What I Don’t Understand Right Now

I’m going to kick this off by admitting I realize the irony of the next paragraph.

Just because someone has published (trad or indie) a book, has a blog, or is even making a living as a writer, does not mean their advice is valid, worthwhile or even safe to your career. If you want to go it alone as an indie-pub’d person, you absolutely need to learn the difference between “someone with an opinion” and a “topic expert.”

Now, just to be clear, I know I’m not a topic expert on much. It’s easier to just say that now, isn’t it. 🙂

But, here are some things I’ve been seeing lately that I completely do not understand.

First there’s the, All readers want is a compelling story so just get it out there. Don’t worry about the editing school of thought.

Why would you publish something that’s less than your best work? Why are typos, poor grammar, and poor construction acceptable when they can be fixed? Why is the review “I read it in spite of all the errors because the story kept me going” becoming a really positive review?

This is how I feel about my own writing: My job as a storyteller is to be entertaining and compelling. My JOB as a writer is to do it well. My job as a self-publisher is to make sure that both are happening before I hit send.

Am I perfect? Sooooo not perfect. I can see my own writing getting better as I do more of it, but I have and hire help.

Which brings us to the next comment.

The, I did this ALLLLLLLL by myself so I’m better/smarter/richer/more impressive/etc.

Why? Why is doing it all by yourself so important? Wouldn’t you rather bring in the big guns who can make that story can be as good as possible? Is ego and pride more important than excellence or credibility?

And, lastly, the I’ll publish it and fix it as the reviews come in process.

That’s not what readers are for. They are paying to read your book. If someone is doing work for you, the money should be going the other direction. It is their entertainment. Doing work is the opposite of entertainment.

I know a lot of writers (and maybe even readers) are going to disagree with me on these, but that’s okay. There’s room enough in the writing world for everyone. I will add that it breaks my heart every time someone holds up a book that falls into one of these examples and declares that NO indies are good because they’re all poorly done like book XYZ.

Publishing a book that isn’t the best product you are capable of dishonors the unwritten reader/writer covenant, disrespects writing as a craft, and is a disservice to yourself as an artist and entrepeneur.

Or, maybe it’s just me.



  1. You and your professional attitude. I’ll have none of it!

    I do think there’s some pride in taking the DIY approach. I really enjoy being able to control every aspect of my books, including cover design and most of the editing. I would never dare put out a book without several other eyeballs on it, though (and I always have a small army of proofreaders that save me from embarrassment).

    • Right. The “have or hire” approach. I’m totally down with that. Book 1 was bartered with friends for just about everything. But the, “No one else has seen it till it goes live” approach makes me…. nervous.

  2. stephaniehaefner says

    Amen, sistah!! I so agree!!!!! I don’t care what anyone says, you cannot see your own mistakes. You are too close to your own work to see it’s flaws. I don’t ever want a reader to say my story is good despite all the mistakes. That to me is not a rave review. And no one should feel like it is.

    I get that some people love the do it yourself thing. And if that is your path…I 100% support it. But there are right and wrong ways to do it. I myself will most likely not take that path. I just need the support of a publishing house. But that’s me and my journey.

    Now I’m not saying my books that are published through a publisher are completely perfect. Even with several rounds with my content editor, another round or two with the line editor, and then yet another look-see with the galley, I/we have still missed little typos. And I was embarrassed beyond belief when it was pointed out to me that there is an ending to a chapter where the period is missing. But there is a HUGE difference between minuscule typos here and there and glaring holes and plot mistakes, misspelled words.

    Thanks for posting this Caitie!!


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