Sticks and Stones

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I don’t generally take “days off”, so if anyone noticed my total absence since Tuesday night, it was because of my usual nemesis otherwise known as Telkom, my dodgy internet provider. I’m only just back online now, but before I get to catching up with everyone I want to share a quickie.

If you’re going to launch any sort of direct attack, you firstly need to have all your facts straight, and secondly, if you’re going to attack authors in particular, you really should try getting your spelling and grammar right. When I came across a vitriolic article, broadly consigning Indie authors and their self-published books to the foulest, most evil smelling nether pit of hell, I originally thought that it had to be a (pretty lame) attempt at humour. And then I realised that it wasn’t intended to be funny at all.

The article How Readers Can Avoid Buying Bad Ebooks by Indie Authors is pretty much a hate spittle froth rant, and normally I would just move on, but it occurred to me that a writer who is just starting out on our crazy beautiful Indie road, and hasn’t actually published yet, might take such drivel to heart, and be totally put off. Also, reading through some of the comments, in one of his replies he says, “…you should be culled and made into bio fuel just like 95% of other indie authors…” Now that’s just plain nasty.

Firstly he mentions stumbling across poorly edited books with abysmal cover art that are wretched reads, and among other things, are “rift” (pardon?) with spelling mistakes. I’m guessing he means rife. Then he goes on to suggest ways and means to “…avoid falling prey to indie writers… I admit that at that point I had to wait a little for my laughter to subside. Yes there are some really bad self-published books out there, but they will get consistently bad reviews, people will stop buying them, and their authors will either have to put in the required time to make them saleable, or give the whole Indie thing a miss. A huge chunk of the massive amount of Indie books out there are one offs, and languish unseen right at the bottom of the rankings. Nobody with a grain of common sense is going to buy such obviously bad books. He must have bought quite a few though, to bring on such a peculiar rant.

Then he says “…Segregation is what we need, but many authors have been crying foul saying that if there is a dedicated indie author section in major online bookstores, no one would browse it. They are right…” Really? So then, nobody would head over to books by K A Tucker? She used Amazon KDP to self-publish several books, including Ten Tiny Breaths, incredibly successfully before being noticed by Simon & Schuster. How about H M Ward? NYT and USA Today #1 Bestselling author, she still is a totally self-published author, and has sold over four million books since she first hit that old publish button on Amazon THREE years ago. Barbara Freethy went the other direction – from traditionally published to self-published. Now, if you look for the name of a traditional publisher in the front matter of her Ebooks you won’t find one. Why did she go Indie? Because traditionally published books go out of print, and publishers don’t actively market them forever. Ebooks are forever though, and Indies who care about writing good books, and sharing their tales with readers do consistantly market for the portion of forever allocated to them.

He does suggest checking to see who published a book before you buy it, and if there is no sign of a traditional publisher, you’re to avoid it like the plague. Sigh. Then he says that Indie authors are too cheap to publish using Createspace, so if an author has a paper book available that means they’re fine to buy. He says “…. If a book is only available as a Kindle Edition, this should raise some serious red flags…” Hang on a bit till the laughter stops. Createspace is free dude – you don’t get cheaper than that, and most established Indie authors do have their books available in paperback versions. It is a choice whether or not to publish paper books, and not an indictment of quality.

Some more genius advice from our worthy writer of inane articles is “…Indie authors traditionally rely on bargain level pricing in order to appeal to readers. The average indie title ranged from .99 to $3.99, whereas the average price of traditionally published material is $9.99 to $18.99. My advice, if you are looking for new books is try and browse from the most expensive books to the least. This might not work in all cases, but should avoid the hundreds of thousands of self-published titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo…” Naah fella – I’ve bought most of my traditionally published books when they’ve been on special offer, i.e. 99 cents to $3.99. I bought Stephen King’s Under the Dome for 99 cents. So don’t hold your breath while everyone rushes around looking for $18.99 books to read. $18.99? Seriously?

So yes, there are many terrible Indie published books out there, but they are totally irrelevant to any discerning reader. There is also a golden layer of absolutely brilliant self-published books floating above them, written by Indies who have made it their work to learn the ropes of their business, and to publish the best work that they can, and writers of such very silly articles will make not the tiniest bit of difference to their continuing successes. Sticks and stones old chap, and a little more research maybe, and words like that still won’t hurt us us.

