Dava Is Cheap, and A New Category

I read a lot, and always have. Mostly I read lightweight stuff. Not just fiction, but entertaining fiction. Science fiction, fantasy, detective stories, thrillers, mysteries, even a little romance now and then. I also like more literary fiction, but since most of my books come off the free Kindle list, they are generally the kind of stuff you think of reading on vacation.

The way that publishing is changing fascinates me. The more I learn, the more interested I become. We are witnessing a monumental change in the way an entire industry operates.
Revolutionary is a word that gets tossed around too much, but really, it applies to what is happening to the publishing industry. We are watching revolutionary changes.

When I can’t find a freebie to read, I look at the books priced under $5. Since I’m so cheap, I end up reading a ton of independently published work because authors almost always sell their books at a lower price than publishers do. (Lots of people share my purchasing habits when it comes to books, and it’s causing huge debate. Check out the comments on this article about it in TechDirt.) Over the last year, the quality of the books I read has changed pretty drastically. It could be that I’m better at choosing now, but it could also be that writers are stepping up the quality, or that readers are pushing higher quality books up on to the lists I see.

Independent authors occupy an really interesting space when it comes to business. One of the reasons that many writers still choose to work with publishing companies is that they can focus more on writing and less on business. Publishers get books edited, proofread, and offer some help when it comes to marketing. Independent authors must hire editors, find beta readers, hire artists to create their covers, and find ways to get their books in the eyes of the public. It’s a huge job, and all of that is part of what fascinates me about the way books are being created and distributed.

I’m active on Goodreads, and review just about every new book I read there. Most of my reviews are for myself, so that if someone asks if I’ve read a certain book or heard of an particular author, I can look at my book list and see, and also see what I thought. Since I read so many indie books, though, an interesting thing has happened: some authors get in touch when I write a review. The first time this happened, I was really startled, and maybe even a little embarrassed, which was odd. It may have been because the review wasn’t especially good. The author actually agreed with my review, and said something like, “Everything you said about my book is 100% correct.” I felt kind of bad.

Others have sent me emails just thanking me for taking the time to write a review, and some just “like” my review, I guess to show me they’ve seen it. Regardless of how or why they contact me, it’s something that never, ever happened with books before this disruption to the publishing industry began. Now, the act of writing and the act of reading can serve as a way to open the lines of communication. That is really amazing.

The blog portion of Smiling Tree Writing addresses the ups and downs of running a small business, marketing as it applies to small businesses, and various writing-related topics. Who better to address all of those areas than independent authors? I am adding a new category called Independent Writing. It will feature guest posts and interviews by independent authors, and possibly other experts in the field of self-publishing.

Are there writers you would like to hear from? Or questions you would like to ask an author who has chosen to self publish?

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