Sunday, 28 April 2013

How to Lose Readers and Alienate People

Bonus blog this week as I need to get something off my chest ...

Last night, after editing, I was idly looking through my Twitter feed reading peoples' thoughts on Britain's Got Talent or The Voice (boy, does England need some summer so that we can all get our TV bums outside!) and I came across a conversation between a reader and one of my (now ex!) favourite traditionally published authors.

The author (who shall remain nameless) told the reader that (and I have to be very careful with my words here or it's easy for readers to search Twitter and find out who she is) she wasn't a fan of the less expensively priced books available on Kindle.  Well, laaa - dee - da!

This could be a case of 'tweeting before thinking' but it's just wrong on so many levels.  Let me give you my thoughts and see if you agree:

*Does this mean that we should judge the quality of a book by its price tag?  A ten pound book is immediately a 5* review because it must be top-notch?  Or a book that has the umbrella of a big publishing house over it is guaranteed to be a massive success?  [cough cough]  Pippa Middleton?  Oops!

* Indies have to keep their books reasonably priced or no one would take a chance on them.  Personally, I think upwards of £7 for a Kindle book is just rude but if you're being dictated to by your publisher I also see that you have no choice.  See, I respect you - please treat me in the same way.

*  I think this author should stop and think, 'There but for the grace of God ...'  Ok, so you hit the big time, bagged an agent and publisher but please don't put down those who have decided to take another route - for whatever reason.

*  Indies do everything themselves - editing, proof reading, book cover design, promoting - they don't have the luxury (or added cost) of people working on their behalf.  So my 'cheap books' mean that, with the amount of hours hubbie and I put in, I'm probably on slave labour wage.  Dear said Author, you managed to slag that off with one fleeting statement.

* I have to wonder if our stable of 'big chicklit writers' - ie: the ones who were signed in the early days (pre eBooks) when business was booming and it was a new genre- would have had the grit and determination to follow their dream on the Indie path if they hadn't had their lucky break.  It's not for the lazy or easily disheartened - would they have had the staying power?  Or would they have thought 'That wouldn't make me a real writer' ?

I don't want this blog to sound like sour grapes - I'm happy as an Indie writer and I earn just about enough to keep the roof over my head - but I was deeply offended by this writer's comment.  So much so, she has now lost a very loyal reader - why should I line her pockets when she has no respect for what I'm doing?

And, at the end of the day, are we not all doing the same thing?  Living our dream, creating characters and plots our readers love and earning a crust.

It just happens that your crust is bigger than mine!


  1. Well said Amanda. I agree with you o all points. We indie authors put in a hell of a lot of work on our stories and for very little return really compared to what authors with publishing contracts get.

  2. Very well said. The snobbery of traditionally published authors is still there and it makes me very angry. Do they think they're better than indie authors? Do they think because they have an agent/publisher they are the better writing? How incredibly ignorant. I would be very interested in knowing who this person is because I am sick of indie authors being dealt the crumbs.

    CJ x

  3. Thanks guys - I also forgot to say what a lovely supportive lot Indie writers are :) x

  4. I am on both sides of the fence, in that I have 4 novels published with Usborne and a self published ebook. I have to say, I'd LOVE to sell the ebook at £6.99, but nobody would buy it. So it's at £1.01. BUT..and here's the joke on your WAS published by OUP and DID get longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. So...maybe she needs to factor that into her thinking. There are a lot of us who have the publishing rights back on out of print books and are republishing them. Hate all this snobbery. Hate it. As you say, we are all making a living.I have to say, I used to be in with a whole crowd of 'published and slightly famous' children's writers. When I failed to appear with another mainstream publ and THEN self published, one by one they unfollowed me. Silly cows!!!

  5. I think she may have regretted that tweet right after sending it! All writers have to start somewhere don't they?

  6. What an interesting post Amanda and I agree with everything you say. I wonder just how long conventionally published ebooks are going to stay highly priced anyway. I also wonder if agents are less sniffy nowadays. Last time I sent my book to an agent, telling her I;d self published, she didn;t even reply - having called up the full m/s of the book only a few months ago. I'm sure agents have far less work nowadays

  7. I agree, Geoffrey. I think the price of eBooks will certainly need to take a drop in the future.
    I too, had an agent request the full manuscript for 'Diary of a Mummy Misfit' (this was after the let down and fiasco with my other agent) and I never heard from him again - even when several months later I politely chased him up.
    I can only assume he died!

  8. Or else was simply too rude to reply. Long time ago I phoned an agent, she told me 'I'm not taking on new authors - that;s you settled then' and slammed the phone down. My thoughts were not printable here.