Authors are known for talking to themselves – and now, yes, even interviewing themselves. Martin Crosbie interviews Martin Crosbie on self-publishing, Amazon, and the evolution of indie author books.
You self-published your first book in 2011. What’s been the most significant change in Indie publishing since then?
The quality of everything has improved. Book covers, blurbs, and most importantly – the content has all become better. I remember (and I speak as a reader here), reading books a couple of years ago and thinking, boy that could have been a great story if this had been addressed or that had been addressed. I don’t make those allowances any more. I don’t have to. There are some very well-written and important books being self-published.
So, as the bar was raised expectations increased too? Which came first?
It doesn’t matter; that’s a dumb question. The point is that if you keep doing something you should become better at it. If you don’t, you should move on to something else. Writers need practice and feedback and more practice. I’m not there as a writer and I never will be. But, I believe I’m becoming a better writer, and I hope to keep improving. I’m not the only one who has this philosophy; in fact I learned it from my peers. Because of this thinking, the product, and presentation of the product, has become better.
For an author who is considering self-publishing, what genre should they concentrate on writing?
That’s almost as dumb a question as your previous one. However, my advice there is to follow your dharma. Write where your muse takes you. If you’re passionate about it then a reader or two might be also. When we share our imaginary world with readers, the same vision – an incredible connection – can occur. Without that it feels contrived. It has to be real.
Do you have any other tips for authors who are contemplating self-publishing their work?
Make sure it’s the absolute best you can do. You don’t have to spend years and years perfecting it, but make sure it’s your best work. That sounds like a contradiction I know, but sometimes it’s just done and has to go forth into the world. That’s where beta…
I knew you were going to talk about beta readers.
Of course I’m going to talk about betas. That’s where beta readers become invaluable. I have a new book that I just completed and I know it’s ready to publish because my beta readers told me it is. I used all new beta readers for this book, and it’s been a terrific experience. I had the gall to tell one of them to make sure she told me the truth when she gave me her feedback. There was no need. These guys were incredibly helpful with their guidance.
I read an article that you wrote some time ago that was quite pro-Amazon. The thread was still open and some of the recent commenters didn’t agree with your thoughts. This seems to be a different take from a few years ago.
I agree. I’ve seen Hugh Howey and others being slammed too, so I’m in good company. Quite honestly, that isn’t totally a bad thing. I mean, we have to respect each other and offer our opinions in a constructive manner, but in order to grow and not be stagnant there has to be good, spirited discussion. The worst thing that can happen is for all of us authors to agree.
It is, isn’t it? I don’t like seeing Hugh or Konrath or someone else who has been so incredibly transparent and helpful being treated poorly. But, intelligent conversation is welcome. I wrote an article a year or so ago about websites needing to monetize some of their services. My argument was that in order to adequately support authors these sites needed to grow and be able to sustain themselves. Everything costs money. I had more than one message after that article from very opinionated writers who said they’d changed their opinions after reading my piece. I mean, I change my mind on issues all the time. In order to grow we have to say those three very important words…
I love you?
No. We have to say – I. Was. Wrong.
Kind of like, I was wrong to agree to this interview.
You’re doing fine. This is good.
If you don’t make mistakes then you never learn. And, if you’re like me you often have to make the mistake yourself in order to learn from it. It’s healthy to be wrong once in a while.
Got it. Now I understand. One last question, with your upcoming release are you as excited now as you were when you published your first book?
Yes, but it’s different now. Now that I’ve seen what’s possible and witnessed so many new authors taking an idea and turning it into this incredible thing – releasing their books, and then seeing how readers take to it…the possibilities are endless, absolutely endless. In my own small circle of author acquaintances I’ve witnessed lives change as people accomplish things they never thought possible. And, it’s all because they wrote a book and connected with readers. So yes, the dream remains. Once you hit that publish button you never know what might happen.
As authors follow through on their dream.
Yes. But remember, there’s a whole lot of work in between those start and finish lines. This is work that takes us away from our families and friends and our regular lives. It consumes us. It’s about more than just dreaming.
But it’s worth it?
It’s so worth it. Always. Like I said, it’s life changing. The author’s life changes because of what they’ve accomplished and sometimes, if they’re lucky, the reader’s life changes too. Yes, it’s very worth it.
Thanks for answering my – I mean – your questions.
It was my pleasure.