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Friday, August 31, 2012

Indie versus Traditional

Lately, I've been spending so much of my time reading Indie authors on my kindle that I haven't picked up a pocketbook in a long while. But as you know, paperbacks are given out freely at the RWA Convention, and I lucked out…came home with a suitcase full. Many were for my dear ole mom. (Truly!!!) Okay - I admit to grabbing a few for myself, also. :)


Soon after, heading off on another short trip, I decided to pack along one of the Romantic Suspense paperbacks by a New York Times, Best-selling author—one of my favourites that I used to read quite often. Unfortunately, since I've become published everything I read gets automatically edited. (Gawd…that's another whole blog!)


So you can imagine how shocked I was when I noticed, from the very first page, that the writing was difficult to read. If it were my own, I would consider the work unacceptable and needing to be edited. I found many long and convoluted sentences, some having 40 words or even more. Sentences I had to reread in order to understand where the author meant to go. Descriptions were over the top and unconnected somehow, just thrown in as if the word count was down. There were even repeated words close together, obviously overlooked…a beginner's no-no.


I know that some folks trash-talk Indie authors, and at times with reason. Many haven't learned their craft as well as they could, and they decide to publish their work anyway. Some with beautiful little stories ruined by the lack of professional editing. Heck a few of my own from way back weren't as well finished as I would have liked, and they were published through an E-publisher. But every one of us, whether Traditional or Indie, go through a learning curve….and that's fine.


But when the public is paying ten bucks or more (in Canada) for a bestseller—expecting an awesome read—it's a little disconcerting that the last few Indie books I've read were as good and many even better. These sold for prices ranging from $.99 to $4.99.


Just saying!!

Has anyone else come across the same type of situation? Paid a lot of money for a book and felt let down by the quality? Please share your own experiences.

Mimi Barbour is the author of two paranormal series...The Vicarage Bench & Angels with Attitudes.
Her new Romantic Suspense "Partners", recently released, is a very short introduction to the second book in the series. "Roll the Dice". This full-length action-packed powerhouse will be released September 15th.


  1. Mimi, there are many times I've read a book from one of the "Big 6" NY publishers and have wondered how the book got published. What editor 1. bought the book and 2. let the work go to publication in the form I purchased? I hate that people denigrate self-pubbed and indie pubbed books as substandard. As with traditionally publsihed book, there are good and mediocre authors in both groups. I like being my own publisher.

  2. Mimi, you've expressed my feeling in this post. Really, you wonder what the big editors are doing letting go of the rules we learned as basis of writing, not to mention the typos. Often I skip pages or stop reading. Recently I took a box of paper back NY books and gave them to my local library. We've become difficult readers since we write. But I enjoy the many ebooks on my Kindle.

  3. Thanks for your replies, Caroline and Mona. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has come accross this type of situation. At least with the e-books, a person can order the sample and get a really good idea if the story and the writing will suit them....I do love my kindle!!!

  4. Mimi, I read a lot, and, it's rare now to find a big publisher book that is as good as the indies I read. Sure there are crap indie books, but there are crap big pub books too. If I end up with a crap indie book at 3.99, that doesn't hurt as bad as a crap print book at 8.99 or more.

  5. I know what you mean, Joan. Until I published myself, I have to admit to not picking up the mistakes that I see so clearly now. So when I do find a great read, I'm just so darn greateful!!!

  6. Hi Mimi - had that happen so many times. Bought one bestseller recently for $8 and ended giving up because it was just so awful. I have read several 99 cent books or even freebies that were so much better.

  7. See - it's not just me. I was beginning to think I'm getting too picky! LOL

  8. I find myself rewording sentences, I do indeed wonder who fell asleep at the wheel as I spot BIG mistakes. A few errors can escape even the best editor, but.....