Friday, August 30, 2013

Indie Publishing and the Thinning of the America Novel

“Writing is work…”
“Writing is work but writing the indie book is fun. I write only to please myself. I don’t have to compromise my creativity to meet anyone else’s expectations. I write what I like and I laugh all the way to the bank.”

The above is a composite quote taken from actual internet blog comments. For this article I am going to assume that everything stated in the above quotation is true.  

Indie publishing is great for authors. I have indie published myself in the past (and not just eBooks but also real estate manuals and correspondent courses.)  I also intend to publish many Indie eBooks in the near future. I would truly love to join those who are laughing all the way to the bank. 

This post is not about authors making money. It is about the cost Indie publishing may extract on the art of writing. It is about the thinning of the American novel and where this may lead. 
An Orchestra Where all the Musicians Play to Please Themselves
Imagine a conductor preparing an 88-piece orchestra to perform a great symphony. The conductor must make sure that all the sections of the orchestra play the piece well. If the strings are outstanding but the horns are below standard, the conductor will work on the horns until they get it right. It is the conductor who is responsible for the richness of the entire performance.  Individual musicians can chaff under the conductor’s interpretation of the musical piece. Some famous musicians will not perform with certain conductors.  So this is a real issue.

I believe that the traditional publishing editor is much like the conductor. The publishing house wants a fully developed story. They want a full orchestral performance from each title they publish. Every book is part of the publisher’s total product which is the brand name or name of the line being published. A complete line of books may be judged by any one of the books within that line. In short, the publisher wants a full ‘performance’ from each book. It is the editor’s job to see that that happens.

For example, after over ten years of reading Love Inspired romances, I have a very good idea of what I am going to get when I buy my next one.  In a sense, I am getting a fully orchestrated novel.  

This completeness is often not the case with Indie books.  Part of the fun of writing indie books (and only having to please yourself) is not having to do the edits an editor often requires.  

An editor may send an author, who is happy with her work, three pages of edits. Sometimes a major character may have to change from being a brother to being a close friend. Sometimes two characters have to be merged into one. Sometimes up to 20% of the words have to be cut. All this can require major rewrites and months of extra work. (And authors are not paid for all this extra work. I had one book where the revisions took just as long to write than the book itself took!) 

A Look at annoying edits  

Editors can require revisions for many reasons: lack of character development,  slow story movement, lack of physical descriptions, loose ends, dialogue of characters may sound too much alike, head-hopping, POV changes that can confuse the reader, too much dialogue, too much telling without compensating facts to make the story seem real, similar character names that make it hard for readers to remember who is who, scenes readers really look forward to not being included because they are too difficult to write or write with any originality, and the list goes on and on. 

The editor is looking at all the sections of a novel. The performance has to be rich, well rounded, and up to house standards.  

The Joy of Indie Publishing Is Telling Editors to Shove all their revisions!  

The joy of being an Indie author is just saying no! "I’m not making all those revisions. This book pleases me just the way it is.  I’m only going to make the revisions I believe are necessary. Besides, if I don’t waste time on these ‘stylistic’ revisions, I can write more books and make more money."

 The Pizza Problem: the Great Quality Slide 

The real problem here is not that these indie books are bad. Readers may like them just fine.  How will these readers ever know what is missing? How will they know how much better the stories would have been if enriching edits had been made? If they don't know what they are missing, they are less likely to miss it.

It’s like the pizza problem that I’ve witness several times already. A new pizza place opens and it offers the best pizza many people have ever tasted. The word-of-mouth advertising is fantastic. The place is crowded. Then in a few months, the quality drops. Those great but expensive ingredients are gone. Average substitutes take their place and the pizza is now much like everyone else’s.  

Average pizzas are the rule, not the exception.  The best ingredients cost a lot more and besides, many people have never had the real thing.  They think the average is very good.

Will Traditional Writing Become Like Classical Music? 

Think of the conductor we started this post with: suppose when he was having problems with the percussion section, he just cut them out of the of the orchestra. If the horns were also giving him trouble, perhaps he just cuts them out as well. When this conductor is finished he still likes the sound of the ensemble. Indeed, much of the public may also like the resulting sound.  

While the sound may be very pleasing, it now comes from a thinner orchestra. Of course, there is really nothing wrong with a four piece chamber music ensemble. Nothing wrong except it is not an orchestra. The product is different. 

So, then, what’s the problem? The public likes these indie books. The authors may laugh all the way to the bank. Persnickety editors can be told what they can do with their revisions. And besides no one is forced to buy or read any of these books anyway. It’s all harmless and wonderful. Free choice in a free economy. 

All this may be wonderful except the novel is getting thinner. Parts are missing. The richness is fading. Perhaps a reader won’t notice this at first. Maybe it won’t be noticed until a reader reads a traditional full-bodied novel right after reading a thin one. That’s how I’ve been noticing this happen.  

I’ve read well written, typo-free, indie novels where all seemed well except it seemed something was wrong. Something was missing. I’ve noticed extreme lack of story movement. Books mostly of dialogue. Characters so vaguely described that I could form no mental image of what they looked like. Stories that just seem to end because the word count was reached. Stories with lots of loose ends.  

While I noticed these things, I’m not sure many other readers will. Novels may become like low grade pizzas. It’s all people know. These pizzas are not bad. They are edible. So what’s the big deal? 

The old style traditional writing with full ‘orchestral’ richness may become like classical music is today requiring a special audience which has been educated on how to enjoy its complexity and beauty.  

