Today I thought I’d make a post describing certain situations where authors are stuck between a rock and a hard place. No matter how they answer the question, they can’t win. So what ends up happening? They keep quiet.
Today, I’m going to address this on this blog, so hopefully, you can understand why we just can’t answer you. We aren’t trying to be mean by not replying. We just know that no one will be happy with how we answer it, so the safest recourse we have is to not answer.
Don’t you take the time to hire an editor/proofreader?
The answer is: yes. Of course, we do. We care very much about producing a high quality book. Self-publishing isn’t what it used to be. Sure, there are still a few badly edited books out there, but most of them will be very professional. If they aren’t, those authors won’t be around long. This is a business that requires authors to put out the very best they can if they want to be around for a long time.
The problem is that no one can catch 100% of the errors. I do think it’s especially important that the author isn’t the only one editing and proofing their own book. Authors are blind to their work because they will read what is supposed to be there instead of what actually is there. That’s why we hire an editing team. This team comprises of editors, proofreaders, and beta readers. I have all of these. Do they catch everything? No. Do they come close. Definitely.
I am very happy with the group of people I have working on my books. I plan to keep them on my team for as long as they’re willing to be on it. I never take it for granted that they take time out of their busy days to help me, especially since my schedule is demanding. I am constantly bombarding them with books to go over before I publish them.
From time to time, authors will ask others for good people to work on their books, and we exchange names and email addresses. Just like people exchange information on books they enjoy, authors do pass on information if they like a certain member of their editing team. So we rely heavily on word of mouth. The people we’re most likely to pass on are those who’ve been good to us in the past.
Why do you write such sucky books?
Authors don’t write books they think will suck. We write books we think will be enjoyable to those who read them. The majority of authors I talk to are passionate about their work, and they give 110% into the story. To them, the story doesn’t suck.
Now, it would be fair to say that the particular story the author wrote was not to a certain reader’s enjoyment. Taste is highly subjective. For example, some people love alpha heroes. They want strong men who aren’t afraid to go in and get what they want. I write beta heroes. They are strong on the inside, but they are gentle on the outside. This can come off as a sign of weakness. People who like alphas will find my heroes wimpy.
Everyone comes to a book with their own preferences. No author can please everyone. It’s impossible. So why do we write sucky books? The answer is, “We wrote a book you think sucked.” It doesn’t mean the book is sucky to someone else.
I encourage you to take a look at a popular traditionally published book. It could be anything. Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, Harry Potter… Just make sure it’s a book that the majority of people know exists. Check out the 1-star reviews. I guarantee you that every major book has a group of people who thought it sucked. No author is immune to this, no matter how popular they are.
Why are you so greedy that you charge a price for your book?
I only bring this up because this question seems to get asked with authors more than any other. Forgive me for being redundant since I’ve already addressed this on this blog. I’ll try to make it brief.
When an author writes a book, they either put it in with a publisher or publish it on their own. I do both. The publisher sets the price. Publishers have costs they need to cover, and since they must stay in business, they need to make a profit. To do that, they need money.
Now, when a book is self-published, the author bears the weight of paying for the editing team, paying for covers (unless they can make their own), and they pay taxes. Authors will pay taxes if under publishers who don’t take the taxes out for them, too. We need to make money to cover these expenses. Some authors are also trying to provide for themselves or their families with the money they earn.
Authors aren’t trying to be selfish by putting a price on the book. Like you, they need to survive, and you can’t survive without the necessities like food, water, shelter, and clothes. It’s not that money is the most important thing to us. We write because we have a story burning inside of us to write. But to think we can live off of praise alone just isn’t true. People work because they want money in order to survive. Writing just happens to be the form of work we’ve chosen.
I’ll just conclude this post by saying writing is hard work. The process of making a book isn’t easy. So much goes into it. From the conception of an idea to the time it’s published, there are a lot of steps most people never see. It might take a day to read a book, but that book wasn’t written and polished in one day.
Authors have their critics, and that’s fine. I feel that people should be free to express their opinions about the books they read. I just wanted to explain why we can’t answer certain questions you ask. It’s not that we don’t care. We do. We’d like to answer every question we receive. We just know there are some questions that aren’t safe to answer because no matter what we say, we can’t win. So instead of answering, we write the next book.