One of the huge benefits of releasing a book is all the new people you meet. Most have been an absolute pleasure (reviewers, bloggers, readers & writers alike), but one or two are less than stellar.
I’ve always whined about the treatment self-publishing gets from agents and publishers and experienced writers. It’s getting more kudos each and every month, but there’s still this negative perception floating around. Until recently I couldn’t understand it, but I’ve come across a gentleman who made me understand.
I won’t mention names, because let’s face it, what’s the point. Needless to say I found him quite vulgar, but his opinions did open up a fascinating dilemma, or at least, potential dilemma for writers.
Quality v ROI
I see writing as my art, and as such I wish to never sacrifice good quality. Quite frankly I couldn’t live with myself, knowing that the reader was getting a poor deal. Is Beyond Parallel perfect? No, it isn’t, but I gave it my best shot. It’s the best I can create at this moment in time.
As you can imagine this cost money and a great deal of time and effort. I’m a first time writer so money is limited, but I wanted to ensure it was edited and properly published. I owed this to my future readers.
This is where ROI (return on investment) comes into the equation.
As a marketer I’ve always had to consider ROI. It’s not always about getting your money back, but certain aims and objectives need to be met. If not, the investment is seen as a failure. Said gentleman- who will remain nameless – pointed out that indie authors aren’t traditionally published authors, and therefore shouldn’t worry about quality, rather make sure the turnaround of books is quick and painless.
Less money spent = more profit made!
He mentioned companies like Walmart that make money by providing a certain type of product (cheap and cheerful basically), and that people who shop there know what they’re getting from the experience.
Are Indie Authors The Writing Walmart?
To sum up the thoughts from said man – at least the perception I took from it – is this: being an indie author isn’t about producing the best book, rather a book that will make you the best profit.
As a marketer I understand this. I don’t like this outlook, but some brands are built on a high turnaround. It produces less than ideal products with the means to make lots of quick cash.
As a writer, though, well, I can’t accept this. For me writing is an art, and no single reader should be privy to shabby work. A book – any book – should be well edited, have a well thought out cover, and be the best the writer can write.
I looked at this gent’s website and his covers made me want to vomit. I haven’t read his work so he could be a literary genius, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be my kind of ‘style’. From what he says, though, he has sold many many copies, and is therefore a successful writer, so who am I to judge, right?
Quality v ROI: What Says You?
I now understand the angst toward self publishing. I fear there are many writers like this who put out a quick, cheap book in the hope of making money. They aren’t bothered about awards or accolades, but making sure they can pay their mortgage.
It’s hard to knock this because businesses across the world operate in such a fashion.
For writers to take this stance, though, well, I can’t get on board. Writing is an art form and the reader deserves the best book possible. In the future I hope self-publishing is full of writers who HAVE to take the WHOLE process seriously.
There are many ways to achieve this, of course, and I love it when people think outside of the box and do things differently. Us indie authors don’t have to follow the same route as the traditional industry, but whatever that route is, I feel it should be brimming with high standards.
Then again, we all have bills to pay. So what says you? Am I a romantic fool living in ignorance or should we hold quality in the highest regard?
Turndog Millioanire – @turndog_million