Et tu, Catfish? Writing with Integrity

catfish books are rampant on fish-216132_640Recently I’ve learned about a new (to me) term: catfishing. It means someone pretending to be what they are not. In terms of selling books on the Internet, this basically boils down to someone posing as an expert in a given field, then writing short, pithy eBooks using information easily and freely accessible on the Internet (think Wikipedia) and then passing it off as a definitive guide on Amazon.

The Washington Post recently ran a very thorough article on the phenomenon. The upshot is that (1) this is nothing new; there have always been people gaming every system ever devised and (2) most of these catfishers operate at least nominally within Amazon’s guidelines with the exception of paid reviews, the thing that Amazon is really cracking down on lately. Continue reading “Et tu, Catfish? Writing with Integrity”

Changing Attitudes Toward Self-Publishing

Differing book reviewsYou’ve heard the snide comments. Self-published books are crap. They aren’t edited. They are amateur. They are not worth our notice. Many such comments were deserved. They still are in some cases.

Most of these slurs came out of a time when the majority of so-called self-published books were put out by vanity presses that preyed on the desire of the unwary to have a book with their name on it. Often these books were written to share with friends and family, never intended for a wider readership. Continue reading “Changing Attitudes Toward Self-Publishing”

Here we go again…indies and their editing (or not)

thumb-440352_1280There are many, many topics to talk about in the writing world. There’s lots of advice to be asked and given. Some issues just keep on turning up like bad pennies. For example, authors behaving badly has turned up more than once in IU posts. A few authors behave badly, it seems. But another topic that keeps rearing its ugly head is…*lowers voice and mouths exaggeratedly*…e-d-i-t-i-n-g. Just when you thought you’d said your bit on the subject, along comes another shambles of an unedited book, so off we go again… Continue reading “Here we go again…indies and their editing (or not)”

Indie News Beat: The Shifting Stigma

Indie News BeatUnless you were living under a rock last month, you’ll have heard about Hugh Howey’s incendiary new website in which he and an anonymous friend collate a mass of book sales data to show that self-published titles are taking more and more of the spoils. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from nearly everyone (it seemed), given that so much data analysed in such depth was perhaps bound to be open to selective interpretations.

Over on Publishers Weekly, Smashwords founder Mark Coker took a more sober approach, pointing out that: “What matters is the directional trend, and the strong social, cultural and economic forces that will propel the trend forward in a direction unfavorable to publishers.” In an excellent article which is a must-read for all Independent Authors, Coker goes on to describe how the perception of stigma is shifting. From just a few years ago, when self-publishing had “failure” written all over it, we’re now moving to a point where traditional publishing is getting its share of negativity: the lousy royalties on e-books and their own vanity imprints ready to fleece the unsuspecting Indie, which Coker politely calls “misguided”. The more heated the debate gets, the more useful it is to listen to a cooler head. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Shifting Stigma”