The Tsunami Of Excellence

As a constant traveller, carrying enough books to read used to be a nightmare. Even planning which books to take on a two week vacation and trying to keep within the baggage allowance was a major logistical exercise.

A serious expedition, like a six month jungle hop or a year long teaching assignment in a far flung wilderness, meant carrying entire suitcases full of books. Many times I’d been known to pay more in excess baggage than the actual flight would cost.

Then along came the Kindle. I estimate it’s now paid for itself five times over, and will continue to save me money for so long as it keeps working.

But it’s done much more than that. It’s changed the way I write.

No surprise there, perhaps. Ninety per cent of our sales are through Amazon. But here I’m talking about e-publishing, not just Amazon’s Kindle. (Nooks don’t work outside the US, and an iPad is useless to me here in Africa, as are most other e-readers, so I’m reliant on Amazon.)

But epublishing has changed the very process of writing, not just for me but for many others. By eliminating the gatekeepers epublishing is not just increasing the number of books available. It is transforming literature.

Last week over on MWi chick-lit author Sibel Hodge was telling us about her dark faction novel Trafficked. This would never in a million years have seen the light of day if Sibel had been lumbered with a trad publisher.

Elizabeth Ann West picked up on the same topic during the week. Digital publishing means we can write what we want to write, not what the gatekeepers think will make them the most money. (By the way, Elizabeth is over on MWi today with some interesting ideas on how debut authors can grab that all important initial market share. Be sure to pop over and say hello!)

So now we can publish pretty much anything we want to.

But doesn’t this just bring on the dreaded tsunami of crap as wannabe writers run off fifty thousand words during NaNoWriMo and then self-publish without even running a spell-check, just because they can?

Well yes, there will be some bozos who do just that. But who cares?

Readers don’t just randomly download a title on Amazon without checking it out any more than they walk into a bookstore and randomly buy a book just for the hell of it. Unless you deliberately go out of your way to find, pay for and download rubbish, there’s no way that crap will end up on your Kindle, nook or iPad. So forget about it.

Instead spend a few minutes looking at the quality reading now available that we previously never had an option to buy, because the gatekeepers didn’t like it.

As I’ve argued for a long time on MWi, the digital revolution heralds a New Renaissance in literature. Far from drowning in a tsunami of crap we are in danger of drowning in a tsunami of excellence, as indie writers grow in confidence and step further and further outside the box.

And it is this tsunami of excellence that is the single biggest threat to traditional publishers, and is why serious indie writers can beat the trad publishers at their own game.

I’ve said many times that the trad publishers will turn their ship and embrace digital. It’s happening. They have the money and muscle to fight back, and they are doing so.

But I’ve also argued the trad guys don’t understand the new paradigm. They think they can just convert a trad file to digital and that’s it. Sit back and watch the money roll in.

The fear is the same old trad names will regain their poll position by bullying, bribery and corruption. No question that’s beginning to happen. And no question it will continue to happen.

But the glass is half full. If you want depressing nonsense about how the indie writing world is coming to an end then go somewhere else.

To repeat, the trad publishers do not understand the new paradigm. And that gives us indies the edge. Because epublishing is not just changing what we can write. It’s changing the way we read.

And by that I don’t just mean the obvious transition from paper to screen. I mean how often we read, where we read, and most importantly what we read.

* * *

Time was reading was for most people a bed-time activity. At the end of the day you finally had time to settle down with a good book, except by then you were too tired to read much.

The dedicated reader might carry a book with them for train journeys, flights, doctors’ appointments, etc. But lugging a heavy book around is not always practical, and you’re always guaranteed to finish it with plenty of time to spare and be left with nothing to read and a heavy book to lug home. And maybe you preferred not to have your reading choices displayed to all and sundry. Remember when the trads re- published Harry Potter with “adult” covers so embarrassed execs could keep up with what Harry, Ron and Hermione were up to?

Ereading is changing all that. Suddenly we can have a thousand books at our fingertips, and a million just a click away. We can carry them around with us all day, and no-one will know if we’re reading Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Stephanie Meyer or Sleazy Sue’s Sauna Sessions Volume 31. (Btw if anyone’s got Vol 29 can they lend it to me ? I missed thast one.)

We can grab a quick ten minute read in the supermarket queue or while waiting to collect the kids from school. We can read on our lunch breaks, or when an appointment is cancelled at the last moment, or whenever we have five minutes spare. Which means we end up reading more.

