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What Bugs You About Self-Publishing? [February 2012 Prompt #3]

It’s weekly writing prompt time! This is our new, regular Thursday gig (like open mic night) where we pose a question and open it up to you guys to blog about our topic and link-up your posts in our comments. It’s like a sharing circle without the awkwardness and that annoying feelings stick.

This week’s prompt is very near and dear to our hearts at Duolit. We’ve heard all the disparaging comments that some have shared about self-publishing. And as quick as we are to defend the merits of the industry, we also acknowledge that there are some things that do bug us about it.

So we want to know, what bugs you the most about self-publishing?

This can include frequent complaints that readers have about the industry, barriers to success, or general critiques. We’d also like to hear your recommendations for how we as a community can improve on these shortfalls to make the industry better.

Sound off in the comments below and be sure to include a link to your blog!

Next week’s topic is our fun prompt of the month–what’s your most delectable recipe?

Later days,

– Shannon

  • I guess what bugs me most is that we all become shameless self-promoters. That, and writers trying to sell their books to other writers.

    Observe the restraint as I successfully fight the urge to mention my novels…

    • Toni

      Hi Jason! We’re constantly trying to create avenues and ideas for authors to promote their work that don’t involve wearing around a sandwich board with their book’s URL or endlessly tweeting to their writer friends — difficult, indeed, but we work toward success daily. Look for more posts on this in the future! Thanks for the comment.

  • What bugs me the most is the marketing aspect, and the constant changes to interfaces and rules on Amazon, Pub-it, etc. What proves effective one week may not work the next, and it’s hard to find time to WRITE anymore. And don’t get me started on the landslide of free and 99-cent books; these authors are teaching readers to expect writers to give away their work for nothing.

    • Toni

      Thanks for your input, Pamela. This is one of the downsides of the ever-changing nature of publishing on demand. Our best advice is to make your book stand out with superior editing, eye-catching design and unique marketing practices. At some point, the cream does have to rise to the top, right? We hope so! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

  • It bugs me that somehow self-published books are assumed to be of a lower quality (content as well as production), when just as many crummy books are published through the traditional route as there are crummy books being self-published. The gatekeepers left quite a while ago, it seems…

    • Toni

      This is a sad but true fact of self-publishing, Tamara. There is some dreck that gets traditionally published, but a much higher volume of it in the self-publishing world (mainly due to the higher volume of books being published, period). Our best advice is to make your work stand out from rest using careful, professional editing, design and marketing tools.

  • The multi-tasking and trying to keep up with all the advice is killing me. Working 80 hours a week to make a couple of bucks, having people not take me seriously, and people wanting things from me, but not willing to do things in return. Yup, but it is the life I chose and once I get this boulder up hill, it will get easier…. right? 😉

    • Toni

      Thanks for the comment, Heidi! We struggle with this, too, honestly. I think focus and goals are key — figure out what nets you the best result with the least amount of time, then work your butt off on advancing your career using those avenues. Best of luck, and let us know if we can offer any advice to help!

  • After over a dozen books with Big 6 publishers, I started my own digital imprint to self-pub my backlist books and forthcoming fiction, and as I move further into the indie/self-pub world, I’m bothered by anti-traditional rhetoric hating on everything about the Big 6 and the horse they rode in on. I know many wonderful people in the book industry, and there’s much to be admired and learned from in traditional publishing: craft excellence, professionalism, careful editing, thoughtful presentation, quality over quantity. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Toni

      Great point, Joni. It’s true that there’s a lot of vitrol hurled at traditional publishing from the selfpub world, and it’s sad. Traditional publishing still serves a purpose and there’s no reason why it can’t coexist peacefully with self-publishing. Instead of being negative toward tradpub, let’s focus on being positive toward self-publishing and indie authors!

  • The lack of proper editing – both copy-editing and developmental. 

    • This is a very common complaint, L.S., and for good reason. While we’ve tried to stress the importance of editing, some indie authors still think they can DIY or go without proper editing. It’s a sad situation because it only does a disservice to their book and turns away readers, many who will never give that book (or author) a second chance.