Saturday, July 2, 2011

How Hard Do Authors Work On Quality?

I can only speak from my own experiences, both as an author and a reader. I've been reading a few things on the web about the quality of books (or, as some claim, the lack of quality) and I'm finding myself back in WTF mode once again. I'm starting to think my literary agent friend is right. I'm reading too many blogs, especially romance blogs where there always seems to be an agenda.

I read a lot of digital books these days and I don't find anything lacking in quality. I will admit that sometimes I read a self-published book and I see a few more mistakes than I'd normally see in a book released by a publisher. But these aren't mistakes I find offensive and they have nothing to do with the quality of the story, and I don't think it affects the quality of the book either. If anything, I appreciate the fact that someone took the time and effort to self-publish. And knowing how hard it is with a publisher I don't judge these attempts. Besides, I'm not pompous enough to believe my word is the beginning and end of all that evolves around publishing like some folks out there in romance webland.

So I honestly don't get this constant harping about the quality of books these days. Partly because I know how hard all authors are working to get the quality right, and partly because I know how all publishers are working to get it right. Frankly, I find it insulting, especially when a handful of authors lead readers to believe "they" are the only ones working on quality. And, if I were to guess, I'd go as far as saying I think it's a contrived ploy to promote by certain authors, claiming they have a somehow higher quality of book than other authors. (And there is no solid information to back this up whatsoever.) As if they are the only authors striving toward quality, when all they are really striving for are sales. And it seems to be working, too. There's an old saying about bologna: package it right; market it well; it sells.

I don't have a problem with the quality of any of my books. Some of the early books from RR have a few digital errors, but they were all technical problems, not editorial problems. And when I see them, I post about them. I'd stand behind the quality of any of the books I've been in for the past twenty years from Cleis Press and Alyson Books. So from now on I may start posting quality control reports when I have a new release...or when I post about a book. I may even start posting small, standard quality control segments at the bottom of each post; just for fun, and, I promise, only once in a while. And if there are any other authors out there who truly believe the quality of their books is the best they can get, I hope they follow me in this little quest.

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