4 Reasons Self-Published titles are sometimes better

12 October, 2012 Musing Musers 29 comments

1. Self-Pubbed books are easy on the pocket

This isn’t like a, “they’re cheap!  Come take advantage of them! Mwhahaha!” Thing.  But, on average, self pubbed titles do tend to be very reasonably priced.  And if it’s a good book or an author you like, then it’s good to know that they get the majority of the profit from your sale.  If you’re prepared to research the titles through reviews, friend recommendations or the good press from other self pubbed authors you like, then these books can be a very reliable, inexpensive way to source your reading material.

2. When they’re good – they’re really good

Professional self-pubbed authors put a lot of work into their product.  These books are being increasingly picked up and signed by traditional publishers.  Easy by Tamara Webber, an amazing contemporary young adult novel that Steph and I recently review is now being published by Berkley group, Penguin.  There’s a whole bevy of fantastic, quality books if you’re willing to go find them.  There’s a stigma amongst readers that self-pubbed titles are all just rejects by hacks who couldn’t make the cut in traditional publishing.  But anybody who makes a habit of reading self-published titles can refute this claim.  Just as with traditional publishing- there is garbage.

But there is also a lot more competition.  Self published titles have to compete not just amongst themselves but with their traditional counterparts.  It’s sink or swim in an arena where it is all too easy to sink.  The ones that do survive have certainly earned their place and a healthy dose of respect.

3. They’re generally more widely available

Many self published titles are lendable through Kindle, or you can wait until the author has a sale.  Some even do days where they give them away for free.   Most self-pubbed authors upload their books to a variety of sites like Amazon, Smashwords and other hosting sites – giving you a wide variety of choices for where you want to spend your money.

For those overseas, self-published titles are very rarely restricted for your territory.  No more of Amazon not selling you a book because you were born on the wrong continent.  Many of them are also DRM free and they’re thus easier to use on your various devices without locking you down.

4. They provide necessary stories that otherwise wouldn’t be published

Just to be clear – this isn’t a gate keeper rant.  Editors, publishers and agents want to publish great books.  They have to do that whilst making money.  If a book is good, but not commercial, that’s not necessarily anybody’s fault – but it also means it’s not generally going to be able to be traditionally published.

The publisher has a set number of units they need to sell, and they need to do that by appealing to the widest swath of their demographic.  The freedom in self publishing is that the author doesn’t necessarily need to do that.  This is where niches form for those smaller, more concentrated markets.  A nice that might be nice and comfortably sized for a self-published author, even it it’s not enough for a big publisher.

Genres that are considered either dying or dead like Dystopian, horror, chick lit, gothics and westerns and more are either no longer being published by the big houses.  But what about those that still really want to read these genres?  What do they do?  What about genres that don’t really exist – like New Adult.   There’s really only one place to get most of these right now – so if your tastes run toward the eclectic, then welcome to the wonder world of self publishing!

Check it out and you may just be surprised at what you find!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

29 Responses to “4 Reasons Self-Published titles are sometimes better”

  1. Annathea

    I just discovered the world of self-published novels via Amazon/Kindle and Goodreads. Some of this books sounds really interesting and I’m willing to take risks.

  2. Chris

    I’ve read a few self-published books, and my experience has not been very good. The problem is I don’t have the time to try and find the best self-published books out there. And it’s difficult to trust reviews because even bad books tend to receive only four or five star reviews on Amazon.

    • KatKennedy

      @Chris for me, I investigate every novel before reading it. So this feels natural to me. But I never buy a self pub if it has less than 50 reviews on Amazon and if less than 30 of my friends have rated it on Gooodreads. I also see what the over all average star rating is for those GR friends. I’ve found doing this really skews the ratio of self pubbed books into a more positive fraction. I hope that helps if you ever do decide to give them a go.

      • shelley1

        @KatKennedy I totally agpree. Sadly, self pub have to get several reviews before I take a chance. This sucks for self pub because then you have to really get your book out to as many people willing to review as possible. I would think that could be very difficult. I have no experience, so I don’t know how authors do it. However, if I’m paying for a book, I’m not going to risk a book with few reviews. Even on ones with a lot of reviews I read the three and two star reviewers first. I can usually judge best from those. I decide if what they didn’t like makes enough of a difference to me not to read it.

        • elwoodcock

          @shelley1  @KatKennedy I don’t know how authors do it either. I’ve been trying for the past year!
          As a reader, I totally understand your cautious approaches to self pubs (I look for the bad reviews too!). But I’m not that hung up on reviews – I just download the free samples. Most of them I never get past the first page, and all I’ve wasted is a minute or so of my time. And a handful have turned out to be really good.
          But with my writer hat on it’s incredibly frustrating. If you don’ thave a massive network of online review-inclined pals – how do you ever get a foot in the door? I’ve been sending polite queries to reviewers who do self pubs for a year, and most of the time (I would say around 90%) I never even get a reply. That’s a high fail rate :-/
          So if anyone *does* know how authors do it, please share! 😀

        • dragonflyautumn

          @elwoodcock  @shelley1  @KatKennedy
           el, the singlemost effective way for me to gain reviews was simply to do a freebie.  I gained more readers through doing a freebie of the first book of my trilogy than any other method.  Conditions have changed a little since I ran mine, but it’s still a way to get your book out there before readers.
          [On the flip side, your book will also be picked up by people who would never have considered it genre/style-wise outside a freebie, and those people tend to review harshly.]

