Monday, September 9, 2013

What do you think about self-publishing?

So now that we've all been able to hear what Mr. Brewer had to say about his writing process, his influences, his career, and A Box of Pandoras, did your opinion of the book change? Mine did a little, for the better. Before reading the story, I noticed the lack of publisher information on the first page. Self-publishing is often a red flag for me--not outright a bad sign, but more of a signal to tread cautiously. However, I ended up mostly liking the story (although Loretta did annoy me at times). That opinion solidified after hearing more about Mr. Brewer's past as a journalist, that he'd written 28 books so far, and that he's a legitimate authority on crime fiction and mystery. I also especially enjoyed hearing about all the books he's read in his life, from childhood to now, which I think is a hugely important factor for how much of an authority on writing and storytelling someone is. What do you think about self-publishing? Is there more for a self-published author to prove, or does it not matter?


  1. I was wondering what everyone thought of self-publishing myself. It seems, in the online writing community at least, that people look down on authors who self-publish. They think it means the book doesn't deserve to be published or that the author isn't a good writer (or both, but they aren't necessarily the same).

    I have always had a mixed opinion of self-published books. I have read some horrible self-published books--and I've read quite a few. I own a Kindle, and I have a habit of buying any cheap book that looks like it will hold my interest. Romances, mostly. These self-published books are not always horrible. Sometimes, they are very interesting and pretty good, and hey, only a few bucks. Do I prefer this over how much money I would spend if I went to, say, Barnes and Noble? Yes.

    Also, my grandmother had a self-published book. She actually did a pretty good job. It was about her family history, which necessarily included some Oklahoma history. From my understanding, it did sell quite a few copies in Oklahoma, because of course some of the locals would be interested in their own history. Self-publishing was a good option for her because she wanted to write the book, her friends and family wanted her to write the book, and it likely would not have sold well to a larger audience, so a publishing house probably wouldn't have published it. (I don't know if she tried to get it published anywhere before she chose to self-publish, but I doubt it.)

    Publishers need to realize that audiences aren't willing to pay $25 for a book. I only buy books for that much if it's my favorite author, and also if I can't wait to read the book. Otherwise, I will wait until it comes out in paperback. I am cheap. Also, hardbacks take up a lot of room that I don't have.

    In a way, self-published authors are smart. Like Steve Brewer said, they can make the same amount of money, and the readers are happier. Even if a self-published book isn't very good, it could still sell. One famous example I can think of is Eragon. (I believe the first book was self-published. Correct me if I'm wrong.) A lot of people would say that the book isn't very good, but it has done very well. I am certain the same could be said for other books. People are willing to read crap. I don't want to offend any people who are protective of their favorite books, but you have to admit Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey aren't the best-written series. (I don't think either of these were self-published. I am just making a point about how bad writing can sell.) People want to read, and they don't want to spend a lot of money to do it. I know way too many people who spend hours reading fan fiction every week, as an example.

    Do I think A Box of Pandoras was bad? No, and I certainly wouldn't say it was because it was self-published. Self-publishing worked for Steve Brewer. And it can and does work for a lot of other authors, too. It might seem to other people that self-published authors have something to prove, but I don't think so.

  2. Personally, I've had some unfortunate experiences with self-published books. I won't go into any detail, but those that I've read are so badly written or completely unedited, that I was doubtful of "Box of Pandoras". Turned out to be a pretty good read, and meeting/talking with Steve Brewer was a great experience. He addressed a lot of questions that were on my mind. Also, it was interesting to hear how he managed publishing his stories. (Let's me know there's still hope for others out there!)

    I will confess that when it comes to judging a book by its cover, I'm the first one to do so. I hardly ever buy books, though I would if I had the money to buy all of Barnes & Noble! The jacket and artwork are the first things to grab my attention, and admittedly, I took one look at Mr Brewer's book and gave it a 2 out of 10. Reading it is another story (no pun intended), and I would give it an 8! Self-publishing seems to work for some people, and Mr Brewer is an example of that.

    Of course, I am not a writer, nor am I capable of producing some of the work done by authors of any sort, so regardless, self-published or otherwise, all authors (most of them at least) have my respect. Writing is an art, meant to be mastered by those that truly have the ability to do so!

  3. Until reading this post I wasn't aware at all that "Box of Pandoras" was self-published, and I wouldn't have guessed that it was by reading it. It was very good quality.

    I think the major reason self-published books are viewed with skepticism is that publishers tend to have quality editing infrastructure. Publishing houses have editors to fix errors and discuss failing plots with authors, whereas authors who self-publish don't necessarily have access to that. Editors sometimes have to be intensely critical and familiar with what the public expects from a given genre. Often, the friends and families of self-publishing authors can't match up to that when given manuscripts to criticize.

    More than anything, self-publishing authors need to have confidence in their editing skills, or in their access to a quality editor.

  4. I feel that knowing that "Box of Pandoras" was self published took nothing from the book. It was an enthralling read. Steve Brewer as earlier mentioned has written around 30 or so books. He knows how to write and he has the experience in editing and plotting interesting stories in order to make a quality book.

    Until actually listening to Steve Brewer's presentation I also did not know that he had self published. My typical genre of book isn't murder mystery but that didn't stop me from enjoying it nonetheless. I saw that the only reason no publishing company would take "Box of Pandoras" was because of its deep rooted plot in New Mexico and possibly the character of Loretta. Like a lot of people mentioned, Loretta could be a really annoying character at times and a bit too headstrong. But even at those times one had to love her character because she is so set on following her dreams and goals.

    Ultimately in terms of self-publishing most authors do have a lot to prove. Possibly the validity of their work, and quality is to be proven. But some people self publish merely because they don't have the know how to send their story to various publishers for evaluation or the opportunities. However, I feel that many self publishing authors have strong story lines and legitimate character development. Even if it is a story posted on an online website such as wattpad. Some of the most underrated writers have works of gold.


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