I’m a hybrid author, which means I have been published through traditional publishing companies and I have self-published, also known as indie publishing.
I believe indie publishing needs the same rigor applied to it as trad published books. Good editing, good proofreading, good formatting, good covers, good blurbs, and a damn fine story.
I’ll admit, despite the rigor I did on my indie books pre-publication, I and my readers discovered a few errors after publication. Groan. And my covers have not always hit the right note with audiences, or the blurbs been as clever as those written at publishing houses. But in defense, I could point out trad published books that could use a bit more help with proofreading, and one time a science fiction author contacted me when he received a copy of his book from the same publisher as I had that actually had my book with his cover attached to it! I tried to get him to give it or sell it to me, but he found it too funny to part with. I had to admit, I would have felt the same way if the situation had been reversed. I wonder how often that happens.
No matter. What I really want to write about today was discovering an indie published series of books that when I first saw them had me squirming. Bad editing, bad proofreading, terrible formatting, bad covers, and bad blurbs. I started reading the series because my Significant Other / Fiancé pestered me to read them.
In this time of covid-19 with staying home and not going out as much, I am reading a lot, primarily historical mysteries and cozy mysteries. I’ve read science fiction and fantasy in the past, I just haven’t been in the mood for that genre lately. Anyway, I finished my last cozy mystery and he pounced on the knowledge I was done with a book and urged me to pick up the books he was reading. They were free through Kindle Unlimited. My eyes glazed over, but I agreed and started book one.
The cover was okay. The formatting was terrible. I mean TERRIBLE. It hit me in the face like a sucker punch. Who starts a book on the same page as the copyright ownership page? Who changes font size from paragraph to paragraph? And the talking heads! Sometimes I’d lose track of who was speaking. I said something to my SO. He growled back, “I read for story, not formatting!” Being properly chastised, I continued reading.
Somewhere, about midway through, I realized I was enjoying the book, bad formatting, talking heads, and all. I almost didn’t notice the faults anymore (almost, somethings you can’t overlook). I was hooked, and my SO was laughing.
The book was pure, enjoyable escapist reading. I looked at the reviews. Many people commented about the same things I noted, and some did downgrade their reviews. However, the book has a review average of over 4.0. As one reviewer commented, the sheer enjoyable escapist reading pushed his review back up to the 5.0 level.
I also looked at the sales rankings. They were in the low hundreds. This book is making bank!
There are eleven books in the series so far and all have similar reviews and rankings. I am impressed. Personally, I don’t want to skimp on the “craft” in the hopes of making sales like his, but it does make me smile. No, I’m not going to reveal the book’s title or author. I don’t want to draw out the trolls, and bashing a book it not the point of this blog. I want to give a “high five” to a damn fine story, warts and all.