Monday, 11 April 2016

Indie Books

Yes, I will read Indie Books.  Why not?

What works for me:

  • Price point. Indies are often cheaper than commercial books. Some of the more clever indie authors also lead with a permafree, giving me a chance to get hooked on their series with no financial outlay.
  • Daring-ness. I've found indie books who have taken chances with their characters or plots in ways that would make a commercial publisher cringe. I'll read whack-a-doodle, if it's constructed with skill.
  • Release schedule. Back in the Old Days, I had to wait a year for the next book to come out. (I'm looking at you, Wheel of Time!)  But indies release on a quicker schedule. I can get two books a year, or even four books a year in a series. This quicker release schedule means I can get my fix faster. Also, if you're one of those annoying people who will only read a series if the whole thing is out, indies will release the whole series, regardless of how bad sales are. Commercial publishers have a reputation about not releasing the whole series because sales were poor for the first two books.
    If you are interested in a series put out by a commercial publisher, please buy the first book, even if you don't read it at the moment. If sales aren't good, the rest of the series might not ever be released, and you and the rest of the world will miss out.
What doesn't work for me:
  • Quality control. This is left entirely up to the author. Some treat the indie publishing process with a level of professionalism. Others don't, and it shows.
    • bad editing
    • bad layout
    • bad cover art
    • bad plot/characters
  • Availability. I read .epub on a Kobo. Sometimes I come across an author who is only on Amazon and their books are on Kindle DRMmed. (secret: without DRM, I can convert a book I purchased on Amazon to .epub and read it on my Kobo. I have a hard time reading Kindles on my laptop, and have bypassed exclusive Amazon books with DRM.)
    I guess 'availability' could extend to ebook vs hardcopy. I know some of my (potential) fans have asked if my TWRP books are also available in hardcopy. Alas, they're not, but that's a decision of the publisher, and one I understand from the back end. Fret not, Her Endearing Young Charms (out 20 May 2016) will also be out in paperback as well as ebook.

Question: What do you love/hate about indie books?

Her Grace is going hybrid, but still enjoys the teamwork of commercial publishing. Some day she'll make an agent very happy.


Stephanie Faris said...

Honestly, it's all about the cover. If it's a small press or self-published, doesn't matter...if the cover looks professional, I assume it's professionally written and edited...and I'm sold!

authormarnareed said...

Your list is pretty concise.
I mean I won't read whack-a-doodle (even if it's constructed with skill). ;)

I'd love to see more MG indie. I'm suffocated with romance - which is fine when I want my rom fix. I've also learned that professional covers are more likely professionally edited too. If the author had time to make it look pretty, they probably passed it off to editing services. Although that isn't always true which is sad for those that think I'll part with my money for a shiny cover.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I suppose I have not much explored Indies because I so like to touch books, flip through the pages in the bookstore to see how well it is written. Then there is word of mouth. If a book gets a lot of recommendations through Good Reads in a genre I enjoy, then yes, I will pick it up, but that does not happen much with Indies.

And yes, I remember the Wheel of Time torture, only slightly less painful than Stephen King's Dark Tower series and now with George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice.

Sarah Allan said...

I LOVE indie books, but if they're done right. As you mentioned, a lot is left up to the author to sort out (editing, plot, etc.) and the smart ones know they should allocate some money to get it into tip-top shape before releasing it out into the world. But indie books definitely make me happy to be a reader--they let me discover new people who might not have been picked up by a publisher because, for whatever reason, their books might not appeal to the mainstream.

John Frain said...

I hate to confess, but I guess I don't read much in the way of Indie books. I also judge books by their cover (I know, I'm shameful), and most of the Indie books I see have covers that say "we just threw this together." That tells me the inside was thrown together too.

I am POSITIVE there are exceptions to this. But my TBR pile is already daunting.

On the other hand, if I get a recommendation from someone I trust, I wouldn't care if the book was Indie or not. I might not even know it!

Me said...

Bad editing has to be the worst for me. I can't look at or read something that's full of typos and grammatical errors (it happened). I just want to correct the thing!

John Frain said...

Yeah, J is kinda tough, huh!

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

For those who love print books, many indies will also offer paperbacks through Createspace and IngramSpark.

Another reason I love indie books is that they are easily available in Western Australia. Paperbacks don't always make it out this far, and tend to be expensive (in part due to geographical distance).

But a lot of people have said they love the feel of a book in their hands, even if it costs three times as much as the ebook.

A wise indie would also release their books in paperback form. Thanks to POD, that's now a low production-cost option. Before, you had to commission a print run.