A Random Rant
I know that normally on Mondays I write a bit and share that with you all. I didn’t have it within me to do so this time, but something has been bothering me for a while and I decided that I might as well have my two swisches of my tail about it.
I’ve noticed that, mainly on Amazon, because they are the largest eBook seller by far, that there is a rather nasty series of things that some authors are doing there that I feel is rather dishonest in a lot of ways to their readers.
The first thing that has bothered me is when an author publishes their work and then republishes it, and then does so again. By this I mean there are some authors that seemingly wish to keep their works at the top of the publishing date list on Amazon. So, in order to do so, they continually change their publishing date, only on Amazon mind you, and in doing so their work jumps up to the top of the list.
Now, that in itself would be bad enough, but then comes the next thing that bothers me. This is when authors republish their work exactly, with no changes, save for the cover. The story itself is exactly as it was before. Errors and all. Then they go a step further and delete the previous edition of their work rather than releasing this work as a new edition of the work that already exists. This is not fair to those that have already purchased the work by any means that I can see.
The trifecta, and this is where I really have a problem, is when the writer publishes the work in question again, with a new cover, and a new author’s name and passes it off as a completely new work. But there is not a single word in the story that is new, no errors are fixed, and nothing at all changes or is made better in any way at all.
Much of this has to do with Amazon’s publishing policies and how books are released through them. I don’t see this issue happening to the same extent it is on Amazon anywhere else. I don’t begrudge an author making some money on their works. Save for the ones that are releasing four page stories of which one page is the cover and one page is the blurb about the author for upwards of three dollars, but I digress…
The self-publishing of books is not a bad thing, I like that one can release their work to the world and see what develops from that. I see authors that take the time to create a website or interact with their readers being some of the better ones out there and there are a lot of them by far. But there is a certain undercurrent of authors, especially in the world of erotica, that seem to be only looking for the loopholes in releasing books.
I’ve spoken in many of my reviews about where there isn’t much care taken in the craft of releasing a book. There are many works that are released where there are massive numbers of grammar, spelling and other errors. Overall, more times that I care to mention, there is more time spent on the cover of the book than there seemed to be over the book itself.
It does not have to be this way.
Self-publishing authors have to realize that at some point there will be a shift in their readership towards writers that release a good book. Not a pamphlet. Not a flyer. A good long book with character development and a point to the story.
Now, some might say: “But it’s erotica! None of that matters!” Really?
To me it does. To many readers like me it matters that an author creates a story. That seems to be less and less what is being offered to the readers as a whole and that’s a massive shame. More so, I can look at many writer’s sites and story sites where amazingly well crafted works are shared and I look at their works and think: “I’d pay for that.”
It should not be the goal of the writing community to offer what amounts to poor writing for good money. The bottom line, as I see it, is that readers when they find an author that delivers on story, that cares about what they release, they will spend their money on that author and do so repeatedly.
There will come a time where one of two things will happen. The first, and personally I cannot see this happening, is that Amazon will place some standards on what it published on their site. I don’t mean editorially, I mean in that if you want to sell a book for three dollars, you will need to meet a minimum number of words to do so. I can’t see this actually happening because, let’s face it, Amazon makes so much money from self-publishing and especially from erotica that they will never change how thing work for them.
The second and more likely event will be a backlash on the writing community as a whole. At some point the reviews will begin to become very harsh, sales will drop, and all of a sudden there will be a moment where authors will have to improve or they will simply stop selling their works. Readers are willing, I believe, to give any author a chance and see what they can do. You have one chance to hook a reader with your writing and if it is not the best you can do, you will not have that chance to do so.
In short, care about your writing. That seems to be something of a rarity as self-publishing grows in strength and it should not be that way. Don’t try to cheat readers. You might fool them once, but you’ll never have another sale from a reader that feels like they have been cheated. If you are worried about losing sales over time, then write a new book in the same universe. Or several of them. Give a reason for readers to keep coming back to you. Make an effort to keep your readers engaged with you.
Most of all… Show some class. Show your strengths. Do your best.
The reward in the end will be something you’ll notice.