Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Do You Want to Know if a Novel is Self-Published?

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Tue April 12th, 2011, 11:10 pm

Thanks so much, everyone, for your thoughtful responses. It seems clear that the "self-published" notation is useful to readers, so I will be keeping my current policy. I may do a blog post at HistoricalNovels.info in the near future about self-published novels and why I note them as such on the listings. Although many self-pubbed novels are seriously lacking in polish and readability, there are some gems out there, so I don't want to discourage readers from considering them. It's probably a worthwhile idea for self-pubbed authors to make it easy for people to read the first chapter online before buying. In my experience, when a self-pubbed novel doesn't make the grade, it is almost always abundantly obvious from the opening pages just how and why that is.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1641
Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed April 13th, 2011, 9:50 am

I don't tend to read self-published books, but that's not out of principle, and I have read them from time to time (and I've seen my local library start to stock some).
If I read a good reliable review or two on a book I was interested in, I would certainly not avoid it just because it was self-published.

Do you explicitly label traditionally published books as such? Do you cite the publisher for each book?

I think I can tell from the name of the publisher whether it is a major publishing house, a small independent, a print-on-demand service or the author's own press. And I imagine most frequent book readers/buyers can too these days, or at least are able to look up the name to find out.

I would therefore suggest that, to be consistent, every book should be labelled with a description of the publisher type or just the publisher's name.

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Thu April 14th, 2011, 4:01 am

I don't cite the publisher, and with well over 5,000 books listed on the site, it would be way too time-consuming to go back and research the publisher for each title on the site and add it in. Also, self-published books often do give the name of a "publisher" because self-published authors can act as a one-person publishing company and give their company a name. There are tons of little "publishers" around that have only published one book - the book written by the sole owner and operator of the publishing company. Going just by the name, it's usually impossible to tell the difference between a one-person publishing company like this and a small press that may publish only one or two titles a year chosen through a submission process that does consider literary quality and only publishes a small fraction of what is submitted. Also, there are an amazing number of "publishers" that essentially offer self-publishing services but which try to pass themselves off as old-fashioned small presses. You can't tell what they are from the name, but if you go to their websites, it's not so hard to tell, because they pitch their services to authors (and not so much their books to readers), and if they have any "submission guidelines" they don't ask for a synopsis and sample chapters, but instead emphasize the importance of getting the margins set up properly in the computer file, and that sort of thing.

But any visitor to my website who wants to know the name of a book's publisher can click on the title and go to the listing at Powell's Books or Amazon.com, which will give the name of the publisher.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
N. Gemini Sasson
Reader
Posts: 168
Joined: December 2009
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Post by N. Gemini Sasson » Fri April 15th, 2011, 11:17 pm

I'll add another bit of input from an author's perspective, Margaret. Personally, as a (self-published/indie) author, it wouldn't bother me if you were to note my books as such. Two simple reasons: a) because they are, and b) because I would prefer to have readers who are not put off by that fact and will judge the book based on the quality of the writing and whether or not the story grabs them, not based upon who the publisher is or isn't.

As a reader, most of the traditionally published paper books I read are borrowed from the library, simply for budgeting reasons. I do buy my favorite authors or ask for them for Christmas or birthdays. Search Inside the Book is a great feature for sampling if the author is new to me.

When it comes to reading on my Kindle, however, I'm primarily buying indie authors because the investment is so small (usually $.99-2.99). Before I purchase, I download the sample and if I get to the end of it and still like it, THEN I buy the book. If it's riddled with typos or anachronisms, or I just plain don't like the style of writing or plot, I don't buy it. I purchased a 99 cent book (indie author) before going on a trip to Europe last week and was very happy I had it when I got stuck at the Brussels airport for 9 hours. I didn't mind the wait because I had something enjoyable to read. And yes, it was just as good as most traditionally published books I've read. I think I only noticed one or two typos in the whole book.

