There is a wealth of books out there that will give you joy, terror, heart-break, fear, ecstasy, laughs, sorrow and every other emotion you want to feel.
There are also a lot of books that will simply bore you or annoy you.
Buying any book is always a risk; you may or may not enjoy it, but hey, it’s a very low cost risk – most paper books are well under a tenner. Nevertheless, you don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash, so when you decide to buy a book from an indie-author, how do you know if you’re backing a lame-horse?
There have been many times when I’ve picked up a book and not enjoyed it. Perhaps I haven’t liked the writer’s style, or the plot doesn’t do anything for me. Maybe I didn’t buy into the main character or it was just wasn’t my favourite genre. That’s okay, I can deal with that. I don’t buy another book from that author or in that genre and I move on. There are no hard feelings – art is subjective.
What makes me furious though, is when the writer has not even tried. If I read a book and find spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes, or the plot doesn’t make sense, it makes me furious. I feel that the writer has not respected me as a reader and then I feel cheated. It’s no longer about the content of the book – it’s become personal. Readers deserve respect and writers who don’t give respect don’t deserve respect in return.
So how do we find the really great indie-authors? The professional indie-authors? It’s easy. The first thing I do is judge the book by its cover. Does the cover look professional? If it doesn’t, I guarantee the contents are not professional either. Many indie-authors spend hundreds of pounds commissioning professional covers to make sure the reader gets the full experience – after all, there’s nothing quite like looking at the front cover of a book and knowing that you can’t wait any longer to read it. You were saving it for the weekend but…
Secondly, look inside at the back of the title page. Has it listed an editor? No? Wow! There is no author on earth who can produce a professional book without an editor. This includes traditionally published authors who are given an in-house editor and it includes editors themselves. It’s impossible for a writer to edit their own book, because they know exactly what they meant, so they cannot see the pitfalls, from plot-holes to spelling, punctuation and grammar. And no – asking their very clever friend or English teacher to read through is not enough. Editors are professionals and highly trained in their specific area. If the indie-writer does not respect the reader enough to have their book professionally edited then that is a big red flag.
Thirdly, check out their website and social media. You’ll quickly get a feel for what kind of person they are. Do they have a professional presence? Do they live and breathe reading and writing, or are they just putting anything out hoping to make a quick buck? Do they care enough about their readers to interact with them or do comments go ignored? If relevant, are they an expert in their field, or just someone who once did something? It’s amazing what you can learn about someone just by looking at the memes and photographs they upload. If they interest you on-line, they’ll more than likely interest you in their book too.
So what are you waiting for? Now you know how to buy indie-books safely, without buying drivel, you have millions of books just waiting for you to read!