A little while ago, I was involved in a discussion on Facebook (within a group of who I thought were like minded authors) The discussion was about Self Publishing and of course, as someone who had taken those steps myself, I was very much interested in joining in. What started as a conversation very quickly segued into an attack on authors such as myself. I don’t claim to be a great talent, although I would love that to be the case, but I wrote books that at least a few thousand people purchased. To me, that was an achievement. In my eyes, Amazon allowing you to put your work out there for a small price, so that people might enjoy it, was the main goal. Sure, I want to be successful and I want to make money from it, but in reality that wasn’t the case. I will hold my hands up, my books were naively written, ‘formatted’ and shoved onto Amazon with the expectation of never really doing much and I was ok with that. That is until others made me think.
I don’t know about you, but I live in a world where finances can be tight, I’m better off than many, but there’s no yachts in my future (I hate fish, so yachting wouldn’t be my choice anyway) I did everything myself, I made my covers, I edited (although clearly not well enough) and I put my work out there. The reviews ranged from fantastic five stars to mediocre mid stars and even that didn’t dissuade me. One of the people who claims to be a fan of mine, is actually an incredibly successful author themselves. So I must be doing ok right?
Wrong. I am dragging the industry down, littering it with rubbish works that are ruining the very core of literature and I am just one of a number of selfish naive fools who are doing so…
I won’t name names, but I was completely devastated to have such a conversation with people I thought were my ‘colleagues’ other writers who had worked hard to do the best they could and get their work out there into an industry flooded with lookalike covers and stories that are blatant rip offs. I wouldn’t ever dissuade someone from following their dream of self publishing and if ten people like your work, that’s better than it sitting on a laptop somewhere gathering electronic dust. Other people disagree, their self deemed success was as a result of simply having funds to pay for everything but the writing to be done for them and hey, I wish I was so lucky.
It didn’t just put me off writing, but it put me off people I’d thought were my friends and a group that until that point, I had praised in my daily life as being a font of knowledge and circle of support. These were the same women who kept in touch with me while I was in Ireland having lost my grandfather last year, the ones who we could bounce ideas off and in turn offer to read and listen for them also. Now I barely look into that Facebook group, I find it a place where people are so absorbed by their own wonderous capabilities that they no longer have time to offer those friendly words and help.
My books were taken down, because what is the point? I was told we self publishers are all by definition and ring fencing, ruining the quality of writing that’s out there. Except then I had a conversation with that good friend of mine last week and she told me she was a fan and was sad my books were gone. I was crying my eyes out as we chatted, so sad that I had failed in the one thing I had always had so much pride in.
So you know what? I’m going to put them back out there and if you don’t like the book you paid 99p for, return it. If you do like it, leave a review. It is that simple.
Everybody isn’t going to love everything you do. As long as you love it, that’s all that matters.