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63 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones

    Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life. said:
    November 15, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    We have missed you Jo but boy when you come back you come back firing on all cylinders.. Excellent response to someone who clearly does not understand the positive side of self-publishing and E-books. Books of all genres are now available around the world to areas that a printed book could never reach. In generations to come this will have a profound effect on education standards and the lives of the people who can access them at the touch of a button. Yes there are rubbish books out there but I have lost count of the number of times I have spent £10 for a book based on the marketing blurb and not read it. Great piece and so glad I popped in the is morning for a quick check on my treasured bloggers. Hugs S

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you Sally – I’ve REALLY missed you guys! I’ve also got quite a few books that cost $10 or more that I will never finish reading. The sooner people realise that the line between traditional and Indie for readers is already very blurry, and tossing everyone in the same pot doesn’t fly anymore. And also – I hope you and David have a WONDERFUL day today. HUGS!

      Liked by 1 person

    Mira Prabhu said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Great post, Jo! Thank you.

    Like

    Jack Eason said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I read the article yesterday Jo. Like you I laughed my head off over the idiot’s completely insane rant. What’s the betting that like all trolls, his own books don’t sell? 🙂

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 11:58 am

      LOL! If his spelling alone is anything to go by he’s actually talking about himself. 😀 That’s a so called professional site, and the amount of typos made for a bit eye-watering.

      Like

    Jack Eason said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    I read the rant Jo speaks of yesterday. 🙂

    Like

    belsbror said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Your explanation means a lot to us aspiring writers. I hope your mystery reviewer does not publish a book. He has committed literary suicide. Indie writers are readers, too, buyers if he needs more clarification.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

      His bio at the bottom of the article doesn’t mention any books written by himself, it just raves about how brilliant he is and obviously adored all over the place. I’ve never seen anyone who carries on about Indies as much as he does without some sort of hidden agenda or jealousy though. Hopefully nobody believes what he says. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        belsbror said:
        November 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        Hidden agenda more likely. If he wants us to buy expensive books, your guess is as good as mine. Obviously, almost all writers, old and new, started from the bottom. Correct me if I am wrong: no writer wrote a masterpiece on the first draft. 🙂
        Some of the best writers in history self-published their books. Why not the new generation?
        As you said, readers will be the final judge. They will buy whatever books they want, indie or not.
        Thank you for sharing your opinion about this issue. 🙂
        Blessings,
        belsbror

        Like

    teagan geneviene said:
    November 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Brava Jo!!! Now *that’s* how to get up on a soapbox! That was worthy of Julia Sugarbaker (Designing Women), my favorite of all soapbox get-up-on-ers. >
    But seriously, thank you so much for this because i would have been one of the writers you mentioned who would be so turned of (to indie) by that article that i would have given up. I’m sure you will make a difference for many beginners.
    Mega-hugs! 😀

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I loved Designing Women when we had it here too – and Julia – you have superb taste of course Teagan! To be honest, normally I don’t give trolls link value, but just like you I would have been turned off by this guy when I first started, so sometimes it’s good to trash the trash they put out there. You’ll be stomping these negative vibe people in no time. It sucks that there are people out there willing to crush people’s dreams because it will give them more room themselves, forgetting that it’s not about space, it’s about being a writer. Mega-HUGS back atcha and have a lovely weekend my friend. 🙂 X

      Like

    teagan geneviene said:
    November 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    PS: One thing that prompted me to go indie was the astonishing number of traditionally published books with horrible editing and poor writing. Proper, or “real” books no longer seemed so sparkly and shiny.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      You’re right – there are only a handful of trad authors whose books I buy (more than once), and quite a lot of Indies whose entire lists I buy – and enjoy. Paper books don’t translate well when they’re digitally manipulated to ebooks – they should by typed from scratch I reckon, and I’ve tossed quite a few traditionally published books off my Kindle because they were downright unpleasant to try and read.

      Like

    pollyesther said:
    November 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    hmmm smells like “dirty” tactics to me, looking at the amount of the above comments that went in well informed and gifted this hateful blogger with more traffic…. Thanks Jo for helping me not change my mind on my future plans for going Indie, despite the fact I did NOT read his rant. I prefer to take your word for it 😉

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      I’m glad you didn’t change your mind! Opting for traditional publishing to begin with is a really long road, and quite a few Indie authors get chances to sign with the trads at some point anyway. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Charles Yallowitz said:
    November 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    You know, I think I remember this guy doing a similar article last year. At the very least, I remember him being in a comment section of a similar article. Just the way he handles reacting to comments seems so familiar. He replies mostly to those who agree with him and those he can take a shot at like someone who rejected a traditional contract to retain rights and go indie. Stuff like this really reminds us that indie authors still have a way to go for respect and there are those out there who will never give us that.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      His name rings a bell with me too – he REALLY hates Indies. We do have a long way to go to get proper respect, but I reckon we’ll get there. People like him only pick out the bad, and pretend that the awesome don’t exist, but I’m sure that over time the bad will thin out. Publishing books as an Indie is hard work, and the guys just publishing any old crap for the money will give up sooner or later. 🙂

      Like

        Charles Yallowitz said:
        November 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm

        Odd thing is that he seems to be a technology article writer. So I don’t know why he’s so furious with indie authors. Maybe he went looking and got trapped in the Dino or Monster Porn sections. I know that would taint my view of indie authors if that all I saw for a few days.

