When Self-Publishing Fails

What do you do? Did you self-publish, only to find that the platform you used has serious formatting issues?

I have not self-published, as I am keeping my stories locked up tight; for the time being. But I am aware of several self-publishing companies that cater to the writer who wants to be published, and this is the best route. I did not say easiest route, because it is not.

I know Lulu, Blurb, and Createspace are very popular. Wattpad has been getting a lot of attention lately. I know Amazon offers self-publishing, but I have been seeing a lot of fall-out from their pricing and restrictions. The latest is that Amazon is selling merchandise for $0.01 and the sellers cannot do anything about it.

I have read some terrific stories from self-publishers. But I do take offense when a self-publisher wants to blame their shoddy skill of the very difficult English language on their self publisher.

Keep in mind; no matter how chopped up the story was; when your emails are just as chopped up; I am not going to believe this is a server/platform issue.

I have read about 3 horrible stories (yes, horrible) that I could not even read again no matter what the payment was.

I guess what I am saying is this: I wish these self-publishing websites had a way to tell that a story is pure crap and just refuse to publish it. Is the all-mighty dollar worth so much that these companies will publish anything as long as they are getting some kind of profit?

Oh, how the writers of days-gone-by are turning in their graves.

So I guess I would personally like to apologize to Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, not to mention so many others.

11 thoughts on “When Self-Publishing Fails

  1. Aspirations Of Flight December 17, 2014 / 5:59 pm

    I like this post! You have very excellent points and I have similar feelings about the whole thing. I would say that I suppose in principle it’s a great thing people are able to get their stories out there without having to jump through the hurdles of traditional publishing. Unfortunately it also means that the “filter” for those who really need to work on their writing skills isn’t there, as you are talking about above. But hey, I suppose if people buy it, what are we to blame them? If that’s their choice… we don’t have to stick to their standards.

    But it is hard to wade through the “glitter-poo,” as one author put it, to find the real gems.

  2. Aimer Boyz December 17, 2014 / 6:38 pm

    Yes, they will publish anything. That’s the whole point, isn’t it, to let everyone live their dream no matter how delusional that dream may be.
    And, yes, they are making money. Lulu certainly took enough of mine ๐Ÿ™‚
    Yes, there is crap out there. I have definitely noticed that there are a lot more typos in e-books than there were in traditional publishing. And yet, with all its aggravations self-publishing makes the hitherto impossible possible. As with any other purchase though, buyer beware ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Angela December 17, 2014 / 6:55 pm

      I am sorry you experienced this Aimer. It is ridiculous what they will take from writers, only to exploit them.

      • Aimer Boyz December 17, 2014 / 9:23 pm

        Thanks, Angela. I see it as a learning experience so I don’t feel too bad about it. I may try something different with my next book, though.

  3. marcjamesauthor December 17, 2014 / 7:07 pm

    It can be very annoying when punctuation kills a story.

    Having self published a couple of books I must admit that when I first made my book available the punctuation was a bomb scare. However when I finished the second book, I read through the first one again and realised the error of my ways. Hopefully the problem has been fixed.

    When I read a book I don’t think punctuation matters that much to me. I must admit I have only read one self published book, so perhaps I just haven’t really experienced it.

    Although I must disagree with you. Self publishing is that for a reason, the authors do not get any money from publishers (obviously), they don’t make much from their work (in most cases) and just because the punctuation is bad, it does not mean that the story is bad.

    Having only read an F. Scott Fitzgerald book, out of the authors you mentioned, I must say that many self published books are probably better than the Great Gatsby, although each to their own.

    • Angela December 17, 2014 / 7:33 pm

      I absolutely agree Marc James! When an author self-publishes, they are literally throwing themselves to the wolves. They get judged, critiqued, and ran through the ringer for what they want to say. I am a fan of all of the authors (well; except the really shitty ones), because they put themselves out there. To be judged. To be criticized. And I would love to take a look at your work!

  4. marcjamesauthor December 17, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    That is very kind of you to say.

    I have only very recently become a blogger on the advice of a friend but out of the blogs I have followed, I normally don’t read that many of them, yours is one of the ones that I do read regularly.

    From the reviews that I have read of yours they tend to be authors that I have not heard of, so it is a good way of finding new talent.

    I like quite a wide variety of authors, although I must admit since I started writing my own novels I am not finding the time to read, which is a shame, I don’t know how you do it!

    The most recent book I have read is “The Colour of Law” by Mark Gimenez and it was incredible, so on the off chance you haven’t read it, check it out.

    I couldn’t see an email address for you, but if you would like I can send you my first two books via email. It will be as a word document though. Unless you know of another way I can send them to you?


    • Angela December 18, 2014 / 5:16 am

      I would love to read your books Marc! my email address is angi.gibbs@yahoo.com . I have not heard of “The Colour of Law” but I will definitely look it up. Thanks for following!

      • marcjamesauthor December 19, 2014 / 6:42 pm

        I have actually decided to have an impromptu free day on my first two books.
        It is tomorrow, I sent you the books, but this way you can read them on your Kindle.

        Really hope you enjoy them!
        All the best!

      • Angela December 19, 2014 / 7:24 pm

        Thanks Marc! I already downloaded them on my laptop but it will definitely be easier to get them read on my Nook!

  5. Julian E. Benoit January 16, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    Having self-published on Kindle and Createspace (also an Amazon subsidiary) I have few complaints.
    My only beef is with Createspace, their POD service, in that it prices my book far higher than I would choose. Subsequently, I have sold very few of the print editions.
    Kindle, on the other hand, offers me much more flexibility with pricing and royalty percentage and I have sold several thousand through that platform.
    Amazon has never charged me a dime for simply publishing my work, though they do offer paid services, such as cover design and editing. I went into it thinking I would only sell a few books, so I worked my own cover art and editing. I later found many proofing errors in the first volume, but was able to edit, even after publishing. Following that experience, which I found quite embarrassing, I was a tad more meticulous with the second volume.
    With e-books at least, Amazon has a lengthy return period, so the reader has plenty of time to decide if the book is rubbish or not. I believe that a self-published book stands on it’s own merits. If it’s crap, it will generate primarily bad reviews, lots of returns and won’t sell much in the long term.
    Someday, I may retool my work, run it by an agent and attempt to go the traditional route, but for now, I intend to concentrate on e-book self-publishing and offer print versions for those few who really want to own a hard copy.

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