Almost everyone who has a ereader says they read more than before. Much more.

But they also read differently. They read short stories and novellas. They like novels with shorter chapters that mean they can manage a whole chapter in those five minute reading breaks.

They read new authors because suddenly they can download samples or even entire books for free, and then buy the rest of that author’s books if they like them. (See D.D. Scott’s WG2E post yesterday.)

And slowly but surely readers are beginning to look for a new kind of reading experience. The indie experience.

***

On my last trip to the UK in the summer I didn’t buy a single print book. But friends looking out for me had collected a fine range of paperbacks from my favourite authors for me to bring back. Top names that in previous years (or even months!) I would have paid serious money for. So I now have a collection of twenty-two new print books on my rickety apology for a book-shelf.

They look wonderful. They smell wonderful. They’ve got colorful covers, and back covers. And spines!

When I first got back to sunny West Africa I’d sometimes open them and caress the pages and inhale, as one does, looking at the different fonts, and paper color and texture. Then I’d look at the titles and the author names. Major best-selling names that in a previous life I’d have started reading in the book-store before I’d even paid for them. I would have cancelled engagements to make sure I had time to read them.

Names that for years epitomised my dreams of being a writer.

Three months on and I’ve not read any of them. Not one.

***

During the Amazon summer sale a lot of my favourite authors were being almost given away, at indie prices. I took full advantage and bought dozens of top trad names.

I’ve not read any of them. Not one.

Yet my Kindle goes everywhere with me. At every opportunity it’s switched on and I’m devouring a new book. So what am I reading?

The simple fact is, my reading habits have changed.

As a reader I know that, with very, very, very few exceptions, the trad pubbed books will be the same old same old. They will be predictable. Sterile. Safe. After all, that’s why they got the gatekeepers’ approval. That’s why they were trad published.

Sure, they’ll be good. I’m not suggesting otherwise. They’ll mostly be well edited, proofread, etc, and if I had nothing else to read I’d still enjoy them, of course. It’s not that these famous authors have suddenly declined in quality. They’re the same as they’ve always been.

And that’s the problem.

I don’t buy trad names anymore. I deliberately seek out indie authors. Not because I’m an indie author. But because I want to read something fresh and original. And I know that, while there will of course be lousy indie books out there, there’s also a tsunami of excellence to choose from.

And it’s not just me. I’m hearing time and time again from other readers, not just indie writers, that trad pubbed books have no allure anymore. That readers are deliberately seeking out indie books because they want something fresh and original. And as word of mouth spreads indie authors are getting name recognition out of all proportion to their sales and exposure.

Take us as an example. You all know out story. The novel the gatekeepers said was unsellable, that topped Kindle UK to become Britain’s biggest selling indie book. But that was all down to Amazon’s algorithms, right?

Well, no question they helped. But ponder this. The biggest bookstore chain in the UK is Waterstone’s. It’s the UK equivalent of Barnes & Noble. It doesn’t let indies list direct, so it’s 99.9% trad pubbed books. Yet we have two books in the top twenty. Sugar & Spice is at #2 as I write this. Snow White is racing up behind. Obviously we’re delighted. A year after its release, and six months after we topped Kindle UK, the same book is back in the best-seller charts.

But here’s the really startling fact (and apols for the skewiffy image ): Saffina Desforges is, and has been for some while, the most searched for name on Waterstone’s.

This is just remarkable.

Waterstone’s and Amazon are two different worlds. Their ebooks are not interchangeable. Hard to imagine any dedicated customer at one store would frequent the other. Safe to say Waterstone’s readers do not frequent or even know the existence of the Kindle forums. And given we are almost the only indie author available I doubt most Waterstone’s customers even know what an indie author is. We don’t even carry links to Waterstone’s on our promo.

Bear in mind too there is no print edition of any Saffina Desforges title. We have no print history whatsoever, nor any loyal print readership that Waterstone’s customers might be following through to know about us. And we don’t buy advertising.

The only conceivable way we can be the most searched for name in the charts of the biggest bookstore chain in the UK is through word of mouth. Yet we are being searched for more than the biggest names in UK commercial literature, including books with film versions in the cinema, and including the winner of the Man Booker prize.

This isn’t luck with the algorithms giving us a ride. This is readers who shouldn’t even know we exist, physically typing our brand into the search box. What’s going on?