        The bad is definitely thinning out and things are changing where the indie scene is becoming more viable. R.A. Salvatore (big fantasy author) just did a self-published novella and I know he isn’t the only one to do something like this.

        I think part of the problem is that it’s easy to find an indie author who hit publish, walked away, and then complained about no sales. Those are the ones that garner attention while the majority who are working hard fly under the ‘hater radar’. You also have many who think indie authors are only into disturbing porn stories because many sites have found it funny to post about those. Not sure the majority of readers realize that there are indies in every genre.

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          November 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

          Ha haaaa! He deserves to be trapped in the Monster Porn sections. 😀 You’re right though – that stuff taints the industry. I think that they are segmented though – the same thing he’s suggesting for all Indies. Last year when that whole Monster thing blew up and Kobo just booted almost every Indie off, I read that Amazon had made it so that unless someone was specifically looking for it, it wouldn’t come up in other searches, so he would have had to type that particular genre into the search box. I don’t think most readers have a clue whether they’re buying Indie or not – I’ve never checked before I’ve bought a book. It’s mainly other writers that pick these things up, and I’m pretty sure that that’s where all this hate mail is coming from.

          Like

            Charles Yallowitz said:
            November 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

            They’re definitely segmented. Only reason I found out about them is because a friend stumbled onto an article that made fun of them. Yet, people still think that’s a dominate genre. My favorite is when they scream about erotica being the only thing that indie authors write. I think 50 Shades being traditionally published kind of sunk that argument.

            Good point on most readers not realizing what they’re getting. They see a cover or a book with high star ratings, they grab it. It is sad that other writers are throwing the sticks and stones since it would be better for the overall industry if we worked together. Then again, you always have people like that.

            Like

              jorobinson176 responded:
              November 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

              50 Shades sunk it good. A lot of the erotica out there is published by people who buy the stories from ghostwriting sites. When I was researching my Ghostwriter series I joined quite a few of them to get the lay of the land, and most jobs on offer are for those – usually for some ridiculous amount of money, so they’re probably all badly written as well as being blech.

              Like

                Charles Yallowitz said:
                November 15, 2014 at 3:36 pm

                My knowledge of erotica isn’t much. What are the ghostwriting sites and how do you buy stories? I remember reading an article a year ago where someone said they download stories with gaps that they fill in before publishing it for 99 cents. Kind of like a horrible version of Madlibs. Is it like that?

                Like

                  jorobinson176 responded:
                  November 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm

                  There’s quite a lot of them around – like ODesk and Freelancer.com, where they literally pay peanuts. Writers have to put quotes in for jobs and the cheapest mostly win. I can’t remember all of the site names, but they all came up when I googled. I also read an ebook – got it lurking somewhere on my Kindle – where the author actually suggests that you take advantage of these writers to write how to books and so on, pay them twenty bucks or so and publish them as your own. The writers have to hand over what they write totally – they get no mention or anything like that.

                  Like

                    Charles Yallowitz said:
                    November 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

                    Wow. It’s a terrible, dangerous world for authors. That last point is rathering sickening.

                    Like

    Charles Yallowitz said:
    November 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Wow. There’s a lot of comedy in the comment section there too.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      He got properly laughed at. 😀 Probably peering out from under his bed now. LOL!

      Like

        Charles Yallowitz said:
        November 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        You should look for his statement on poor readers.

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          November 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm

          Has he done one?

          Like

            Charles Yallowitz said:
            November 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

            Look in the comments for his response to someone arguing about the advice to start looking in the expensive books.

            Like

              jorobinson176 responded:
              November 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

              I’m just rolling down his comments section again. So far he’s said that people are embracing typewriters again, and that poor people have tremendously poor reading skills. 😀 This guy is all the sandwiches short of a picnic. Oh – that’s the one! He’s saying that if you’re poor you’re dumb too – lovely!

              Like

                Charles Yallowitz said:
                November 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

                Yup. That’s the one. Seems he went out on that picnic anyway.

                Like

    cicampbell2013 said:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Excellent post, Jo.
    Nice to know you’re in our corner.
    Christine, indie author

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks Christine, Indie Author. 🙂 I think that being an Indie author is something to be incredibly proud of. You need guts and a brilliant work ethic as well as being able to write a book.

