Ruminating On: The Ten Commandments for Indie Authors

1. Thou shall pay for editing and proofreading. (You cannot, under any circumstances, edit your own material. You will only see what you meant to write and not what you actually wrote.)

2. Thou shall give away review copies. (If you’re going to contact people about reviewing your work, put up or shut up.)

3. Thou shall not respond to any review, positive or negative, ever, until the end of time, unless you requested the review, and then you may simply say thank you. (Do you see Stephen King and J.K. Rowling flaming reviewers on Goodreads?)

4. Thou shall not plagiarize. (Write your own material. This should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised.)

5. Thou shall make at least 95% of whatever publication you’ve sold to the reader be exactly what the reader has bought. (The last 30% of your book shall not be interviews and ads for other books.)

6. Thou shall not put your editor’s name next to yours on Amazon or other booksellers. (This option is there for editors of anthologies, not the wonderful person who made you sound literate. Thank them in your novel. Trust me, it means more.)

7. Thou shall not commit the unforgivable sin of sock-puppetry. (This is the worse form of public masturbation).

8. Thou shall not trade reviews for reviews. (So, you and your buddy wrote a book, eh? You wanna give him five stars so that he can leave you a fiver in return? This is just as bad as sock-puppetry. Don’t.)

9. Thou shall not troll other writers. (No matter how much you hate Douchenozzle McShit-Stain, you are not allowed to leave him a one-star review on Amazon which states: “He sucks balls at sucking balls because he can’t suck his own balls. Oh, and this book is trash!!!!!!!!!!! A few more words to make 20 so Amazon will accept this review!” Even if you know that Mr. McShit-Stain has done the same to you. Forget it and move on. He’ll only drag you down in the end.)

10. Thou shall beware the company you keep. (Be mindful of groups created on social media. Sure it’s cool to be in a group of like-minded individuals, but when it comes out that Douchenozzle McShit-Stain was added to your group without your knowledge, things might get hairy. I’m not saying don’t do it, but you need to remember that old addage: “Guilty by association.”)

To be taken seriously, you must be better than the authors of books people buy at Walmart. Not as good as, but better. You have to rise above your own soft pride and fragile ego. Reviews are for readers, not you. If a reader wants a question answered, they will contact you.

You want to know why indies have trouble finding reviewers? Because the possibility of backlash is heightened when dealing with an indie. Readers have been shit on with such frequency and velocity that they’ve become shit-shocked. First, there’s the immeasurable amount of unedited garbage floating around out there. Next, you have those ass-hats which choose to berate and belittle the very people who buy their work simply because said reader called them on not providing quality material. And last but not least, you have the insufferable wet-spot who inflates his reviews by having four-hundred Amazon accounts, as if readers can’t tell by the Look Inside that there’s no way this steaming pile deserves anywhere near 300 glowing fivers.

Indie Author, you’ve been called out. The only way to sustain the momentum of this movement is to be better and not complain when no one reads or appreciates your work. Be thankful for every reader you do reach. Be thankful anyone’s even paying attention to you in the first place. Seriously, have you seen how many books readers have to choose from? Exactly.

E.

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11 thoughts on “Ruminating On: The Ten Commandments for Indie Authors

  1. Yes, yes, oh sweet bejeezus, YES! *wipes sweat away* Whew. That was good for me. Hope it was good for you, but if not at least it was good for me. 😉

    Seriously though, I’ve been pretty lucky in my reviewing so far. *knocks on wood* I’ve only had one psycho and she had to go through InD’tale Magazine, so I didn’t really have to deal with her. I read 270 books last year with about (at a guess) 80% coming from indie authors or small pub. I’m high volume, so while there are a mega fuck ton (thanks for that, btw) of books out there to choose from, the lower volume readers have to be even pickier. If that makes sense. And I should say that I’m actually fairly picky when it comes to agreeing to review. Not nearly so picky when it comes to Amazon freebies. *hides Kindle Fire*

  2. 1.) I’ll partially disagree. I see little wrong with a writer wanting to edit and proofread their own work, but only BEFORE handing the work over to a professional editor. After that, the writer should keep his or her paws to themselves.

    2.) Well, yeah. Is there any other way? You mean, there are indies out there contacing reviewers and not offering at LEAST a free epub or mobi or doc file? The mind boggles.

    3.) Yep.

    4.) ABSO-DAMN-LUTELY YES! Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, caught doing this should suffer the worst fates of the Hell of Upside Down Sinners. Or at least have the shit beat out of them.

    5.) Again, yep.

    6.) I keep wondering why indie writers do this. It looks quite unprofessional, in my opinion.

    7.) Awww, you’re deriding public masturbation. You’re no fun.

    8.) Partly because of this, I no longer do Amazon (or Goodreads, BN, etc.) reviews of books. Sure, I’ll post on my blog what I think, but there’s too much questionable when an author puts up a review of another author.

    9.) Now you’re taking away all my fun. Come on, you know it’d be fun to virtually stalk Dean Koontz from time to time.

    10.) Yeeaaaaah … this is one of the reasons I don’t join or even attempt to join any of the “professional” organizations for writers. There always seems to be too much drama, there’s always at least one douchebag member who is quite vocal, and as of the last few years, I no longer see the benefits. But to each their own. As for online groups, and to some extent private groups, just stay on your toes and keep your eyes open.

    1. I actually had an author contact me through the comment section of THIS BLOG asking me to check out his stuff. Told me I could find it on Amazon. First wrong he commited was trying to use my blog to market his work. Second problem came when he didn’t mention ponying up a review copy. Third problem was I don’t even read his genre. Had he taken the time to look into my likes and dislikes, I might have let him slide.

      I know how hard it is when you’re trying to get your foot in the door, but pimping yourself on a fellow author’s blog without invitation is a very Douchenozzle McShit-Stain thing to do.

  3. fuonlyknew

    Great post E. I do love how you sugar coat it! LOL
    You have to do a guest post when I review your next story. This is what readers need to hear too. You!

  4. darkwriter67

    Reblogged this on Illuminite Caliginosus and commented:
    The following re-blog can only be described as erudite, profound, sagacious, eloquent and tha shizzle my nizzle. Which means it will be largely ignored by its target audience. Shame, really.

  5. Being a member of the target audience, I must thank darkwriter67 for posting this–although if you have the right friends, and treat them well (which means, sometimes, viciously line-editing their stuff, too) you don’t always have to pay in money for editing. (“ow! Thank you, sir, may I have another?”)

    But all this is so very, very true.

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