What’s going on is proof that readers want something different. Something original. Something with edge. Something that is not the same old same old. Give your readers that and, without spending a penny buying hype and bribing reviewers like only the trad pubs can do, word of mouth will let you compete with the biggest names in commercial literature.

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Comments

  1. Alison Pensy says:

    Well said, Mark. I totally agree with the whole Tsunami of crap thing. I ALWAYS, without exception, check out the book I am going to download, whether it’s free or to be paid for. There is no excuse for anyone ever to download a crappy book. Yes, they are definitely out there but with the ‘sample’ option and reading reviews you will know within a few paragraphs if the book is worth your time or not. So this whole Tsnuami of crap thing should hold no water with anyone.

    I, too, am one of those readers who no longer buys trad pubbed books. Even though there are a couple of my favorite authors who have new books out in series I was reading. A. I just can’t justify spending $10 on an e-book anymore, when I know I can get some seriously good reads for $2.99 and under. That’s at least 3 for the price of 1.

    IMO I think savvy readers turn to indies for that reason too, along with the fact that they know they are getting something that’s not cookie cutter or formulaic. If you read a book in a few hours and devour several a week, it makes so much more sense, in these economic times, to get at least 3 for the price of 1. And after they’ve tried a few and seen the quality, I don’t think there’s any turning back.

    • Thanks, Alison!

      On the peer review site and in the commentary on the agents’ blogs I often see idiots brashly asserting they would never buy an indie book because of the quality, or that they did buy one and it was so full of errors they deleted it. It’s really quite pitiful.

      The two go together well. :-)

  2. Sibel Hodge says:

    Great post, Mark! Congrats on topping the Waterstones chart with 2 books – that is just soooo fantastic! I’m toasting you with a glass of wine.

    Thanks so much for the shout out on Trafficked. And you’re so right – I couldn’t imagine an established quirky chick lit author who was trad-published would be so able to switch genres. Being able to write exactly what you want to and when is the magic of being an indie, and it means indies have the upper hand. Especially when you consider that as soon as our book is good to go, it’s published within 24 hours, not 1-2 years as with trad-pubs.

    There is some crap out there, no doubt about it, but, as you say, with the ability to download samples with ebooks, I doubt very much a really crap book will worm its way onto your ereader. I’m also one reader who’s been seeking out indie books this year. I’ve been doing two indie books reading challenges and blogging about them. I have found some fantastic work, and the good thing is these books are different. Whereas we had the old gatekeepers before, pumping out books with standard formulas, now we see an increasing range of books that are fresh and exciting. This is what readers want, and this is what indies provide.

    • Steady with that wine, Ms Sibel! Unless it’s a fine grand reserve rioja with hints of raspberry and vanilla, chocolate overtones and that smooth velvet texture that clings to the glass as you swirl.

      Hmmm, maybe there are *some* things I still miss from “civilization”…

  3. D. D. Scott says:

    You may have just branded our entire Indie Epub World, Mark…check this out:

    “A new kind of reading experience. The indie experience…a tsunami of excellence.”

    Wow! I luuuvvv that!

    You hit a crucial point here in how readers have changed. READERS HAVE CHANGED in that they know they no longer have to pay $7.99 and up for a great read. For the first time, they have access to great books at great prices. And that “access” has dramatically changed too. They can read almost any topic they want to – in fiction or non-fiction – in a one-click-buy moment, on a portable device that they can read around the world. They can begin enjoying short stories as well as novels and can buy 6 of them for less than they used to pay for one.

    Readers expectations have changed.

    And it’s our job to meet their expectations.

    How superfab fun and exciting is that?!

    Thanks sooo much, Mark, for a great post!!!

    Cheers!!!

  4. D. D. Scott says:

    And superfab cheers to you and Saffi for your over the moon Waterstone’s visibility too!

    I sooo know how you feel…last night, when I was having a ball watching LIP GLOCK climb Amazon’s charts (it’s ranked around the 1200 point now), I clicked on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Women Sleuths List, and there I was, right above James Patterson!

    I always print those babies out…LOL!

    So now I’ve had THUG GUARD between Chelsea Handler and Shirley MacLaine (in Humor’s Top 100) and LIP GLOCK with Patterson!!! And I’ve been with Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber and Gemma Halliday plus all the other romance greats too for my Bootscootin’ Books!!! Oh, and my new short stories were nestled between The WG2E’s very own Scott Nicholson and Joe Konrath.

    Not bad, right?!

