Double-Edged Sword

I remember a TV commercial from a while back where a college professor was telling his class about what it takes to get published, making it sound very hard and complicated.  A student interupted and said with the modern technology – anyone can now get published.

The good news is – ebooks and the Internet now allow anyone get published.   The bad news is – ebooks and the Internet now allow anyone get published.

At least with traditional publishing you have agents and editors – people who know good writing from bad – making the decisions on what gets published.  For the reader, that means you have at least some assurance that an industry professional has read the material you are about to buy and deemed it worthy of being published.  Publishers risk a lot of money on new authors, so only sign up those who they believe are highly marketable.

On the ebook side of publishing, you don’t have that same “buffer” of knowledge and judgement between the writer and the reader.  In most cases, the author of the material is the publisher of the ebook and is the sole judge of the quality of the writing.  (not counting mom’s opinion of the book).  The author is also most likely the person in charge of marketing, making all the decisions about what genre the books falls into and where to advertise on the web.

I have personally bought and paid for a few ebook novels that were horribly written and should never have been offered for sale.  I think some authors are a lot like the folks who try out for “American Idol” and cannot sing at all.  It’s obvious to the judges and the viewing public that this person has no singing talent, but what those singers hear inside their heads while singing is way different than what everyone else hears.  Authors have to be able to compare their work to others, or have a reasonable way to have others give an honest opinion on their work.

I think the best way for this “author authentication” to happen, is for ebook authors to better support one another.  It’s already happening out there – one successful ebook author mentions another, and introduces his fan base to another author.  Fans who trust their favorite author will more likey take a recommendation to read the work of another author. 

I think ebook authors should READ other ebook authors.  They should write a blurb or a nice review for the ebooks that deserve it, lending some credibility to the new author and introduce them to new potential readers.

The only thing left is honesty.   An ebook author who will endorse and positively review a book without actually reading it, is only risking his own fan base.  A false review is no better than the author of the work touting their own book.

I’m looking for comments here – so if you are an ebook author, I’d like to hear how we can better help each other and how much of that is actually going on.

Keep writing – and looking out for each other…

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