This post first appeared on the Have Your Say section of multi-story.co.uk (a great site for competitions and writing resources).
George Orwell said All writers are vain, selfish and lazy.
The ebook revolution panders to these vices. Anyone can call themselves
an author, throw a bit of a story together as an ebook and plaster
their name, title and homemade cover across the internet within a day or
Want your pulp fiction made available in the old fashioned way? Run that
manuscript through one of the many print-on-demand (POD) platforms and
your paperback will be sitting on Amazonian virtual shelves before you
can properly pronounce the name of a Welsh 19th century publicity stunt
It's the ebook revolution, haven't you heard? Blog posts have swarmed
globally about the predicted demise of traditional publishing due to the
epublishing revolution but spare a moment to pity some poor souls who
are really down in the dumps; vanity publishers. They who used to
graciously take a few thousand quid from the hands of frustrated writers
(vain, selfish and lazy Orwellians) who couldn't get past mainstream
publishing's gatekeepers. Said unfortunate writers then carting piles of
books around in the boot of an Austin Maxi and foisting those dubious
creations upon members of the over-eighties walking club and other
captive audiences at a tenner a throw. That time has gone. POD and ebook
digital technologies now satisfy the vain, selfish and lazy without
filling their dining room with fifty cardboard boxes of vanity. RIP
vanity publishers. And good for the environment.
Just a minute. Are you an independent author and proud of it? If so,
your hackles are probably raised by now. Independent authors are vanity
fodder? No, these sweeping accusations of poorly presented, terribly
titled and hopelessly unedited work don't apply to you. That's because
you have a cover designed to rival the top 100 ebooks on the 'Zon. It
shouts out to browsing readers and visually summarises the premise of
your novel. Your product description blurb is the ultimate précis,
memorable and relevant to its genre, converting passersby into readers.
As for the manuscript itself, there's hardly a hint of word echo, your
narrative voice is clear, dialogue resonates through the air and the
whole thing is wrapped up in a well-paced plot so tight that, were it an
arse, you would just have to smack it. Your digital manuscript appears
on all reading devices exactly how you intended. You know that because
you've checked (and avoided words like the famous Welsh train station).
Grammar and spelling are impeccable. You're just one of several people
that have proofread the thing before moving your fastidious document
control to final. This novel of yours is as good as it can get. Or is
Did you put on the blinkers when some of your peers groaned as they
trudged through your porridge of a blurb? Were you able to extract
genuine opinion from test readers about your cover or did you take their
damning faint praise as something more? Have you dressed your pride and
joy in beige? Has your editing discipline been the best or have you
really settled for good enough and can't face reading the thing through again for the umpteenth time?
According to the marketing crowd an independent author should be
self-assured and assertive, fearless even. A kind of literary warrior.
Before you climb up on your war horse to engage with the market, let
your natural humility have rein for a few moments and consider this;
your independent novel might not be as shiny as it could. Cover, blurb,
content. Best efforts, please. You've invested a chunk of your life in
writing this thing and you owe it to yourself not to eat the cow and
choke on the tail. Stand above the noise of opportunistic amateurs and
turn vanity into pride.
The New Author is a non-fiction
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