I had a long conversation recently about self-publishing and how readers perceive it. I personally occupy a weird space: I am a blogger, reader, reviewer, published author, and with every month that I run this site, I learn more about publishing than I knew when the site began over 5 years ago. I interact differently with self-published books than most romance readers. Most of the time, they are pitched to me for review.
Case in point, this book, which is on sale now at Fictionwise: Touched By an Angel by James Trivers. Mr. Trivers emailed me with the blurb to his book to request a review. I explained that I didn’t have any room on my to-be-reviewed schedule, but that I wanted to reproduce his blurb here, and he agreed:
I find there is greater freedom into what you want to write with online fiction. You can go to darker places. I have a new ebook called “Touched By A Charlie’s Angel.” A bisexual hack writer sells a script to Charlie’s Angels and is invited to snort cocaine with Robin Doe, the newest angel, when the two-person party is crashed by a star-struck lesbian cop. To avoid being busted-they kill the cop, mince and dice the corpse and make it mulch for the actresses garden. The writer flees LA for the Mojave where he hides out from the law as a born-again Christian. Two years later, Robin Doe, emerges from rehab and after given a governor’s pardon (she is a celebrity who, after all, is friends with Jerry Brown) decides to do her Ninth Step with Barbara Walters on nationwide television. Upon doing so blows our hero’s cover. What he does to save himself-you have to read it to find out.
Say it with me now: 0_o?
I honestly read that paragraph three times to make sure I didn’t miss a plot point. “Darker places” doesn’t begin to cover it. Holy holy holy. Faster than you can say “star-struck lesbian cops” my perception of self publication changes.
But thinking about this pitch, and the many-layed cake of WTFery going on in there, made me think about the conversation I’d had about self-publishing, and how readers perceive it.
My perspective is someone skewed because I find out about most self-pub books either because they are pitched to me for review, or because an author has written online about going for self-publication instead of accepting a publishing contract. I have never to my knowledge stumbled upon a self-published book in a store, or encountered one outside of the confines on my inbox or my Google Reader. And I’m really curious about how you, a reader of Romance (the very best genre in the entire world! Without hyperbole! Of any kind! With or without star-struck lesbian cops!) encounter self-published books and what you think of them.
There is so much discussion about self-pubbing, from publisher standpoints, from author standpoints, from financial standpoints, and yet, while I read stories in online news articles about the mythological author who sold books out of the trunk of her car then got a six figure publishing deal, I’ve never actually seen said author, or the trunk of her car (and if it looks like mine, those books had to share space with a stroller, a few bottles of apple juice, and some spare wet wipes). Authors who ponder self-publication, digitally or in print, are facing a lot more competition from other books, both from publishing houses and from other self-publishing authors. I’m therefore really curious: how do you, as a reader of books, view self-published books, and what do you think of those you’ve seen – if you’ve seen any?
So: I have created… A SURVEY. Oh, I can hear the excitement from here. Try to contain yourself. I’m really curious how you as a reader of romance have encountered a self-published book – if you have – and what you thought. I’d so appreciate your input. As usual, my surveys are entirely amateur (I let the survey program do the math for me) and utterly unscientific. My science is tight, but that’s about it.
Please let me know your point of view, or share in the comments what you think. And if you are a star-struck lesbian cop, please, PLEASE leave a comment. OMG. PLEASE.
ETA: I have to take the survey offline to compile the results – but please feel free to continue to discuss in the comments!