MOXIE COSMOS SAYS…
I subscribe to Omnimystery News, a great source of “the latest” about mysteries and crime novels appearing in all formats. One spectacular feature is the Free Mysterebooks every week. Occasionally, someone as well known as Ian Rankin will offer a book free or at a low, low price.
Many more freebies come from little-known authors, but among these are some really good storytellers. This is where I discovered John Galligan’s “knot” series, narrated by “Dog” who is a fly fisherman trying his luck in every one of America’s best trout streams as a means of running from a tragic event. His good luck turns to bad luck in each location as he becomes involved in solving brutal murders. He is loved in each story, but moves on. I was drawn in by the first one set in my home state of Wisconsin. Galligan is now with Tyrus Books.
Last week I found David Bishop, whose free book was THE WOMAN. I finished it in two days, and I am not even a thriller fan. I immediately purchased THE BEHOLDER and finished it a few minutes ago. It is set in Phoenix, the city all Tucsonans (like me) love to hate. I will be buying all the Maddie Richards, Phoenix detective, novels. (See how it works?)
That leads me to what this blog entry is really about, feeling intimidated as a self-published author. One of the things I am noticing as I read more and more new authors on my Kindle is the great frequency of formatting errors. My own single novel got un-formatted almost as soon as it was turned into an e-book (by my publishing service). I asked the self-publishing Mr. Bishop if he had found a way to improve this situation, and he wrote back saying he was pleased with his publishing service. Period.
He and others also have editing errors. (I do. And Penelope Lively does.) Bishop told me he just uses “beta” editors (i.e. friends) to get his books ready for publication. I have heard other people say that it is absolutely imperative to pay a professional editor to go over your work. Agents, especially, say that. That’s why suddenly there are more book editors than book agents.
BUT HEAR THIS: Bishop’s formatting and editing errors were mere stumbles in what was a riveting chase for the villains in each case. His work is A-plus.
I have therefore concluded that, as a reader, if you have a reason to love the story, then a few glitches are not going to ruin it for you. If you are a writer, this may lessen your chances of getting an agent. Still, that may not matter these days. Using a publishing service, or just an e-formatting service, to get ten or more books on Kindle and Nook, etc., in a couple of years, asking even the low price of $2.99 for each, can build you a tremendous fan base, if not a new house.