Friday, May 25, 2012

Prejudiced Readers

I was loitering around the Amazon website the other day and stumbled across a customer's discussion forum titled, "How to Avoid Indie Authors."  The entire basis of the chat boggled my mind. Why would anyone want to avoid an author...any kind of author?

I know, gasp, right?

I had to read a couple things people had to say.

One person spoke about how picky he/she was about the stories he/she reads, especially in the one-dollar bin (well, then don't buy one-dollar books, huh?). This person also didn't like how indie-authored books sneaked into his/her "customers also bought this, recommended read list" when he/she clearly didn't want them there.

I was kind of curious why a person who's so picky about what her/she reads doesn't research an unknown story before he/she buys the book. Maybe I'm just a freak, but I like finding out everything I can about a book that's written by a new-to-me author BEFORE I buy it. And I wouldn't even say I'm a picky reader. As long as it's a romance, I'm usually good to go!

Another customer thought Amazon should somehow tag their indie author books so readers will know the difference...as if this would somehow sort between the good and the bad.

I didn't join the discussion because I'm an avoider of all things confrontational but here's what I itched to say:


I don’t think trying to avoid indie authors is the problem. A couple of my favorite books are written by indie authors. A couple of books that are totally not to my taste are written by huge publishing house authors. Also, sometimes indie author books are better edited than published books. Sometimes, they're not. In other cases, wonderful big-name authors are self-publishing their stories because they’re hoping to cut out the middle man and make a larger profit or maybe because they’re upset with their publishing house. Every instance is difference, and Indie or not Indie is not the issue.

The problem it sounds like you’re having is finding books that are well-written, well-edited, and to your personal taste. The only way to solve this dilemma is do research on a book before you purchase it. No matter how fancy Amazon or any company makes its search engine, it can’t go inside your head to see what you’re going to like 100% of the time. That’s up to you the buyer to find out.

Before you go all willy nilly pushing “buy now” buttons, try looking at the author's website and see what else they have written, read their excerpts, their blurbs, or the Kindle samples on Amazon. Read all the reviews in a diplomatic manner (understanding everyone has differences of opinion). Find out everything you can.

If you still want to hate on indies: check out the publisher under the Product Details information (just scroll down about ten inches and to the left under the buy button). If the author is the publisher or if no publisher is mentioned, it’s probably self-published. If you’ve never heard of the publishing house, do a quick google/bing/yahoo/whatever search, and if it doesn’t have a website, the book is probably self-published. 

Yet, that still won't guarantee whether you will or won’t like a book or how well it’s written. My books comes from publishing houses and I know I have loads to learn in the writing-well department. *clears throat hastily and flushes*

I suggest that if this really bothers you, you could also become a member of Goodreads or some such social network for book lovers, then look up your favorite stories. Find reviews from people who also totally love your favorite book and follow those reviewers. When you see what else they love, it might be a good guess you’ll like it too. But again, nothing is 100% guaranteed. 

A new book purchase always has its risks, but that's just part of the excitement about buying them. Will it be the best book you've ever read or another lemon?

So, what do you think?  Too snarky? Or wise and tactful?

Yeah, maybe a bit of both!!

What do you think about the topic though?  Or rather, do you yourself have prejudices against certain types of books or writers?  I've always thought an author was an author was an author; what kind of venue they use to get published means nothing and I'm not going to know if I actually like their book until I read it.

Though I have to admit, I have one prejudice when it comes to stories.  I like romantic happily-ever-after fiction.  I'll still read the "other" kind but I do try to avoid them!!

12 comments:

  1. Linda, I totally agree with you, it has nothing to do with Indie or Publish:) I love reading and for myself I might not like one book out of a hundred and when that happens I go on to the next book no big deal. Reading a book is no different from any other choice you make in life until you try it you won't know if you like or not,but thats what reading a book is all about (duh)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! Thanks for dropping in your point of view, Debbie.

      Delete
  2. Yeah, it's not about indie pubbed or big named publishers, it really is about the author and the story.
    That's really a shame for those people. They're missing some good books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are missing out on some good books. I bet a lot of those people are reading Amanda Hocking books now though!!

      Delete
  3. That's a very good response, Linda - I don't care who publishes a book, as long as it's a good read. As you say, some of the 'big publisher' books often aren't as good! For me, it's all about the blurb and storyline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been known to let a pretty cover draw me in, but yeah, blurbs and storylines seal the deal for me too!

      Delete
  4. I don't think your words are snarky at all. I agree it's all about the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No snark at all, huh? Think I should add some?!!!

      Delete
  5. I totally agree, Linda. I've seen so many hateful threads on the Amazon forums against authors, it's a wonder these readers even like to read. Sometimes my fingers just itch to chime in, but it's wise to just walk away quietly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Peggy! You're so right. I'll read some of those things and wonder what they heck they DO like to read! Thanks for listening to me rant.

      Delete
  6. I think it has just the right amount of snark to be effective! Just because a book is published by a big publishing house doesn't necessarily mean it's good. I've read some books by very successful author which I've thought were horrible. Many of them have been made into mediocre movies! Again, not necessarily the sign of a good book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. I agree with you. Since joining my forum and small presses, I read "indie" almost exclusively. My eyes have opened to some genres and books I never would have read otherwise. The few "OMG read this" books that I was swayed to by others, I didn't enjoy as well as these by people I "knew". You had better restraint than I not to put in your .02. Great post.

    ReplyDelete