Since self-publishing's became so easy, it seems like suddenly everybody and their brother and sister became authors. Is it a good thing?
The surge of indie publishing the last few of years probably started out with published writers taking their unpublished novels out of the closet and self-publishing them because the industry made it so easy. They didn't have to go through the process of submitting the novels to publishers, wait months for the acception or rejection letter, and then wait about a year before they saw their books published.
Nowadays anyone can publish a book, but the truth is that good self-published books are few and far between. In fact, the majority of self-published books are pretty bad. Writing a good story and creating a professional looking book is hard work, and one of the unfortunate drawback is that authors have to deal with a lot of competition.
First of all, it has to be edited.
When I started doing book formatting, I had a manuscript sent to me to format to eBook. It was a 25 pages fantasy story. When I opened the manuscript, my editor program that I built into MS Word shut down within two minutes. There were so many grammatical errors in those few pages that the program was overwhelmed.
Second, the book has to be formatted, so the publishing sites could easily convert it to Epub or Mobi files that can be downloaded to Ereader devices. This book I mentioned had indents created by hitting the spacebar fifteen times and paragraph breaks by hitting enter three or four times. This creates a lot of empty spaces, which might show up as empty pages or half pages in the eBook. In this book there were no page breaks or linked chapters, so everything flowed as just one continuous chapter.
Third, be realistic. The author of this 25 pages book planned to sell the eBook for $4.99 on Amazon. (Yeah, right, dream on! Most authors have a hard time selling 300 pages, well edited and professionally formatted great stories for 99 cents, because of the millions of books flooding the publishing sites.)
I suggested to this author to have her book edited, and then have it formatted, book cover made and publish it as a short story for a more reasonable price. Boy, did I get an earful in return! She wrote, and I quote, "First of all, I didn't ask, and I don't want your advice. I was gonna pay you for the formatting, because others charge three times more than you, but I won't use your stinking service, because you put my hard work down. I ain't paying for editor either, my book is fine as it is."
Okay, I thought, have it your way, and I didn't even bother with a reply. A few days later I saw a post that the book was published, so curiosity got the better of me, and I looked. Well, the cover was just a pink page with a title written on it and the author's name. I bought the book for $2.99 (I wish I had donated that money to the animal shelter instead) and the interior of the "book" looked terrible. No title or copyright page, started right at chapter one and continued to the end. The story was not edited, half pages were missing as I predicted, so I quickly deleted it from my Kindle library. I should have return it for a refund, but I really hate to do that to anyone.
There was a big stink about the book on social sites, everyone and their sisters were probably bullied into sharing the posts. Out of curiosity I followed the progress and checked the book time to time, and to my utter surprise, the first 5-star review appeared a week later. Then another, and later four more. Two weeks later the one-star reviews started popping up though. Readers wrote short sentences who apparently didn't buy the book just read the free pages, such as, "What is this? A joke?" and "Who wrote this garbage? At least have the decency to edit what you publish!" or "You're giving indie authors a very bad name."
Well, the "book" was soon unpublished and after a very angry Facebook post that blamed the "stupid readers" and was loaded with words I don't want to repeat, the "author" deleted her profile and I haven't hear from her again.
This woman was an extreme example of what a self-published writer should not do. Let's be realistic here. Even if the story is great, there's a good chance that it won't sell like candy. Among the millions of books out there, even if it's a masterpiece, there's a good chance it will not be noticed, unless you can spend thousands on marketing.
Quality doesn't guarantee success anymore in the modern publishing business.
However, publishing a quality book is vital. Don't just put your hard work out there and hope for the best. Have your story edited, formatted, have a book cover made that is attractive and looks good in the thumbnail, and then publish it.
Promotion and marketing is the hardest part, which I haven't master yet. My books, like many others, are not doing well with sales. However, it gives me great satisfaction when a reader "finds my straw in the huge pile" and enjoys reading my story.
However, I can say that I'm very good at formatting any genre, including illustrated children's books, and because I learned the publishing site requirements inside-out, if you're planning to publish your book, I can help you with the process from start to finish.
If interested, take a look at my pages:
Photo by Jack Gruber from usatoday.com
I was shocked when I saw the news about Jared on: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/07/07/police-investigation-jared-fogle-subway-pitchman/29808241/
I'm crushed, because I always though of him as an inspiration, a man with a sweet smile and a good heart. His weight-loss story made him a celebrity and his organization to combat childhood obesity made him loved by many. Who is Jared behind the smile?
We don't really know what's going on in anyone's mind, even in people's minds who are close to us, or we work with and see every day. We only know what they show us, until the mask falls off and we find out who they really are inside.
Could it be true that he's connected to child pornography?
His home was raided on Tuesday, two months after the executive director of his foundation was arrested in Indianapolis on federal child pornography charges.
I'm thinking that the investigators wouldn't just raid his home without strong suspicion, due to the fact that he's a celebrity and knowing that the news will spread like wildfire. They had to have a reason for searching his home two months after the arrest of his foundation's director.
Jared's career may be over as the Subway spokesman. Were they too quick to judge, or was it the right step to take by Subway?
