Tag Archives: self published

The War Against Self-Published Authors

A definite war has been waged against self-published authors. Sentiments that just because you can take pen to paper and hit submit does not make you an author. In a world when anyone with access to internet can submit a book, what exactly defines an author?

There has even been an argument over writer versus author in this article (Self-Publishers Should Not Be Called Authors, by Michael Kozlowski). The overwhelming amount of snobbery was clear, as it would appear the elite once again do not enjoy “indies” trampling their path. To summarize the article in a nutshell, Mr. Kozlowski states, “If you can earn your living from your writing, you are a professional author, anyone else is just a plain old writer.” The premise to most of this article is that self-published authors (or writers) have not honed in their craft and publish, for lack of a better word, crap.

Some would say that self-publishing is for those who don’t want to spend years on perfecting their art in an apprenticeship as stated by Ros Barber in this Guardian post (For Me Traditional Publishing Means Poverty. But Self-Publish? No Way. “…you will be very glad that the first novel you wrote was not the first novel you published, because it will now feel embarrassing and amateurish,” he states. Going on to state in one of his sections that “Self-Publishing Can Make You Feel Like a Fool.”

These are not the exceptions. I searched many different terminologies and encountered several different blogs, reports, and editorials waging battle against Self-Published authors. Take into consideration that many articles were first littered with self-proclamations of their success. After reading articles for hours, I, as a self-published author, felt more like a peasant at the house of the tax keeper begging for mercy. My place is not among the elite. Maybe that was their point: put us groveling self-pub writers, because we haven’t yet earned our stripes through multitudes of failure, in our order on the literary food chain. Can you say, accomplished writers eat their young?

By definition a writer is one who writes in a particular text. This can encompass all types of writers: journalists, screenplay, novels, blogs, reviewers, scientific findings, technical, email. An author is a writer of a book, article, or report. Which makes, by definition, a self-published writer an author. Are there variations of authortude? I would say so. As any person who takes a picture, selfie or otherwise, is a photographer, that does not make them a “professional” photographer. By definition, professional is defined as, “one engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.”

To recap: anybody who puts pen to paper (or types) is a writer. I wrote an email. I sent a text. A writer who has written a book, article, or report is an author. I am a self-published author. A professional author makes their living from their writings. Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson are professional authors. I am a  registered nurse by profession and an author by passion.

So why the war against self-published authors? If there is one main theme that runs through the disdain of each article it is one I can relate to the most: poorly edited books. Yes writers, just because you can put pen to paper and easily upload to a publishing platform, does not mean you should. I’ve written on this topic several times, and if you read the comments of some of those articles named above, you will see a plethora of readers agree that poorly edited books have turned them off to self-published books forever. They go so far as to research authors before purchasing books, and I do mean some deep research is going into this.

“… we must all strive to put out the best.”

Readers are most certainly looking for the next best thing, and they do not feel that traditional publishing is the be all to end all in books. They are looking for progressive story lines. Stories that break the rules. They are tired of being dictated to by big publishing houses. They want you! But, as a writer looking to author a book you have the duty to produce remarkable well polished work; inside and out. Yes. Yes. Yes. Readers judge a book by a cover.

You don’t need to build upon failures in order to become accomplished, but you do need to know that self-publishing is not free, requires editing, requires the ability to take criticism, requires writes and rewrites until you want to throw your manuscript at a wall and never see it again. Sometimes it takes years and for others it takes months. Do not be that author that hits submit on a non-edited book, that took no criticism prior to publishing, just because the opportunity is there. These faulty books are damaging the reputations of self-published authors.

self-publishing-cartoonWith all that being said, for every article found on the internet bashing indie authors there is an article praising us. There may be a war waged against self-pub, but there is an army of accomplished and professional authors backing up our industry. We are not alone, but we must put our best foot forward. Sometimes our first book is a jumping off point, one that does not need to be published. I’ve worked with several new authors who bled through their  first book then shelved it. That was the learning curve for them, and they knew it wasn’t worthy of publishing, but it was momentum to do better next time, to learn from mistake after mistake. And some get that award winning novel spot on the very first time. We are all different in skills, in stories, in our failures, but we must all strive to put out the best. You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it your best. And remember, you represent a larger group: self-published authors.

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN and author
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Promising Headlines Not Geared Toward Indie Authors

Has anyone else been pulled into reading blogs that headline with words like, “10 ways to boost sales?” “Find out what the experts do to increase sales,” “Fool proof ways to market a book?” I have seen those plastered on search engines, web releases, and Twitter.  I am sucked in every time, and why? Simple.  Because I want to get my book out there.  That is the point of publishing, right?

