Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do You Care If the Novel You’re Reading Is Self-Published or Published?

Often readers, including many experts, mistakenly believe published novels are automatically better than self-published novels when the opposite is often true. The reality is published books offer you, the reader, no advantage over self-published books.

Publishers claim they vet their books, which is true, but serious self-published authors also vet their books, often to more rigorous standards than publishing houses.

Publishing house vetting typically includes the assigning of an editor to work with the author. Self-published authors have their books reviewed by their critique groups made up of other writers and authors. Some self-published authors even hire their own professional editors to polish their books. So which would you prefer to read: a book polished by a publishing house editor or a committee of other writers?

Published novels are usually available in bookstores, but for new authors, the book is only available for a very limited time, usually only a few weeks. Self-published authors have a difficult time gaining access to book stores, but they can do it by jumping through some hoops. But what difference does this make to you, the reader, if you purchase your books online at Amazon or other online book dealer?  Often, the self-published book is significantly less costly than a published book.

So how do you decide which to purchase? The easiest way to choose which book to read next is to read the first chapter. This is easy to do in a bookstore because the book is right there in front of you on the shelf. Online shoppers can usually read the first chapter on Amazon or other website.

Many readers make their purchase decision based on the first sentence or first paragraph of the story. Does the author grab your attention? Do you care about the story from the beginning?

Authors of thrillers and other fast-paced stories know they have to start with high action. If it’s not on page one of the story, they know readers will move on to another novel.

If you prefer more laid-back stories, such as a romance, cozy mystery or certain literary fiction, then you want to give the author space to set the stage of the story. But even with slower-paced novels, the author should grab your attention on page one with the poetry of the description or with interesting dialogue or whatever it is that works for you in these kinds of stories.

Bottom line: If you don’t like page one, you’re not likely to enjoy reading the rest of the novel. And reading the first chapter allows you to judge the book before you purchase based on your own tastes and preferences – without regard to whether the novel is published by a publishing house or directly by the author.

Read the first chapter of my novel Fulfillment free. You may click here for Amazon or click here for paperback. It's the Christmas story as only Paul R. Lloyd can tell it: pure suspense/thriller, horror, mystery, romance and spiritual warfare. Satan is out to stop the first Christmas by attacking Mary, a pregnant teenager with moxie and connections in high places. Fiction designed to keep your lights on.

Here’s another novel idea…
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