What self-pubbed authors need? A new editorial & review model


I’ve been thinking a while about what the self-pubbing industry really needs and how someone might execute it. A whole army of services has sprung up “supporting” (read, taking cash from) self-pubbed authors but very few do this effectively or because there are so many people offering the same service it becomes hard to tell the services apart or rate them effectively.

So what do we need? Firstly, we need trusted ways to find good editors (with real reviews – the equivalent of tripadvisor for our industry). Secondly, we need greater choices for people to review our books. Hugh Howey puts it well here when he says we need reviewers and readers (a way to access them, at least). Amazon has provided a platform but it’s a business model that works to sell books when you have an audience. We need places to build those audiences before they buy. There are tons of new tech apps out there for readers and writers and some of them are good. I just need one of them to bring it all together and gain traction, to revolutionise, a bit like Airbnb for self-pubbers; something that can turn tech to our advantage and overthrow the current system. Ideas?

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4 thoughts on “What self-pubbed authors need? A new editorial & review model

  1. Ellen, you hit the nail on the head and pounded it in. There are lots of services and few ways to evaluate their effectiveness. It seems everyone has a hand out asking for money and making promises. I edited my indie book five times because it was full of errors the publisher had added to the manuscript. There were quotation marks facing the wrong way, strange marks on the pages, places where the words were squished together and more. Each time I circled every error and sent it back. It came back to me with less errors and I went at it again. This extended the publication time immensely and it was quite late coming out. I see many indie books full of errors the author didn’t demand to have removed. I ended up with a clean manuscript but it really cost me. Getting book reviews is problematic, Many authors have all their friends write reviews and many of the reviews are not professional at all. That is not to say it isn’t great getting a “I couldn’t put it down”, which I did, but from someone who was too shy to add the comment anywhere. It is a jungle for serious authors who are driven to produce quality product. Your post touched a nerve in me. It was so well stated and well thought out. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

      • Communicating about problems is a start. Being relentless even if a person is a tortoise and not a hare is a partial answer. Writers face problems regardless of how their books are published. Anais Nin had troubles publishing and used a press of her own for a time. Perhaps we could call her one of the first Indie writers. She is certainly well known now for her edgy novels and endless diary.

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