Why I buy self-published or POD books

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Self publishing was good enough for Milton

Self publishing was good enough for Milton

In a recent LinkedIn discussion a couple people flamed over a comment I made. I advised doing thorough homework before paying a publishing company to handle your book and reading contracts carefully before signing anything. It’s good advice whether you self-publish, work with Simon and Shuster, use  POD, or crank the stuff out on your desktop and hawk it out of the trunk of your car. The discussion evolved into why do I, or why would anyone buy PODs or self-published books.

I’ve read many. I review them often. Why? Because they’re books. Yes, I have seen real stinkers. I don’t review those – I write to the author and politely suggest that I’m not the right reviewer – then make a few suggestions for improvement. After all, I’m an authors’ coach. I know my business. And I empathize with writers’ challenges. Many of “those” books, the self-pubs and PODs, are worth reading. Here are some reasons the obsolete argument about  non-traditionally published books is obsolete:

How I find POD and self published books

  • I work in the publishing world and have lots of contacts, so I become aware of non-traditionally published books.
  • I read a lot and keep up with the industry.
  • I follow Web leads and use social networking to keep me connected.
  • I know agents, publishers, other ghosts, teachers, academics, etc so, by osmosis I suppose, I become aware of books available.
  • There are websites out there that catalog self-pubs.
  • Bookstores carry such books, too, major bookstores.

Why? They’re the future of a portion of our industry

What I do with non-traditionally published books

A LinkedIn associate asked me why I acquire such books. I use them as references. I read them for self-edification. I have half a dozen self-pub cookbooks because I love to cook and my husband loves to eat great food. I acquire non-traditionally published books for the same reasons I buy traditionally published books. A perk – they often cost less. I also buy ebooks. Same reasons.

Do I buy them to review was another question. My answer:  I seldom buy review copies – people send me more than I can handle. I’d go broke if I bought them but good or bad review (and I do both because I review honestly) the author gets fair coverage from me and frequently, unasked-for advice, but always, in my humble opinion, advice of at least some value. I get thank you notes.

Aren’t POD and self-published books basically worthless drivel?

Like Chicago snow in March, whatever stigma was once attached to self pubs melts with every passing day. The quality of your book will determine how it is received if your marketing is in place. Attention to detail – content, mechanics, cover, subject, now means more than the idea of self-published. Vanity press is entirely different and another whole can of worms.

Do you all know that major players in the publishing world are delving into POD and self-pub alternatives for revenue streams? Stick around – this argument is losing its feet even as we speak.

Write as though your career depends upon it. Be brutally honest with yourself about your work. Hire a mentor, editor, coach, ghost, or any combination as you need help. Learn how to craft a book. Junk is junk in any field. Make your book the highest possible quality, and your options are almost unlimited. Self publishing is maturing and is here to stay.

More reading:

Here are some books I wrote – not self-published

Book review on a sort of self-pub, Shoot to Thrill

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  1. In today’s publishinging climate, your book needs a professional agent, ghost or mentor | ontext.com - February 23, 2010

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