I have been through the discussion of writing for fun and writing to earn a living.  yes, the two are quite different.  I write because I love to write and it comes so easy.  However, I published in hopes that others would read my book and love it.  Last, I published so I can possibly make a living off it.  There is nothing wrong with being a career novelist, but until that day I am a career nurse with a book on the side.  I am trying to change that status, which is precisely why I click on the saviour links that read, “Boost your book to fame.”

Here is why I have come to so grossly dislike those links (though, I still click through):

  • They are geared toward writers with a large following
  • They are geared toward established writers
  • They are geared toward writers who have influential friends

What I read on those links are: ask all your followers to host a blog tour for you.  But what if you don’t have a bunch of blog friends due to the fact that you are, “a fresh face?”  Then what? Cross that top ten idea off the list.  Next there is promote a giveaway on your blog (many things surround blogs) tour?  Well, nifty idea, but refer back to my previous statement.  Then we have, spam your friends on Goodreads.  What if you don’t have Goodreads friends?  Then there is the  one where you ask a friend to host a book club night where they invite their friends over to, “meet the author.”  Good plan, except many authors tend to be introverts and might not always have a close enough friend to do this.  The list goes on and on.

I have read at least a hundred of these great ways to sell your book, but they all tend to say the same thing.  The one I loved most was from a woman who said, “10 sure fire ways to promote your new book.”  At the very end of her article she listed the countless books she had sold and the fact that two books were NY Times bestsellers, and I’m left to wonder: How does this pertain to someone ranked 605,489 on Barnes and Nobles’ website.  She was also published through a traditional publishing house, giving advice to independent authors.  By the way, I looked her up, she was never self-published.  That is like a non-parent giving parental advice.  Yes, those are my favorite people.

When I learn how self-published and independently published authors can find a niche in the literary world, I will be sure to post it under the headline, “Real advice for indie authors.”  Until then, I am humbly yours, downtrodden on marketing, scheming a plan, constantly researching, and moving half a step forward every week.  Any advice is welcomed as long as it has worked for you, and you are an unknown author too.

Also, don’t forget I am doing reasonably priced book trailers for independent authors.  This is actually a great way to get noticed.  Prices start at $575 (compared to prices starting at $3999), email me at author@tanialramos.com

I’m Leaving My Home: The Wallflower meets other Writers

Today I am leaving the comfy confines of my desert oasis.  Yes, my home set in the middle of some high desert in Southern California, where the winds howl, the sun scorches, and the winter’s sting will be growing smaller in my rearview mirror as I drive off to attend my very first meeting of The High Desert Branch of the California Writer’s Club.  Today they have two guest speakers, but since it is my end of the week to have my daughter, I will likely only sit through part of this special engagement.  Both speakers today are part of the HD CWC, and again, being my friendly, introverted, nerdy self have read through every link on the website to prestudy who they are.  It’s not that I wonder if they are good enough for me to attend, as my pain in the butt friend has so nobly suggested, but to see if I’m worthy to join their ranks.  Me, some unknown author with some very raw self-published book.  Me, who just finished what she hopes is a final edit of her coming soon book, “Be Still (<– book trailer link).”

It’s not easy being the new girl.  What finds me comfort, though, is that reading through other blogs and websites, I have found that many writers are introverts and wallflowers just like me.  Its not that I don’t enjoy getting out either, or that I’m some hermit woman sitting at home eating bon bons with her two dogs, three cats, turtle and bird … possibly a bunny if mom takes my daughter to the petshop while I am at my HD CWC meeting (Don’t do it mom).  In my case, I simply don’t have much time to dawdle outside my home.  I work 36+ hours (last week was 48 plus an on-call 12 hours in there), so when I come home I want to write.  Oh how I miss the endless days of writing while on state disability.  There’s not enough hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the year to have a budding social life…but if my Rising Star evaluation team reads this I’m probably doomed to the rejection pile for having no social depth.  SO I have vowed to get out more, to mingle, socialize, and meet other creative entities to feed my socially starved brain.  By the way, if you don’t see me at the meeting, I promise I was there.  I just tend to blend in with the wallpaper.

I will write the other half of this when I return … PART TWO TONIGHT!!!

Amazon contest

    Found this on Amazon, for all you new unknown authors or self-published authors.  It is a contest by Amazon and worth a look at.  Prize includes a contract and $15,000.

Amazon Contest