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Guest Post: Jennifer Hudock Talks About Indie Publishing Standards

Howdy Folks!

Welcome back to the blog. Today I have a guest post by author Jennifer Hudock. She gets to express her opinions about the current indie/ebook publishing boom and some of the pitfalls that come with such an open process. I gotta say I agree with her on this. I’ll talk a little after her post about my thoughts on this and an interesting question I have.

So kick back and enjoy!

Jennifer Hudock is an indy author, podcaster and editor from Northern Central Pennsylvania. You can check out her first full-length dark fantasy novel, The Goblin Market, on Amazon and Smashwords. For more information visit her official website: The Inner Bean.

Find her website HERE
Her Amazon fiction is HERE
Smashwords fiction is HERE

Click those links and have at it!

From Jennifer:

“The world is changing. I feel it in the earth. I feel it in the water. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is forgotten; for none now live who remember it…”—Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring film adaptation

As I was stealing that quote from Lord of the Rings, all I could think about was how fast the publishing industry is changing. There very well may come a day when the children of our grandchildren don’t remember those rectangular things made of paper that you and I call books, though they may still read on their portable electronic gadgets. For all I know, by that time they’ll plug something into the back of their head and download Moby Dick into their brain.

Which brings me to my future conspiracy nightmare… I worry that they won’t read good (poor grammar intended.)

Thanks to the Internet we are now connected to nearly every humming hub in the world. We download everything from movies and music to magazines and books, and those same humming hubs allow us to share our creative work with a universal audience.

As an independent author who has chosen to publish her work outside the confines of “big publishing” I feel responsible for the readers of tomorrow.

A lot of authors are taking the fate of their work into their own hands, and some are just putting their words out there without so much as a self-imposed proofread, much less the careful eye of an editor or beta reader. Some of those authors are even making a killing selling their independently published books in print and electronic format because the subject material is appealing to young reading audiences, even though some of the writing itself is subpar.

We get excited as writers. We finish a novel or story and because we wrote with the gleeful intent of sharing it with readers, our first instinct is to throw it out into the world without another thought. Maybe there are plot inconsistencies (cough—Charlaine Harris,) or long passages fraught with poorly written sentences and even worse grammar. I realize that using Charlaine Harris in my parenthetical cough doesn’t apply because she publishes traditionally at this point in her career, but big publishing set a standard of mediocrity that independent authors need to break.

Indy publishing has had a bad reputation for a long time. You tell someone you self-published your novel and they laugh at you. They may even say you’re not really an author and your books don’t count, but as independent authors we have a duty to our readers. We can up our standards, spend the extra time proofreading our work, hire an editor to help clean up your work and take a stand to prove that indy authors are just as good as, and some cases maybe even better than traditionally published authors.

I’m not perfect, but I know I owe my readers more than poorly strewn together sentences. I owe them more than bad grammar and missing punctuation, n3tsp34K and truncated phrases like “Late!” reminiscent of yesteryear’s “See you later.” And I know I owe not just the readers of tomorrow, but the writers too. By taking the initiative to ensure that our work is the absolute best it can be before we put it out into the world, we set an example for the writers who follow in our footsteps.

From Jake:

Thanks, Jenny! Great stuff, really.

As a writer I agree with this 100%. The more crud put out there the harder it will be for those of us that really work at our craft to gain a professional reputation within the writing community as a whole. She’s right on with this.

But, I have to wonder about something. After years of being in sales and marketing, specifically natural products/supplement sales, I have watched marketing companies cram the marketplace with “cure” supplements and basically, well, sawdust in a capsule. The interesting part of this is that there would be an initial backlash against all supplement companies when the frauds were weeded out, but then there would be a big push in sales for the good guys, the ones with ethics, morals and a right good product!

Why? Because there was publicity! But, most of all, customers aren’t total idiots. Those that hadn’t heard of a certain supplement, but needed that supplement, were now looking at the good guys’ formulas for help and relief. Without the scam companies, these folks would never have heard of some of this stuff.

So I ask, can this be applied to indie/ebook publishing as well? Can bad writing spur on a search for quality? Will quality rise to the top like cream? (Mmmm, cream…) Will the debate just bring more and more customers to the ebook marketplace?

I don’t know the answer to any of this, really only time will tell. Can’t wait to find out, though!

Thanks everyone and be sure to check out all of Jennifer’s links. In fact, let me post them again:

Find her website HERE
Her Amazon fiction is HERE
Smashwords fiction is HERE

Cheers!

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