What do you want?
As a reader, what do you want when you pick up a book? Does that change from genre to genre, or even from fiction to non-fiction? In other words, what do you think makes a book “good”? If you could talk to publishers, what would you tell them you want?
As you can tell, my brain has decided not to get out of bed today. I can’t blame it. Yesterday, was one of those days of tedium. I am pretty good about making sure I keep to writing schedules and get my e-books out without much delay. I fall down on promotion, something I am working on. But I absolutely suck at making sure I get print versions out and I know I need to get better. So yesterday was spent doing the preliminary formatting of four books and then locating the formatted files of another five that, for various reasons ranging from new covers to changing the internal format to be consistent with other books in the series, need to be looked at. What I discovered is that some of my final work product is scattered over various different drives and I figured I had better get it all together so I don’t spend hours looking for it at some later date.
I also open an account with ACX, (Audible), with the idea of doing audio books as well. I’m not sold on the latter but figured it was something I needed to at least try. Who knows how it will work out. I’ll keep you posted.
You might ask why I took time to do all this when I would much prefer to be working. Part of it is simple business. A number of readers still look at a book’s product page and think it isn’t a “real” book unless it has the different formats available. That’s not their fault. It is what they have been trained to think by traditional publishing. Look at almost any traditionally published book and you have at least two editions — mmpb or tpb or hardcover and e-book. Some have multiple versions of the print edition as well as the e-book. Those the publishers peg as being worthy get audio books.
So that means we, as indie authors, have to ask ourselves if we shouldn’t follow at least some of that example and the answer is yes. Even though the vast majority of my readers prefer e-books, I have some who want the print versions of my work. So, it is my responsibility to make sure I do everything I can to deliver it. That is why I spent yesterday — and will spend much of the rest of this week — getting the print versions updated, proofed and ready for sale.
Another reason, just as important as the above, why I am taking the time to do the print versions is that I had been on a two week writing binge and hadn’t realized it until I hit the wall. During the back and forth with Amazon over the file mix-up for Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3), I was writing. More than that, I was writing like a fiend and wound up with a very, very, very rough draft for the next book in the series. It currently weighs in at approximately 84,000 words. It will expand at least another 20k words before it is done. But I need to step away from it for a bit before sitting down with a critical eye and finishing up the “real” rough draft. That makes it a perfect time to sit down and do the nitty gritty stuff I hate doing.
Probably the most important reason, and the one that leads back in a roundabout sort of way to my original question, for immersing myself in the detailed work of formatting and designing cover flats is the Hugo debacle. Yes, debacle. There is no other way to describe it. Whether you support the idea that the Hugos are a fan award (which I do since you buy a membership to WorldCon in order to vote and anyone with the money can do so) or a “literary” award (which, to mean, would require it to be a juried award in some fashion), I think we all can — or at least should — agree that Hugo should not be exclusionary. If you can afford the money for the membership, you should be able to vote and your vote should have the same weight as the next person’s. Until the rules are changed, that is how it should be.
So imagine my surprise yesterday when I was looking through Facebook and came across a post from one of the puppy-kickers — and I am looking straight at you, Mr. Amazing Stories — saying that the committee should go in and look at all the ballots. Any ballot cast by a puppy should be thrown out. (And he even adds to his comment “screw privacy”, which had been one of the concerns last year’s committee had when they were asked to release the voting data.). But that’s not enough for him. He advocates never letting a “puppy” buy a membership to WorldCon again. There’s more but you can go look for yourself — assuming the post is still there. It is dated April 26th and was posted at 7:24 pm.
Needless to say, when I saw this, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Laughter because these sorts of comments show the hypocrisy of those who are “fighting the good fight” against those evil Sad and Rabid Puppies. We are called all sorts of names because, as they claim, we want to exclude message and “marginalized” people from the genre. Yet here one of their most vocal supporters is doing exactly what they claim we are doing. He is saying we should not be allowed into the same room with the Hugos. Note, he is not only saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to vote for their beloved award but tat we should not be allowed to attend WorldCon.
Sounds pretty exclusionary to me. How about you?
And that brings me back to my original question: what do you want when you pick up a book? What is important to you to find in that book?