According to the usatoday site:
"Subway and Jared Fogle have mutually agreed to suspend their relationship due to the current investigation," a Subway spokesman said in a statement. "Jared continues to cooperate with authorities, and he expects no actions to be forthcoming. Both Jared and Subway agree that this was the appropriate step to take."
My unyielding opinion is that anyone who exploit or abuse innocent children to satisfy their SICK fantasies is the lowest of the low. There is no excuse for hurting a child or even get aroused or drool over their picture on internet sites. It is SICK and those people are nothing but low life perverts who, in my opinion, have no place in society. They blend in and live as wolves in sheep's clothing, but the truth comes out eventually when they get bold and secure, thinking that they're not going to be caught.
"In 2007, the British-based Internet Watch Foundation reported that child pornography on the Internet is becoming more brutal and graphic, and the number of images depicting violent abuse has risen fourfold since 2003. The CEO stated "The worrying issue is the severity and the gravity of the images is increasing. We're talking about prepubescent children being raped." About 80 percent of the children in the abusive images are female, and 91 percent appear to be children under the age of 12. Prosecution is difficult because multiple international servers are used, sometimes to transmit the images in fragments to evade the law. Some child pornographers also circumvent detection by using viruses to illegally gain control of computers on which they remotely store child pornography."
More on the site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography
Possible Signs of Physical or Sexual Child Abuse
Signs of a sexual predator: be aware of adults who…
It is a SICK world we live in. Try to do your part in preventing child abuse and exploitation by keeping your eyes open, notice the signs and report the person if you have any suspicion. You might save a life and future of an innocent child.
The good old fashioned romance doesn't seem to be enough anymore...
I’m fascinated by the huge success of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels, which is listed as contemporary romance, women's fiction novel. I didn’t read it, nor do I ever plan to read it. I looked at some statistics and reviews, that’s as far as I’m willing to go.
The interesting fact is that the books sold 100 million copies, and about 58% of the readers loved it, despite the fact that, according to the opinion of many reviewers, the author justifies abuse and perverse relationship.
This made me think. Perhaps most readers and movie goers are getting bored with regular romance novels and movies? Are readers abandoning the regular romance and more interested in erotica, kinky sex scenes, domination, deviancy and abuse? The more perverse the better?
It really seems like to me, what else could explain the huge interest in these books?
Romance authors usually don’t spell out every single move the lovers make, or every single thought that runs through their head while making love. Romance writers have their clever ways to trigger the reader’s imagination and send tingles to the right places at the right moment. Also, the majority of the books are well edited, the plots are fascinating and they provide hours of great entertainment. Romance authors don’t promote physical and mental abuse, or perverse sexual activity.
However, it seems like most readers want more. They don’t seem to care about bad writing, grammar mistakes, limited vocabulary, or as my friend who read the first book put it, “This book seems like it was written by a sick minded, horny high school dropout teenager. I bet my shoelace has a wider vocabulary, and the story is nothing like a consensual masochistic- sadistic relationship, which is a role play. This story is sick and demeaning, and justifies physical and mental abuse.”
Listing this book as contemporary romance really bugs me.
"Contemporary romance is a subgenre of romance novels, generally set contemporaneously with the time of its writing. The largest of the romance novel subgenres, contemporary romance novels are set in the time when they were written, and usually reflect the mores of their time." Bestselling author Nora Roberts sums up the genre, saying "The books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want." Women's fiction (including chick lit) is not directly a subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be as important as her relationship with the hero. The general definition, as embraced by the RWA and publishers, includes only the focus on a developing romantic relationship and an optimistic ending.
Does the Fifty Shades of Grey fits into this genre? You decide, I didn't read it.
Although not listed as erotica, let's see if this book would fit into the genre:
"Romance erotica seems to be on the rise as more women explore this new subgenre. Erotica is a term used to describe scenes in the novel that are risqué but not pornographic." I doubt this book fits into this genre either.
Are most readers getting desensitized and want more excitement than the good old romance novels usually offer?
This made me realize how we became desensitized to horror movies in a relatively short time. When I was a teenager, I always had a pillow in my hands, so I could hide when the scary parts came on, in even mild horror movies. I’m not a big horror fan, but if a movie doesn’t gross me out too much in the first five minutes, and my friends say that the story line is good, I give it a try.
When the Dexter series started, by then I was desensitized and watched him hacking people to pieces without a flinch. And, I guess I kind of developed a morbid fascination and watched the series. I also watched the Walking Dead, and I didn’t throw up or hid behind a pillow at the gory parts.
Those movies are not my favorite, I’m still a hopeless fantasy fan, and when I occasionally read or watch romance, I like to use my imagination.
However, it makes me think:
Is the time near when the good old fashioned romance stories will be passé?
Will romance writers be forced to incorporate whips, handcuffs, leather strips and gags into their stories?
Will they have to make their characters scream in pain, bleed and be humiliated in order to meet the expectations of romance readers?
Is the future of romance includes handcuffs, leather strips, gags and other torture devices?
The photo of the book cover was copied from Amazon
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
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