And yet some Indie books will undoubtedly be better books than some traditionally published books. Some indie authors will be just as exacting as professional editors. A few authors may even be far better editors than those they had to deal with at publishing houses. But all is not well. There will inevitably be a thinning of the American novel.

To Laugh or To Cry...

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. My publisher just rejected my manuscript but my rejections are making me a lot more money as Indie eBooks on Amazon than my traditionally published books.”  Vince Mooney

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day

“Indie books are like meals: just because they are edible doesn’t mean you’d want to eat them.”
Vince Mooney

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day

“Both athletes and writers are restrained by talent. While athletes understand this well, many would-be writers don’t.”
Vince Mooney

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Pantser Problem...


“The biggest problem I’ve noticed with pantsers, who self-publish Indie books, is the lack of story movement. Characters may be moving around expressing their personalities but often the story is not moving forward. A plotter would notice immediately that the story is stagnant…and so would an editor who is paying for the story.”

“Neighbor Next Door” Romance Features Almost Everything a Woman Could Want!

If You’ve Ever Dreamed of Writing a “Woman’s World” Romance – this is a 5-Star Example of how to do it!
“One Saturday Morning”
Tina Radcliffe
a Novelatinissima
Read a Romance!
Woman’s Word
September 2, 2013
When Katy spied her new neighbor for the first time through her glass patio door, it was WOW at first sight!
Just feet away, on the next patio, was everything a woman could want. Tall, dark, handsome and sporting an ‘I can make you deliriously happy’ smile.
She heard a cry of anguish and was surprised to discover it wasn’t her own. Draped lovingly over his muscular shoulder was a most adorable baby who was looking right at her with scowl that said, in universal female talk, ‘he’s mine’.
Yes, everything a woman could want but some woman already has. Poor Katy thought, “If all the good ones are taken, then this one was pre-ordered at birth.”
But Mr. Gorgeous moves towards her and asks for help with the baby! Could this be the start of something wonderful?
Tina has a new book out. Meet her here.
Writers: if you want to write a Woman’s World romance, this story is a perfect example of what Woman’s World wants. To learn the most, pay special attention to what is not in the story. Then ask yourself, “Is this a story at all?”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunday Spotlight – Amber Stokes' “Bleeding Heart” Romance Debut


Five bleeding hearts.
One profound journey.


Four Men Want Her! 

One wants to own her at all costs!

One wants to save her at all costs!
One rejected her at great costs!
One loves her whatever the costs!
Here’s a romance with striking originality by a young and talented author.

Summer 1886
Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Inspirational Historical Romance

A Review of "Bleeding Heart" is being featured today on the "Labor Not in Vain" website. 

About the Author

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.
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Writing Quote of the Day


“At the point in the writing process where your characters come alive, you have a choice to make: do you let the characters write the story or do you write the story yourself. Who in this creative process cares must about the disposition of the story as a whole rather than the outcome of their individual part in it?”
Vince Mooney

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day

“A writer’s voice is always a work-in-progress. It is created with a little help from the genes and a great deal of input from the environment. A writer's voice is not something you find within you. It’s something you recognize when it finally arrives.”
Vince Mooney

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day


“It’s not the narrator that needs to be invisible – it’s the words themselves.”
Vince Mooney

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day


“An author sees the words. A reader sees the story.”
Vince Mooney

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing Quote of the Day


“The story provides the afterglow. It’s the voice that delights the present.”

Vince Mooney

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thinking Quote of the Day

Columbus changed course to the south to avoid a munity.

“Sometimes the best way to stay the course is to change the course.”
Vince Mooney

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day

“Almost any song will work as long as the voice is beautiful enough.”

Vince Mooney


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“Thinking in increments of great quotations builds a rich subtext for everything you go on to create.”

Vince Mooney

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“There is no right way to write a book but there are 10,000 wrong ways. Writing is a process of avoiding those 10,000 dead ends.”
Vince Mooney 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thinking Quote of the Day


“As long as you think there is a box to be thinking out of, you’re still in the box.“
Vince Mooney

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kindle Vs Paperback – The ‘Eyes’ Have It


I had to wait 24 years to get this book on a Kindle – but you can have it right now for a dollar less than the 1989 paperback price!

Which Would You Rather Read?

Look at the photo above. On the left is the paperback version of “Love’s Miracles” in standard paperback form. On the right is the Kindle. Both formats are on the start of Chapter 9.  

Which do you think would be easier to read? Which would be less trying to read? Which would be easier to read in low light? Which would be less likely to give you a headache. Which would be your only choice if you could not read smaller type? Oh, and which one currently holds over 1,400 different books inside it?  

Paper books are going to die when eBook readers get down to about $3 to $5 in price. Not because people don’t like paper books. No, it will because they will no longer be competitive. Books will be sold with the eReader included like film is sold with the box as the camera.
Kindles even get better looking covers!
Like they say: seeing is believing and when it comes to Kindle: the ‘eyes’ have it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Word from Beatrice Plotter:

"I should have taken off at Harvey Young."

“Writers who discover that their WIPs should have started on Chapter Three, didn’t consult the plot. Oh, excuse me, they won’t have had a plot.”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Polly Pantser & Beatrice Plotter Invite You to The Workshop Today!

Visit Seekerville Today for Day 2 of the Pantser/Plotter Workshop! Featuring A Dozen Authors and A Score of Examples!
Visit Day 1 Here

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pantsers and Plotters But Didn’t Know Who To Ask!

Visit Day 2 Here

Now Playing at a Computer Near You!

Visit Seekerville Today

Beatrice Plotter & Polly Pantser Agree: There is Probably More Information Here Than Anyone Would Want to Know.
It’s an 'All You Can Learn' Buffet.