  5. Amen.

    I travel a lot, as do most of the people I work with, and everyone has switched to an ereader. Most are using the iPad, but there are a lot of Kindles and Nooks too. I’ve had this same conversation a hundred times. People can’t see why anyone would read ebooks, and then they finally get an ereader and they can’t imagine ever lugging a new hard back around in their briefcase or purse again.

    But what I think is even more remarkable is how ereaders are going to dramtically expand the number of readers in the world. Think of all the places were people don’t have access to decent (or any) book stores. Get a Kindle and you can access the biggest book store in the world from almost anywhere and buy almost anything in print in less than a minute.

    Amazon understands this. In five years, when there is a $20 Kindle, publishing is going to be very different than it is today and writers (especially indies) will have access to markets that were inconceivable just a decade ago. I can’t wait to sell my first book in India. How crazy is it that I can even say that with a straight face? It’s insane, yet it’s the world we’re going to be living in very, very soon.

    • Thanks, Fingers!

      Absolutely right that ereaders will open up access to books to many millions as things progress.

      Right now, though, the international market still has many limits.

      I live in West Africa and cannot buy 99% of Amazon titles from here without resorting to my UK account. Amazon don’t sell to “Africa” as they put it.

      Despite having a Waterstone’s account I can’t buy my own book in the UK simply because my ISP ios not British.

      As a non-US citizen I cannot buy anything from Barnes & Noble.

      An iPad is useless to me because I connect with a dongle.

      But ebooks are taking over everywhere, as per my recent posts on MWi, and it’s only a matter of time befor everything integrates.

      As a small publisher we’re in discussion with ebook retailers on several continents to try get our client titles listed in countries where Amazon doesn’t go, or charges a $2 surcharge. There are lots of practical hurdles to selling abroad outside of Amazon, but it can be done.

      By the end of the year we will have our own e-book website selling our client authors’ ebooks directly to customers all over the world in whatever format they require.

      We can’t compete with Amazon on scale, of course, but we can compete on reaching small niche markets like Africa and east Europe where Amazon either doesn’t deliver, or charges that $2 extra just because it can.

  6. Becky Parman says:

    This post actually touched on something I have been thinking a lot about lately. The fact that indie books don’t have to conform to the standard expectations. I raced through a 190,000 word book in less than 24 hours because I NEEDED to know what happened. I still likely would have read at that pace if the book had been trad published because it was a great book. But there was so much more tension for me during the story because I knew the author could end it any way she liked and didn’t need publisher approval.

    Great books will always take you on a journey of discovery, but indie books can make the destination as interesting as the journey.

    • Wonderfully out, Becky!

      I find I actually read faster with an ereader because I can adjust font size to suit local conditions (often I’m reading by candlelight here, so a huge bonus).

      I also suspect there is a psychological speed improvement too because you have less “print” in front of you to distract your eyes.

      And perhaps best of all, when you get to that crucial ending you can’t accidentaly let your eyes slip across to the next page and spoil the surprise!

  7. Alicia Street says:

    Great post, Mark!

    As usual, your shrewd analysis and positive outlook are a refreshing and inspiring shot in the arm for those of us just beginning our Indie journey.

    And like you, I find myself reading mostly Indie authors. Partly because of all the great folks I’m meeting on blogs, but also because it is exciting to try something new and different, and Indie prices make that affordable.

    Congrats on your Waterstone’s coup! You and Saffi sooo deserve it!

    • Thanks Alicia!

      With so many indies to choose from, I find reading authors’ blogs is a great way of deciding which books to sample. If an author can’t interest me with their blog post, what chance their book?

  8. Great post, Mark (or Mr. International, as some of us know you…) I see this empowering wave as helping on two fronts:

    A tsunami of creativity coming out of writers, who are no longer hobbled by genre, length, or “stick to what you’ve already sold” limitations — not to mention the advantages they now have in speed of publication and complete control of the way a book looks from cover to blurb to formatting. Oh! And money! More money for writers. Which will make more of us able to spend the time it takes to write.

    And a tsunami of interest from readers who can sample, read more, read faster, read cheaper, transport more easily and wander through the electronic “stacks” choosing whatever eclectic and seductive words suit their fancy at any particular moment. A wave of progress in the world of books.

    I’m so happy my “Running” is out there now… getting great reviews and poised for the U.S. election season as it reflects the zany happenings in the real world of politics. And one of my authors has a new book out that makes me very proud: “How David Met Sarah” is written from the POV of a developmentally disabled young man and has just been endorsed by the National Down Syndrome Society, to which we are donating 20% of the profits. These are the kinds of things that are possible in this brave new world of electronic publishing.

