isn't showing respect for him/her/zirself.

     

    Basically put I can respect someone for effort made while not respecting the level of craftmanship when the craftmanship is lacking.


    And there is, imho, the key element. When we see a poor work, we need to discern whether it is

     

    1.) The best work that the particular writer can produce, and

    2.) Honestly represented and fairly priced.

     

    But on the other side of the fence, the writer must not only ask himself if the work meets those criteria, but also if he can reasonably expect people to buy it. A few people -- a very very few people -- may want a wobbly uncomfortable chair, knowing that it will be used for the disliked brother-in-law, and hoping that it will inspire him to keep his visits short. But a writer can't EXPECT people to want a bad chair, or be disappointed when folks complain that it wobbles.

     

    Key word: Reasonably.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    potetjp wrote:

    For everyone of my didactic books, I have to find a large number of data, and check each of them. My credibility depends on it. If I let pass something untrue, readers will start searching for other failures, and if they find more, they won't bother with my next title.

    On the other hand, they seldom evaluate a title, even if they liked it and found it useful, simply because for them I have just done my job. Therefore I have concluded that so long as a book sells, it must be regarded as satisfying.


    Those of your works that I have had the pleasure to read have been extremely thorough and precise. In the few areas where I knew a little on the subject, I can find nothing to contradict your data.

     

    I think that your metric, that sales = satisfaction, is a good one.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    Well put! Craftsmanship is important no matter what you are doing, whether you are putting up a bookshelf in your study, restoring a classic car or writing a book.

     

    Even if you are only doing these things for yourself, I would think that simple pride in a job well done would make someone take as much care as they would if they were doing it for another person. And when you are asking people to purchase your work---whatever it might be---than craftsmanship becomes of paramount importance. 


    I agree, within reason, but let me play the Dutch Uncle:

     

    For example, back in the 1960s and 70s, there was a brand of toy cars known as Matchbox (r). They were very popular, and very well-crafted. They were precise and accurate renditions of actual models of cars (As a toddler, I once amazed my parents by being able to correctly identify an E-Type Jaguar based on having played with the Matchbox copy). But they were expensive -- some of them were as much as $5 each (and in 1970ish  dollars, that was big money to a child).

     

    But a few years later, Hot Wheels (r) came out and suddenly stole the entire market. They were not accurate models; they were not well-crafted; and they did not teach anything about real cars. But they were cheap, and to kids who just wanted something to push across the floor while making "Vroom Vroom" noises, they were good enough.

     

    It is possible to make something better than it needs to be made. At the time, of course, I hated that the hotwheels were so cheap, and being a young Kripkean Dogmatist, I was firmly on the side of Matchbox Before Dishonor! But I now understand that the HotWheels folks saw the wisdom of making a product that was merely good enough.

     

    Nonetheless, I agree with you that every book we write should be our best yet; and everything we craft must be worthy of the price we put on it.


  • Skoob_Ym a écrit :

    I think that your metric, that sales = satisfaction, is a good one.


    This is very kind of you. Thanks.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Ron Miller wrote:

    Well put! Craftsmanship is important no matter what you are doing, whether you are putting up a bookshelf in your study, restoring a classic car or writing a book.

     

    Even if you are only doing these things for yourself, I would think that simple pride in a job well done would make someone take as much care as they would if they were doing it for another person. And when you are asking people to purchase your work---whatever it might be---than craftsmanship becomes of paramount importance. 


    I agree, within reason, but let me play the Dutch Uncle:

     

    For example, back in the 1960s and 70s, there was a brand of toy cars known as Matchbox (r). They were very popular, and very well-crafted. They were precise and accurate renditions of actual models of cars (As a toddler, I once amazed my parents by being able to correctly identify an E-Type Jaguar based on having played with the Matchbox copy). But they were expensive -- some of them were as much as $5 each (and in 1970ish  dollars, that was big money to a child).

     

    But a few years later, Hot Wheels (r) came out and suddenly stole the entire market. They were not accurate models; they were not well-crafted; and they did not teach anything about real cars. But they were cheap, and to kids who just wanted something to push across the floor while making "Vroom Vroom" noises, they were good enough.

     

    It is possible to make something better than it needs to be made. At the time, of course, I hated that the hotwheels were so cheap, and being a young Kripkean Dogmatist, I was firmly on the side of Matchbox Before Dishonor! But I now understand that the HotWheels folks saw the wisdom of making a product that was merely good enough.

     

    Nonetheless, I agree with you that every book we write should be our best yet; and everything we craft must be worthy of the price we put on it.


    You are right: There will always be a ready market for cheap, shoddy merchandise. That's what keeps W*lm*rt in business. But your example is not as readily applicable to books, since there is generally little price difference between books published by traditional commercial publishers and self-publishers.* If someone is going to spend the same amount on a book regardless, I think they would prefer to get the most value for their money.

     

    ---------------------------------

    *Indeed: one can purchase a 384-page best-seller directly from Simon and Schuster for $16. A 312-page Lulu bestselling title is listed at $30.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Economies of Scale do make a difference. Hence the reason people who self-publish need to make every effort to craft books that inspire readers to buy more rather than souring them on self-publishers in general.


    Ron Miller wrote:

    ---------------------------------

    *Indeed: one can purchase a 384-page best-seller directly from Simon and Schuster for $16. A 312-page Lulu bestselling title is listed at $30.


     

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