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On Indie Writing…

November 16, 2011

On another writer’s blog, I posted the following to the question:

Pissing In The Pool (Or Why Readers Hate Indie Writers)

Here is my answer:

I’m an electrical engineer. That statement immediately strikes terror into the hearts of people. Why? Simple: I must be boring, nerdy and a recluse. I can’t possibly be interesting or humorous and I must have a fear of bright sunlight.

Of course not. However, stereotypes of various flavors always taint, and the same goes for self-publishing, or Indie-publishing, take your pick. I’ve recently downloaded 15 or so Indie books onto my Kindle, the majority are free books. I’ve read five so far and three were absolutely fabulous and two I didn’t even finish they were so bad.

I can say the same for many traditionally published books as well. There have been many that I just couldn’t finish: they were awful. The grammar may have been fine and maybe the cover was great, but the content was terrible.

The bottom line is: there will always be great books and lousy books. We, as independent authors need to do as many here have suggested and make certain our work is the best it can be. I only have one book so far, THREE HUNDRED ZEROES, a story about my hike on the Appalachian Trail. The genre is along the lines of Bill Bryson’s A WALK IN THE WOODS. I don’t think I hold a candle next to Bryson’s writing, but I’ve had sufficient numbers of readers write me and tell me that they liked my story better. It had to be the content, Bill’s writing is superb and I’m in awe of everything he has written (I’ve purchased all of his books).

Before the book went to print, I had three different editors go through it, as well as a number of independent readers. It was even a finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Contest. I’m satisfied that I did the best I could with it. Now I’m working on my next book, my adventures hiking the Camino de Santiago this year. I will make every effort to make that book even better. Why? I owe it to the thousands of readers that I know will be expecting it to be better.

This means that I can’t rush this work just to get it out there for profit’s sake. I need to publish it with as much quality as I can muster, the readers will expect that. It must be even better than the first. Perhaps this attitude harkens back to my engineering background? I worked on designing things that had to work correctly and reliably, people’s lives depended on them. However, like any engineering project, at some point it has to ship. We as writers have to know when we’ve reached that point and let the market decide if we truly produced a good product.

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