Hi! I’m not Hugh! I’m Lisa, aka “Hugh’s Erstwhile Editor.”
God bless David Vinjamuri, whose recent Forbes article reveals the naked truths about traditional vs. indie publishing. And thank you, Sue Grafton, for suggesting that indie authors are lazy and then not bothering to actually apologize when given the opportunity to do so (a friend of mine summarized her follow-up remarks thusly: “I didn’t understand what I was talking about when I said it, but now that I’ve learned more, I still don’t understand it”).
The nay-sayers (who mostly seem to have their interests entwined with The Big Publishers) need to get with the program. I’m a voracious reader, and 75% of what I read these days are works by indie authors. Sure, I pick up some for free, but I’m spending way more money on indie authors than authors affiliated with Those Other Guys these days. I’m loving the Psion series by Jacob Gowans and have pitched my hard-earned dollars toward Denise Grover Swank’s The Chosen series. They make me feel ashamed that I paid so much for the first in Michael Grant’s Gone series.
Now, back it up, you don’t have to tell me how much of the indie-offered works are absolute SHIT. I know this from many, many, many works I’ve downloaded for free and the many, many, many works for which I’ve taken advantage of the “Click to LOOK INSIDE!” button on Amazon.
Granted, the indie world offers some total crap. But if you can’t step around that fact and start checking into indie authors who might blow your mind and rock your world, you’re missing out.
Back to the point, Lisa.
Necessary repeat, although I suspect all three of you reading this already know this about me: I’m an academic editor by day and an indie editor by night/weekend.
It seems that the biggest gripe people have about indie authors is that their works need to be edited, and I admit to bailing on numerous indie titles when the typos and grammatical errors became too tedious. At the same time, I’m sympathetic: were I an indie author with no income as of yet from my work, how the hell could I afford an editor? Depending on the length of the work in question, we could be talking about a serious chunk of change.
You would think, then, that The Traditional Publishers would have this part of the game locked up. All those editors and proofreaders on staff, making sure the words that turn to ink on a page or pixels on your e-reader are flawless.
Mmmm. Not so much. Maybe they downsized or something, but you can no longer count on your $25 new release hardback being typo-free. (I have some examples I can share; feel free to post the ones you’ve found in the comments.)
At any rate, let’s cut to the chase.
As I’ve said, I edit for indie authors, and it distresses me to have to bill these folks for my time correcting common spelling and grammatical errors when they would be better served by me focusing on the story, the plot, the characters, the dialogue, etc. I created a guide with common errors to which indie authors can rely (holla at me if you want it), but it’s quite necessarily circumscribed (otherwise, I would’ve written a book).
Thus, I find myself at a place where I can give indie writers a reading list (ewwwww) or…or what?
Beta readers, that’s what.
I make this suggestion only because I regularly participate in Hugh’s forum. His fans are well-read, articulate, enthusiastic, and generous (and kudos to Hugh for setting the tone).
To that end, I posted in the forum, asking if any members would be interested in serving as beta readers. The job essentially would be to read an indie author’s work and report on what was liked and what was not liked (pointing out spelling and grammatical errors would be a good thing, too).
NINE. As of right now, nine members have quite enthusiastically tossed their hats in the ring.
I have already sent one manuscript to two betas (between the four of us–two betas, me, author–we’ve agreed that leaving the author anonymous is best) and am working on getting Author 2′s manuscript out to two betas.
“Nine” may not sound like much, but I’m talking about a relatively small community and the space of just a couple of days.
And right now, I have more betas than manuscripts that could use beta readers.
You see where I’m going with this, right?