I’m a self-published (i.e. “indie”) author, and I’ll be the first to say it: a lot of self-published books really suck. I mean really. They’re horrible – filled with typos, grammatical errors, poor storytelling, bad research, and so on. That’s the biggest problem with how easy it is to publish your own book now – these suckfests bring down the name of self-publishing and tarnish anything with “self-published” immediately as being suspect.
Of course, there also some “officially” published books that also suck. But they are much fewer and far between – and generally don’t ever come from the major print houses. Yes, there may be some bad storytelling here and there, but for the most part they’ve been groomed pretty heavily by quite a lot of very talented people – and this is one of the biggest things the major houses have going for them.
But here’s the thing – where a book is published really is not what determines its quality. What matters most is that any author planning on releasing their work take it completely seriously. If one plans on going the indie route and publishing on their own, then he or she needs to also realize that they are at a disadvantage. There is no big team of people working on your project – although all the functions of those teams at major publishing houses serve very important purposes. So, it’s up to the self-published author to make sure those jobs are still taken care of.
This is where the sucky self-published books start to appear. A lot of the time these books have not had a trained eye edit them and will often only have been looked over by the writer (if the writer even bothered to look at it after writing). Even then, is the writer any good in the first place? Should he really be putting this work out there?
It’s one thing to publish something because you want it in print, but when sucky self-published books get out there in front of potential readers they just make more muck for potential readers to muddle through. If you’re going to self-publish, make sure to do everything in your power (including asking other people for help) to ensure that your finished product is not a waste of people’s time. Otherwise you’re doing a disservice to readers and the rest of the self-published authors who take the indie movement seriously.