The Great Pretenders: Biggest Enemies of the Indie Book Industry
or Things the Indie Book Industry needs to thrive
We’ve all heard of the “Fake it till you make it” concept. It’s a great concept, but I don’t think it should be taken literally. It’s not like you have no idea what you’re doing, but if you pretend you know your stuff, you’ll make it! That will just put you on a fast highway to pissing some people off. Fake happiness till you are happy is a way to reset your brain, but it also implies you have the ability to be happy within you. By all means, take yourself seriously as a writer way before your first book is published, I know I am! But then again, you do believe you’re good at it and you have some people telling you the same after reading what you write.
And then we hit the big bad elephant in the indie publishing room: the pretenders. People who pretend they are professionals and end up ripping of indie authors. Some of those indies catch on fairly early in the game and start looking for other possibilities, some don’t, and we have professionally edited books or expertly promoted releases that are poorly formatted, full of typos, and hardly make it on a couple of review sites, never mind sales numbers!
So here are the great pretenders that really need to beat it so that the Indie Book world can start reaching its potential:
You know them! They say they are awesome, but have no idea what editing means. Your beta readers (who are people who love books, not trained editors) have had way better and more helpful feedback to offer than the vague comments your editor made. I did review quite a few editors before finally contacting one. I was pretty sure of my choice and I am so happy I could kiss Kim for accepting me. But hey, I’ve heard the horror stories! Trust me, I’ve seen friends go through them!
If you charge someone to make sure their book is typo-free, the version you send back should be typo-free. Also, the author shouldn’t be an expert in comma usage when compared to you! If you can’t make your deadline and you hurry through it, your proof will suck! Just own up to it! Say you’re going to be late, apologize, and freaking do it well!
Pretend PR/marketing pros
You know, not everyone is a book marketing expert or a PR prodigy. You should not offer your services when you have no idea about all this. Sure, I’ve recently started helping out a couple of indies with book promotion campaigns. But I have been playing in the PR field for years and, trust me, I don’t charge them as I would my IT or tourism clients! If you have never promoted anything for real in your life, if you have no experience and are just starting to learn the tricks of the trade, maybe you shouldn’t charge an unsuspecting indie for it. Just sayin’!
Pretend Perfect Writers
You will be getting a lot of criticism when you ask for a critique. Betas will tell you what does not work for them, editors will suggest changes, other authors will offer their input. You are not perfect! Your novel is not perfect the first time around. If people are willing to give you a chance, offer feedback, don’t get defensive. Explain what needs to, say thanks, and try to improve. Us indies do have a reputation of lashing out at people going through our stories!
I had someone offer to do an in-depth critique of a short story I wrote for the fans of my Facebook page. I knew it hadn’t been professionally edited and could have been better. They sent a review of the first 10 pages and asked me in every way imaginable not to be mad. I did not understand why. Sure, some parts they thought I should change, but there was enough praise in it to compensate! And yes, I will edit it when I get a chance (after I am done with my novel).
I’ve said it before, the writers’ community is a brilliant one to be in. But now and again someone will pretend to be friendly and then stab another author in the back. It sucks and this has to go away, yesterday!
We should continue to support each other, offer advice, share each other’s releases when it’s something we believe in! We shouldn’t make it harder for other indies when the industry is already struggling! People still look at it as a bunch of people that no publisher would vouch for! Yes, we keep proving that is irrelevant, but the bad image is still there. Maybe we shouldn’t add to it out of malice?
What other pretenders would you add?