Sunday, October 7, 2012
Today... it's not that simple
Someone shared this video the other day. I was intrigued by the title What Publishers don't want you to know. "Ok," I thought, "lay it on me. I could use a few publishing-related pearls of wisdom because it's a dog-eat-dog world out there." Boy, was I disappointed! And then I was horrified, that other people might watch this and actually take this person seriously. First, she uploaded an unedited unformatted manuscript to Kindle. That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly how good books drown in a sea of crap out there. Someone just writes something and then uploads it and - boom! - it's out there for all to see. Second, and it's worse (yes it gets worse), equating a Kindle upload to a publishing process is like equating heating up a microwave meal to cooking. Yes, it is free to upload a document to Kindle. But what about the rest of it? All the steps the video's author decided to skip to stick it to the publishers and pretend as if she was revealing some great secret? What about editing? Proof-reading? Formatting? (She argued that her manuscript was "perfectly readable" even though she did not follow Kindle formatting guidelines. Well, sorry, some of us have too much respect for our readers to subject them to a badly formatted document.) Cover design? More proof-reading? Last-minute adjustments? One last read-through? No. None of it was mentioned. As far as the video's author is concerned, all that publishers ever do is just upload stuff on Kindle. Oh, and hoodwink the silly little us into thinking that the upload part of the process is what costs money. And she is here to save us all from that delusion. Gee, thanks! Folks, for your sake, I hope you don't believe crap like that. Never, never, never underestimate the challenges of the publishing process. Do I think that going the Big Six way is the only way for a writer? Of course not. I like being an indie author and doing my own thing or working with smaller publishing houses - they are more fun anyway. But that does not mean that I approach the various stages of the process any less seriously than a big publishing house would. In fact, I follow the example of some of my more prominent indie writer friends and make a point of being more thorough at every step of the way. Indie writers already suffer from the consequences of bad decisions made by the few that think that publishing is just about hitting that "Save and Publish" button. There is already plenty of poorly-written, poorly-formatted, poorly-presented tripe out there. The only way to improve the situation is for all of us, indies, to make a commitment to quality that is superior to that offered by the Big Six and by the more careless indie crowd. Publishing is a process, an investment of time, money, and effort, and a huge commitment - not a button.