    I’ve got two new series coming out in December, one about dating adventures from Frisky Dimplebuns, and one a cozy mystery series. Just in time to catch the latest wave of eReader sales at the holiday. The possibilities of what we can write and publish have expanded when WRITERS HAVE THE POWER OF THE PRESS.

    • Hi Patrice! Maybe I should get “International” added to my passport. That would be rather cool!

      How David Met Sarah sound absolutely fantastic! You simply MUST come over to MWi and give us the full scoop on this! My email: markwilliamsauthor (@) gmail.com

  9. Jill James says:

    I enjoy the freedom of Indie writing. My new story, Divorce, Interrupted would have had a hard, if not impossible time getting published Tradi. I had a wife who cheated and a divorced couple forced to see if they can work out their problems. Not your traditional romance.

  10. I certainly know of the tragedy of being without a book while traveling. I was once on a Greek island for two weeks without a book (luggage mishap.) Paradise without a good book is no paradise at all. Somebody finally gave me a copy of Henry James’ “The Golden Bowl.” It’s one of the most boring, non-narrative novels of all time, but I slogged through it. What I wouldn’t have done for a Kindle and a good chick lit mystery!

    A Kindle owner I talked to yesterday, who wants to preserve bookstores but also loves her Kindle (“it fits in a pocket–so lightweight and easy to read”) says she only buys classics and $2.99 or less indies for the Kindle and pays for paper if it’s one of her old-favorite authors. But she won’t buy an overpriced Big 6 ebook. That way she helps her indie bookstore stay afloat AND gets great stuff to read on her Kindle.

    • A Greek island and Henry James? I’d say they pretty much cancel one another out.

      I can see the point of trying to help indie store stay open, but without the big chains selling bulk there will be no production of print to deliver to any store. Indie book stores will become as rare as indie music stores selling vinyl.

      The new Kindle formats just announced mean the next generation of ebooks will be able to handle complex book formats, graphics, etc, and will pretty much spell the end for all but novelty gift books, special premium editions and coffee table books as this works through.

      Sad, but inevitable.

    • Btw, Anne has Ruth Harris over at her own blog, and even more reasons why trad pubbing is now what it’s cracked up to me. A must-read post!

      http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2011/10/6-prescriptions-to-cure-heartbreak-of.html

  11. Great post, Mark! And I LOVE the tsunami of excellence phrase. That’s what it’s going to take for TPTB to start to take indies seriously. Some are starting to, and I think anybody who wants to survive in publishing beyond the next five years or so is going to have to recognize that this is becoming a segment of the market that can’t be ignored. (See: Bloggers and newspapers in the past decade.)

    Part of the reason I went the indie route was because I knew there was no way what I was writing would fly with the marketing departments of Big Six houses. (“A literary fiction series? That’s entertaining? With different protagonists in different books? And LGBT plot threads that aren’t the whole point of the book? We can’t sell that. We don’t even know where to shelve it.”) I’ve got an editor who makes sure it comes in on the excellence side of the tsunami, but lets me have complete creative freedom beyond that.

    There are some AMAZING indie books out there that would never have gotten publishing if the gatekeepers had their way — and people love them. Not to mention the revival of short stories and novellas. It’s an exciting time to be a writer!

    • Thanks, Jennie!

      And congrats on finding an editor who wants to work with you, not play out their own failed-writer lives imposing their views on other authors.

      Having a corporate editor dictate story line is my biggest fear if we ever took up a print deal.

      That said, I’m sure there are plenty if grear corporate editors about, but I’d rather have a freelance editor without an agenda.

      • Mine’s a freelance editor – a friend, actually, who started editing my fanfiction about a dozen years ago and is one of the best developmental editors I’ve ever found. We’ve been working together so long that we have a great level of trust in each other, which leads to much better stories in the end. (Something we often remind ourselves when we’re in the middle of revision 11 or 12 on a story.)

        The storyline dictation was something I also worried about, and factored into my decision to go indie. I’m curious to see if the deal one indie (Locke, maybe? Konrath?) cut with Simon & Schuster for print distribution might not become more common as an alternate path to a Big Six deal for indies who sell well, want the TradPub distribution advantages, but don’t want to give up the editorial control and e-rights.