      Like

    Sue Dreamwalker said:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Many thanks for that Jo.. Good to see you back.. And wishing you a trouble Free Weekend.. Hugs your way.. Sue

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Hello dear Sue – it’s wonderful to see you around and about. Your words always come at the right times. Lovely peaceful week to you. HUGS! XXX

      Like

    Let's CUT the Crap! said:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Really? How can anyone paint all indie writers with the same brush? He who protests too much and all that… It’s a pity he can’t back up his complaints with good spelling.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      He’s a wannabe author who thinks that trashing Indies will make him look all literary and clever I reckon. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    Personally – I have found many great stories and books written by seriously talented Indie Authors, so I disagree with Michael Kozlowski on so many levels I’ve lost count and feel dizzy 😀

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks Chris! Made steam come out of my ears that guy. 😀

      Like

    alisonjackauthor said:
    November 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Reblogged this on An Author's View and commented:
    A great post from Jo in response to an uninformed writer’s vitriolic attack on indie authors. If this writer wants to limit himself to reading traditionally published work, then fine. His loss. With so much perfect reading material, you’d think he’d have something better to do than attack the reputations of all the original, exciting and immensely talented indie authors.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks Alison! He must be loaded too too afford such expensive Ebooks. 🙂 X

      Like

    danniehill said:
    November 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    He certainly got the attention he was looking for. So glad you brought him to light for me, Jo. Perhaps it’s not a bad thing that readers can see the ignorance we have to wade through on our Indie journey.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I was chuffed to see that it was mostly all bad attention Dannie. It helped that the guy can’t spell, and is clearly a little off-centre – logic wise. But with the call for segregation gaining a tiny bit of traction, I think we do need to fight back now and then. Only now and then though… 😀

      Like

    Kev said:
    November 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I alway pine when you’re MIA, Jo. 😀 (Bloody dodgy Internet providers!)

    Whoa! Jo, that’s a strong reaction. Not like you. Anyway, I agree on all points… sounds like a DH to me. If you don’t like indie writers, don’t read ’em! We’re not pointing a gun to anyone’s head now are we… although… Mm. Nah, not worth it! 😀

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      It was the first thing to sully my eyeball after this internet blackout Kev. Dangerous time that. 😀 Back to my normal ditz now again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        Kev said:
        November 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm

        Very dangerous time, Jo… very dangerous indeed. So glad things are back to normal. 😀

        Like

    4utu said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Just found your blog today and I can tell it will quickly become a favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      And very pleased to meet you I am too! 🙂

      Like

    Ali Isaac said:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Lol! That was a very poorly written article, so much so that I cant take it seriously at all!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      It is a proper load. 😀 Some newbies might though, and could end up trying for the traditional grail for years thinking that Indies are all rubbish.

      Liked by 1 person

        Ali Isaac said:
        November 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        Yes that would be such a shame, particularly as how the trad pubs are more cautious than ever about who they take a chance on in the current climate.

        Like

    Susanne Leist said:
    November 16, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I agree. We, as Indie authors, work very hard to write the best quality books. We have our books edited and then edit some more. I’ve edited my book twice on my own after it was edited by an editor. I also had it proofread. I listen to my reviewers. Does Stephen King change his book to please his fans? I think not.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Exactly! I’m pretty sure that guy regularly posts on book sites around and about too. Lately there are way too many of these trolls calling for segregation, and that gives some people the willies, but it can’t happen now with the seriously big time Indies out there. 🙂

      Like

    Nicholas C. Rossis said:
    November 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    You make some great points. I’d read his post, and had been considering a response, but you beat me to it. To be honest, though, I’m not sure I would have bothered with it. It seemed to me like someone who was out to get attention by being deliberately provocative. I mean, if you check the comments, he’s clearly fishing Indie authors…

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      He definitely was. I wasn’t going to give him airtime, but I know that if I’d read that before I self-published it would have totally put me off, and I’d probably still be shopping to agents today, so I thought a response was a good idea this time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    theowllady said:
    November 18, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Like

    Sherri said:
    November 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Dear Jo, I LOVE the way you don’t mince words and get right down to it. And I’m so glad I have you on my side 😀 Reading this as someone who has yet to discover the academics of self-publishing, I am so glad I read this and not that other drivel. Honestly, he can’t even spell ‘rife’ correctly. Thank you so much, I am so glad I met you 🙂 3 >3 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Thank you my Sherri love! That guy is a dangerous tool – I spotted a couple like him way back in the beginning when I first joined a couple of FB groups. They suck the heart right out of people who haven’t published yet with their so called knowledge. LOVES and HUGS to you and have a fabulous weekend. 🙂 ❤ XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

      Liked by 1 person

        Sherri said:
        November 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        You too my lovely friend…you too… 🙂 ❤ xxxxxxxxx

        Like

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