Okay, I'm not an essayist. In fact, I suck at it. Why I blog always amazes me because I never feel like I have anything to say. But right now, I feel like I have a lot to say. Some good, some not so good.
As everyone here knows, I love to read. Reading is like a lifeline to me. I can dive into a book and be taken away from my life and the world around me for a few hours. I can shut the brain off and concentrate on the story in front of me. With all the news going on lately (Boston, Texas, North Korea, Syria, Bird Flu, etc), who wouldn't want to dive into a world where that is not going on. It's not even touched upon!
I've quietly slipped away from the paranormal/urban fantasy genre and have become enthralled with the mature young adult-new adult market that is out there now. I understand why it's becoming as big as it is. Young Adult books really started taking off during '06-'07, you figure those kids are entering college, in college or graduating and becoming adult citizens in a big bad world.
Because the publishers weren't willing to take a gamble on those types of books a few years ago, a handful of writers decided that self-publishing was the way to go. For the most part, it was a successful endeavor. Books like Beautiful Disaster, Breathe (Abbi Glines), Slammed, Taking Chances. They found a niche and it worked well for them. They became extremely successful and little by little people started hearing about them and they started selling books like crazy. I read an interview with Cora Carmack who said she was amazed how much money she started bringing in for her book Losing It.
If they could do it, well why can't I do it, became the mantra. So from 2011 to 2013, we've been inundated with self-published books. Authors who push their books on unsuspecting bloggers, reviewers and facebookers. All of a sudden, my inbox is flooded with review requests to read this book or that series. At first I was like, "What is going on?", but as I became more ingrained in the self-pubbed market I started seeing trends. Obviously vampires, werewolves, faeries and zombies are trending down while contemporary romance with a lot of sex is trending upwards.
Self-publishing always got a bad rap. Unedited crap, writers who couldn't sell their books to agents and/or publishers, etc. But there are some really, and I mean, really good self-pubbed and Indie-pubbed books out there. There are authors who pay a lot of money to get their books professionally edited, formatted and hire an experienced cover artist. I'm talking thousands of dollars. If you're going to self-publish, attention to detail should be your most important goal.
Another aspect to the self-pubbed/Indie-pubbed world is that the books are priced to sell and sell quickly. You can find some for $0.99, $1.99 up to $9.99. Whereas traditional pubbed books are trending higher in prices. JK Rowling's adult book released by Little, Brown last year was priced (e-book) at $19.99. Quite high for an e-book if you ask me. But it's Rowling, so I'll give this one a pass.
But as we come to the halfway point in 2013, I'm finding the quality of self-pubbed books going downhill. The ones who took the time to write, edit, revise and line-edit, have been picked up by publishing houses. What a better way to query, write a NY Times bestseller, USA Today best seller, make a ton of cash and become quite a name in the publishing world. It's no longer sending out queries to agents and hoping they'll read the first 20 pages of your novel. Hit the publish button on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, etc...
We also have authors pushing books out at such a pace that it makes your head spin. You can't push a baby out every three months, you shouldn't push a book out either. Lots of authors (obviously women) have compared writing to childbirth. A painful experience, but once you've done it, you feel so much better. Some authors are publishing just to get something out there and not taking the time to look over the work they're trying to sell. The buying public is eating it up. They see a new book by a favorite author and they just have to have it. So one-click has become a verb in the publishing world. But when will the consumer realize that spending money on books that aren't well edited or written or formatted shouldn't be the norm? Even if I'm spending $2.99 on a book, it's three dollars I can spend on something else.
It seems to me that some self-pubbed authors are listening to their fans and trying to keep them happy and satisfied, but to what extent? Of course, when I read a book and it's part of a well-thought out series, I can't wait for the next book. But I do wait. I might tease an author to write faster (which is impossible), but it's only my way of letting them know, I'm here, I'm waiting and write the best damn story you can.
Don't become a slave to your public to keep them happy and jeopardize your standing as a serious author. Don't waste your time producing junk. Take your time to put your heart and soul into the story you are creating, molding and eventually giving birth to. I think it's human nature to want to satisfy everyone.
Reviews. Ah, just the word probably causes all authors, writers and the like to break out into a sweat, hives and want to slam back Jack Daniels by the cask! Reviews are for readers. Not for authors. Yes, authors want to see what the general public is saying about their work. Did they like it, hate it, indifferent? Some authors get into verbal sparring matches with people who gave a less than stellar review. Hey if someone was beating up your child, you'd do what you can to fix the problem. You want to protect it. You've worked hard on it. It's your baby. Turn the other cheek, your baby (book) can take care of itself. No everyone is going to like your book for one reason or another. Deal and move on.
So ends my essay. I'm quite long-winded today! Just somethings I've been seeing lately. All of this is my opinion. I haven't checked any facts, figures or researched any numbers. This is all me.
Now onto the books that I DO recommend that are self-pubbed/Indie Pubbed. These are in no particular. Just in order of my remembering them!
The Low Notes, Kate Roth*
Thoughtless Series, S.C. Stephens**
Avoiding Commitment Series, Kyla Linde
The Moreno Brothers Series, Elizabeth Reyes
Give Me Love, Kate McCarthy
Slammed Series, Colleen Hoover**
The Dark Light Series, S.L. Jennings
The Opportunist Series, Tarryn Fisher
Forever My Girl, Heidi McLaughlin
Ten Tiny Breaths, K.A. Tucker**
The Edge of Never, J.A. Redmerski**
Sempre, J.M Darhower
Love Left Behind, S.H. Kolee
Sheet Music, Ann Lister
Unlovable, Sherry Gammon
Captive in the Dark Series, C.J. Roberts
The Might Storm Series, Samantha Towle**
Love to Love Her, Renae Kelleigh
Strings, Kendall Grey
The Fighters Block, Hadley Quinn
Rock and Roll Never Forgets, Barbara S. Stewart
Collide Series, Gail McHugh
Fighting for Flight, Jamie Salisbury
Connected, Kim Karr
Gabriel's Inferno Series, Sylvain Reynaud.**
* Indie Pubbed
** Publishing Contract