        • elwoodcock

          @dragonflyautumn  @shelley1  @KatKennedy Thanks, Dragon, that’s good to know.
          I’ve considered doing a freebie, and never got round to it. Of course, the other reason for doing a freebie is to promote something else that isn’t free, so I’m thinking a good time to do it would be when my second book is released 🙂 Which *should* be soon….

  3. AprilYedinak

    I have thought about self-publishing a novel or 12 at some point.  Thanks for the post.  Now, if only I could carve out some time to pound out my great novel.

  4. Ambrluvsports

    Does this mean Cuddlebuggery is lifting the ban on reviewing self-pubbed debut authors? =)

  5. AnimeGirlAlex

    Well I like some self-published but I still expect quality work. 
    If you give me a file with a ton of typos and erros in continuity I’ll just trash it.

  6. Mary BookSwarm

    I’m so bad about reading self-pubs. Not because I dislike them but because I just don’t have the time and, because they’re mostly ebooks, I can’t put them on my classroom bookshelf. 
    But typos and unprofessionalism can just kill the whole thing!

  7. greenfieldnews

    Is this a hint you know of “new adult” self-pub books. I am on a never ending quest for that genre.

  8. dragonflyautumn

    Even the pricier end of self-pub is starting to look cheap by comparison.  I went to check out the e-books of a trade published author the other day, looking to buy.  Two of them were $19.99, the third was $27!!!, and the book I actually wanted to buy wasn’t in e-format.
    I have an entire Goodreads shelf called “checkforwhennotludicrouslyoverpriced”.  It sits next to the “checkforwhenavailableonkindle” shelf.  I’ve been giving in lately and buying the physical copies of books, but have hit a run of books which haven’t worked for me, so these two shelves are getting more of a work out.

  9. JeepinJaime

    I love self pub. I have read some great books that became absolute favorites, that were 3 bucks or less. The Peachville High Demons series by Sarra Cannon. Thanks for this post. I love it! Self-pub has a really bad rap, and that seriously needs to change. You, Kat Kennedy/ Kiera Knightly are definitely the one that can do it!

  10. lizzylessard

    AMEN to #4!  I’m tired of the formulated publishing stories.  Self-published authors (and small press) are willing to take risks with their stories and I’ve found quite a few that are absolutely amazing.  Likewise, I was told by a traditionally published author that she had to add a chapter to the end of one of her novels because they wanted a sequel and she intended the book to be stand-alone.  I think the “added” chapter was the worst part of the book.

  11. Lexxie

    I agree! I have read some self-pubbed or small-press books lately that I have loved, and both the fact that it is cheaper for me, and that the author gets more money in his or her pocket is a nice added bonus for reading a great story.
    I love it when I discover someone I had never heard about before, and end up completely enthralled by their story.

  12. Senator

    Can I just say how much I love you guys? Seriously, you always have wonderful stuff on this blog. If it’s not entertaining, it’s eye opening. You’ve given me a fresh perspective on self-pubs, thanks!

  13. kitsune32

    I really loved Angelfall by Susan Ee.  However, I’ve also had some very negative experience with self-published books.  Do you have any recommendations for ones you’ve liked?  I want to support indie authors, but I’m cautious lately about getting burned.

  14. carow

    I’ve read a few self-published books that were good (Easy being one of them) and I’ve started a few and not finished them– namely because they were WAY to long! I’d definitely read more self-published books if more of their authors edited their story to an appropriate length.

  15. Kate C.

    I hardly ever look at the reviews on amazon anymore, I go straight to my trusted book reviewers on goodreads.  I love self-pub because of the price and the innovation.  Love.  Many of the traditionally published books have started to feel so VANILLA to me now.  Vanilla is good, but man I love my 31 flavors.  That being said, if you want vanilla, chocolate malt ball probably isn’t for you.  
    Self-pubs tend to have a distinctive feel when you read them, even the good ones because they are so far removed from what the mainstream tends to dictate what we SHOULD read.  I love it, but not everyone does.  (And that’s totally okay, btw).
    You know, Kat, if you ever decide to come over to the dark side, I’ll be waiting… 🙂

  16. books_n_tea

    The one thing I appreciate about self-pubbed novels is the authors write a story that doesn’t seem cut and paste. A story that isn’t riding the waves of success created by a book that made the first splash. Something fresh. But, I really have to wade through a lot of crud to find those really good self-pubbed books. Book bloggers certainly make finding those gems more easy. But, these days I’ve become more…skeptical of the reviews. I’ve noticed far too many 5 star reviews for books that I really cannot stand. It just kind of makes taking their word a little more difficult.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge