Thursday, April 17, 2008

About a Comment

Hello everyone, I recieved a comment that I want to talk about. On my post "Thoughts about writing" I got a comment. So I think that I should rephrase my self. In the original post I said to give writers you don't know a chance by buying their book. And I know that PublishAmerica jacks up the prices on their books. I know that a lot of people out there are tight on money so I want to just say one more thing. When it comes to buying books, at least pick up and LOOK at a book by a writer that you don't know. I am not saying that you have to buy it, but just picking it up and looking at it is good enough. Buy a used book at a book sale by an author that you don't know. So please just keep in mind, that every day there are new writers out there trying to start a writing career, and if they know that you are just picking up their book and looking at it, it means the world to them. I am telling you this because I know the feeling!

34 comments:

Marian said...

Hi Zana,

Thanks for clarifying. I want to say that I admire your looking out for other new writers, and wanting them to succeed as well. It's a tough world out there, so support from fellow writers is a good thing.

I think, though, that the quality of the books put out by vanity presses might discourage readers from even picking up and reading these. For instance, if I compare the covers of PA-printed books with the covers of books put out by actual publishers, I notice a difference. The covers of PA-printed books often do not tell me much about the book, or hint at what genre it is. On the other hand, I can tell just by looking at books by Lawrence Watt-Evans or George R. R. Martin that these are fantasy, so even if the book is halfway across the store, I know it's something I might like.

Blurbs are another concern. I always read the blurb on the back cover before picking up a book, and with books put out by actual publishers, these blurbs are carefully composed. With a book from a vanity press, this is unlikely to be the case. I've found errors and inappropriate sentence constructions on the blurbs of PA-printed books, and those aren't likely to make me read further. All this, of course, comes before actually reading a book which wasn't screened for quality by its publisher.

Do I pick up and look at books from writers who I don't know? Absolutely. That was how I discovered Matthew Woodring's Stover's first book, and I've often plugged him since then. Plus, I bought the sequel. But what first caught my eye about his book was its lovely cover painting, interesting blurb and the quotes from other fantasy authors on the cover. All these came from the publisher, Roc, which is legitimate. Vanity presses can't or won't supply them.

To cut a long story short, even in second-hand bookstores, PA-printed books will be competing with the others on the market. And many of those others have advantages that PA-printed books do not.

I know you want to make a success of your book, but to be honest with you, sending a manuscript to PA is like dropping it into a deep dark pit. Not many people will spelunk into the pit. So it's usually a better expenditure of time and effort to write another book and get that legitimately published. I do keep in mind "that every day there are new writers out there trying to start a writing career". But publishing a book through PA or any other vanity press is not a way to start a writing career. I'd like all serious writers to have success and recognition, but they're more likely to get that from submitting good efforts to legitimate publishers.

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