  12. Lee Lopez says:

    Mark, e-readers really have changed our reading experience. I have mine with me all the time, so much so, my grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with me if I don’t. I rarely carried a book, because, well it got in the way. This way when I travel, which I do a lot, I can up load my list and I’ve got plenty of books to keep me company, and engaged, while the guy next to me on the plane is snoring..

  13. This really hits the nail on the head, Mark. Even something as simple as word count can be a deal-breaker. I kept hearing that for my genre (middle-grade) the book could only be about 30-40k words. But no matter what I did, even hiring a professional editor, my book could not get below about 6ok. That was how many words it needed to tell the story. So I’ve self-published, and it can be whatever length it needs to be. And I haven’t had a single reader tell me it was too long.

    Although at this point I’m finding it a bit difficult to get seen above the tsunami of self-pubbed authors. I’m still a bit mystified by stories of yours and D.D’s talking about reaching such great sales in a short period of time. I guess that’s why I’m here.

    • Glad that you are here! It’s a great place for tips, advice and inspiration.

      Our book, at 120,000 words, was deemed too long as well. The only people to complain so far have been the agents.

      As you say, word count is as long as it takes to sell the story. We’ve been told we need to cut 30,000 words to make it print-worthy. But if we cut 30,000 words it wouldn’t be the same book. Some agents seem to think we just sat there writing superfluous paragraphs as if we were on a pay-per-word system.

      These will be the same agents who said Harry Potter was far too long…

  14. I featured Sibel on my writer’s blog, just to be clear. That’s over on http://eawestwriting.blogspot.com. I did that for two reasons, I have more traffic there and the subject matter is for other authors. :)

    You know, BEFORE the whole indie revolution, remember how we would go to the bookstore, read the back or dust jacket, get home and realize we paid for crap? Oh that’s right, we said “Man, how did THIS get on the best seller list?” or “Ugh, I can’t believe everyone says this book is SO awesome, it sucked!” So I just ignore the shortsighted readers who run up this forum and that forum screaming they won’t give an indie book a chance. ::shrug:: Let them overpay for crap. (And really, they probably don’t pay for anything, but get books from their local libraries).

    You have to go looking for crap, though it is there, I downloaded a few free books from Smashwords just to see what other readers are talking about. Oh yes, some of it is downright ugly. But every time it was clear the book was not for me before the end of the sample. :)

    If you don’t have people hating on you, you aren’t working hard enough. ;-P And thank you Mark, very, very much for featuring me on MWi today.

  15. That is a brilliant re-frame, Mark: “Tsunami of excellence”… in other words, works that have merit, but for one reason or another, through no fault of their authors, didn’t make it in the traditionally published world. We indies aren’t putting crap up there just to suck people in and irritate them. We’re self-publishing works we believe in, works that represent that “book of our heart” that often did well in contests, garnered praise from editors and agents, but just didn’t “fit” anywhere. It’s a win-win situation for readers, so far as I’m concerned.

    You know, I was saddened to read on an indie loop I belong to that a bunch of readers have banded together to buy indie-pubbed books and return them to “show” Amazon how disgusted they are with the whole self-publishing explosion. They even do this with free books. They’ve made it clear they have no intention of keeping them, and it’s a protest because self-pubbed books are so terrible. They’re missing out on some great reads, is all I can say.

    And yes, there is some dire stuff out there. But I’m so very tired of people assuming that indie-pubbed=inferior product. As you say, read an excerpt or sample first! It’s no different from picking up a book in a store, reading the blurb, and browsing a few pages and deciding it’s not for you. (Or it hasn’t been edited very well!)

    Thank you for such a great post! And sorry about the minor rant. Guess you can tell this is a hot-button subject for me, huh? *g*

  16. I was an ereader holdout. No way, I wanted books. REAL books. And then someone gave me a Kindle.

    Everything changed.

    I was a voracious reader before, I’m ever more so now. I still read a few trad pubbed authors (long-time favorites), but often wait until the prices on their ebooks drop as I much prefer to read on my Kindle, but DON’T prefer to pay trad pub prices.

    Instead I seek out indies. They’re talented, affordable, and as you say, Mark, the stories are fresh and original. I’m still not much of a short story reader, but I’m absolutely loving novellas.

  17. Megg Jensen says:

    Thou art a genius, Mark. *bows*

    I liken indie novels to pottery made by an artisan, rather than going to Target and buying a mass-produced bowl. I treasure the indie novels I’ve read because they are closer to the vision of the author, rather than the vision of the bean counters driving trad pub.