On a side note, if you check any of the Amazon Kindle bestseller lists, you'll find they are increasingly being populated with self-published titles and backlist titles brought out by previously traditionally published authors who've since acquired the e-rights to their books. Readers are discovering they can get the same number of hours of reading pleasure without always spending so much. In the Bestseller list for Historical Fiction, currently 22 out of 100 are published by the authors directly to Amazon. From my estimate, about half these are backlist titles and the rest are self-published: Amazon Kindle Bestsellers in Historical Fiction
Last edited by N. Gemini Sasson on Fri April 15th, 2011, 11:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Fri April 15th, 2011, 11:28 pm

Thanks for the Amazon HF list, I hadn't noticed that one.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Fri April 15th, 2011, 11:33 pm

Great attitude, Gemini! I suspect self-published authors would enjoy more success with their books if they all shared it.

Publishing is going through huge changes. As a reader and a writer both, I am going to be very interested to see what the new publishing model will be 5 or 10 years down the road.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
N. Gemini Sasson
Reader
Posts: 168
Joined: December 2009
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Post by N. Gemini Sasson » Sat April 16th, 2011, 12:14 am

[quote=""Misfit""]Thanks for the Amazon HF list, I hadn't noticed that one.[/quote]

The Kindle bestsellers are often quite different from paper bestsellers, as the latter tends to reflect more of what you'd find in a brick and mortar store. I've yet to figure out why they include Kindle e-books on the 'Books' bestseller list. I can see where sales numbers would merit their inclusion there, but to me these (paper book vs. e-book) are two very different markets.

Anyway, yes, those lists have changed a lot in just the year I've been paying attention to them. A lot of new authors. For anyone leery of all the self-published books they might come across on Kindle, just peruse the bestseller rankings, sift through the 'Customers who bought this, also bought...', read the reviews and sample, sample sample.

User avatar
N. Gemini Sasson
Reader
Posts: 168
Joined: December 2009
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Post by N. Gemini Sasson » Sat April 16th, 2011, 12:28 am

[quote=""Margaret""]Great attitude, Gemini! I suspect self-published authors would enjoy more success with their books if they all shared it.

Publishing is going through huge changes. As a reader and a writer both, I am going to be very interested to see what the new publishing model will be 5 or 10 years down the road.[/quote]


I can genuinely understand why some indie authors would bristle at the label, due to the bias they often encounter, but the reality is their books are self-published. If they truly have confidence in the quality of their work, if they've developed a thick enough skin, then there's no reason to be ashamed of the fact or feel it needs to be hidden.

And yes, publishing is undergoing big, big changes. I won't even begin to speculate on how things are going to shake out eventually, but this is the last media to undergo an evolution. While it's always scary to see the old ways go by the wayside, in actuality it will all be for the better in the long run. For one, we'll have more choices and will be better able to individualize our selections.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3560
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat April 16th, 2011, 12:54 am

I scanned the list as well, and I noticed that Germans seem to go big for Free editions! More than half of the free bestsellers are in that language.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Sat April 16th, 2011, 2:22 pm

[quote=""N. Gemini Sasson""]When it comes to reading on my Kindle, however, I'm primarily buying indie authors because the investment is so small (usually $.99-2.99). Before I purchase, I download the sample and if I get to the end of it and still like it, THEN I buy the book. If it's riddled with typos or anachronisms, or I just plain don't like the style of writing or plot, I don't buy it. I purchased a 99 cent book (indie author) before going on a trip to Europe last week and was very happy I had it when I got stuck at the Brussels airport for 9 hours. I didn't mind the wait because I had something enjoyable to read. And yes, it was just as good as most traditionally published books I've read. I think I only noticed one or two typos in the whole book.[/quote]

Since I've owned my eReaders, I've also been trying more indie authors and have enjoyed quite a few that I've purchased. I also try to keep an eye out for those author announcements where they are publishing their backlist as ebooks for those low prices. I primarily read for my own entertainment, so not every book I pick up needs to be a literary achievement. If it entertains me, it's done its job.

Post Reply

Return to “Questions and Research”