I was the kid who spent hours in the library, headed straight for B. Dalton bookstores in the mall, and lugged around a book wherever I went. Then adulthood happened, and I had a job and a family and somewhere in my twenties and thirties I stopped reading books for fun. I devoured business books and computer engineering books. I wrote specs and reports for my job. And frankly, the price of new hardcover books approached the level of textbooks and even $9.99 seemed steep for an e-book. Instead, I bought the first generation Kindle to download out of copyright classics such as Great Expectations, Sherlock Holmes, Armadale, Pride and Prejudice and The Woman in White.
The day I found 99c books and Kindle Direct Publishing was like letting a chocoholic loose in a chocolate factory. Suddenly, my kindle became useful again. Along the way I discovered authors who told fresh new stories in new and unexpected ways. Stories were no longer hampered by tired genre guidelines or conventional wisdom. Want to kill off your heroine? Go ahead, if it makes sense. Want us to weep for your bad guy? Do it credibly and my throat will get lumpy. Have us so confused we suspected every single person of murder including the pastor? Then pull out obscure character from page 146 paragraph 3 who was mentioned once. Okay… if it was entertaining, sure. I’ll hand it to you.
About a year ago, I answered a poll at the World Literary Café.
INDIE BOOKS (self-pubbed & small press):
Approximately how many do you read per month? 4
Do you see a need for stronger editing? yes! I know it’s not been edited when it’s full of Introductory Present Participial Phrases and misplaced modifiers. The book becomes humorous. POV shifts are another source of either minor annoyance or jaw shattering head shaking. Oh, and purple prose. I’m really good at that! And I actually enjoy writing that grabs Jesus handles, LOL
Will you pay a higher price than $.99 for books that are edited well? up to $2.99, but it’s not the editing that’s the deal breaker. The story has to be fresh and different. that’s what I enjoy about self-pubbed stories. Small press, not really. They are trying too hard to fit into genre expectations. Break a rule or two, that’s the joy of indie-pubbing.
If you answered YES, would you pay an equivalent price to traditionally published prices? No, because I think traditionally published books are too expensive.
TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED BOOKS:
Approximately how many do you read per month? not that many anymore. I used to read maybe one a month.
Do you see a need for stronger editing? not really. but the stories are boring and cliched, trite and unimaginative. I like the self-pubbed books for mish-mashing genre’s and delivering stories that break rules, e.g. protag dies? a pastor is implicated in kidnapping? a woman falls in love with two different men in a romance?
Do you feel prices are set too high? Definitely! Forget buying Steve Job’s Bio, or the next installment of Outlander when I can find so many fresh reads indie pubbed.
And that’s just about how I feel about indie books. They’re a river of fresh, original content at the price of a bag of chips or a cup of joe. I can browse books online into the wee hours of the morning and stay up to read until my husband wakes up to in the morning. You’ll no longer find me sitting at Barnes and Noble trying to decide between two $25 hardcovers when I can snap up 8 to 25 indie published books, or hit the thousands of free books daily.
Indie books have taken me on walkabouts through Australia with Snake-woman-child and into the murky world of a shapeshifting. I’ve witnessed a second trimester abortion through the eyes of a teen, soared high atop a castle wall with King David and dropped down to a knife fight in pre-Aztec Mexico. I have been trapped in Iran, imprisoned in a white supremacist facility, witnessed an inter-species inter-galactic love story, coveted a jar with evil sprites, jumped into the Mississippi with a demigod, and read minds with the best of empaths.(*)
What an exciting journey! Indie publishing has freed literature from the shackles of traditionalism and enable the masses to both read and write. I firmly believe that the right person to tell a story is the one writing it. And it could be YOU!
The only thing I want to add is that in the year since I answered that survey, both editing and formatting of indie books has improved to the point where most are indistinguishable from trad published books. With fresh and exhilarating content available daily, indie publishing is the reader’s best bonanza.
What about you? What do you like about indie published books? Are you more willing to experiment with unknown authors if their books are priced at 99c? $2.99? Above? What book has surprised you lately by presenting a controversial topic not seen in traditionally published books?
(*)Books reference: Secrets From the Dust, Prodigy, Twenty Weeks, Michal’s Window, At Road’s End, A Bitter Veil, Allegiance, Defying Gravity, Beautiful Evil, The Calling, Vision.
Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.
Rachelle is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.
Stalk the Author
Buy links for Hidden Under Her Heart
Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.
Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He’s smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher’s son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.
Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby’s DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.
The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne’s life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.