"It's too expensive to hire people to prepare my book for publishing. I will never recover my expenses."
"Once I sell more, I'll publish better quality books."
I feel sad that many self-published authors feel this way. I never contradict when my peers start getting defensive about their publishing styles, because I know it will fall on deaf ears. But if you look at it objectively... it's a recipe for failure.
As mentioned on my post about The Author Platform, reputation is important in the publishing industry. Once a reader purchases a low quality book from a certain author, they will never read anything from that author again. Even if a 2nd and improved edition is released. Then, they will tell their friends about your poorly edited and sloppily formatted book. God forbid if they happened to be book bloggers.
Even if you just write as a hobby, and you don't expect to get rich from writing, don't you want your books to be read? Don't you want your work to entertain and inform, and for readers to give you a positive feedback? If you said you don't care, I'd say bullshit. Why did you publish? You could have kept your work locked away after you've spent months working on it. Right? But hey, you clicked that publish button. From that moment, you accepted accountability for the product that you're selling. Your book.
Recover expenses. Sell first before improving book quality. I can't understand these reasoning. How can any business person, which is what indie authors are, recover their expenses and sell more books, if it's not worth the money? In any business, product development is the priority. Next is Branding.
If you insist on releasing poor quality books, you will have an undeveloped product, and a lousy brand. Is that what you want? Oh yeah, you don't care. If that's the case, then be ready for poor reviews, and a writing career that won't go anywhere.
"Remember to think of the cost of self-publishing as an investment, not a cost. [A book is] an asset that earns you money long-term." – Joanna Penn
The most successful Indie Authors I've met have one thing in common. They cared about their work, and even if they write for their own enjoyment, they live for the positive feedback of their readers.
But I've also learned that self-published authors can be an arrogant and stubborn bunch. I guess,the freedom to publish whatever we want, has made us lose sight of our responsibilities to our readers. In traditional publishing, this would have been unacceptable... this disregard. Books had standards that writers must meet, or else they'd never be published. But times have changed.
When readers see cheaply sold indie books, they've already made a judgement even before they read it. Amateur. It's up to us to prove otherwise, and surprise them. When our books rise above their low expectations, it makes them happy, and they'll be excited to share the news with their network. As if they made an exciting discovery.
Maybe then you can recover your publishing expenses, and sell more books.
The funny part? Some authors would happily spend on extras, like elaborate graphics, and social media marketing. But not for the basics.
I think we should all remember, that every crappy book that's released, is a link in the heavy chain that brings down self published authors as a whole. Doesn't seem fair to those who try. Self publishing is a cost effective way of getting our work in the hands of readers... but it's not totally FREE.
What do you do to ensure that your book is ready for publishing?