Guest author, Rayne Hall

A special treat for you all today as our guest author is one of the more prolific writers not only on internet book sites but in hard copy books too, I first found out about Rayne when I was actually attracted to one of her book covers Storm Dancer and consequently found her on Twitter.

ABOUT RAYNE HALL

RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - reduced size Portrait by FawnheartRayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(creepy horror stories), Thirty Scary Tales, Six Historical Tales Vol. 1 and 2 (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories),  The Colour of Dishonour: Stories from the Storm Dancer World, Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and Writing Scary Scenes (practical guides for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance and more.

Rayne has lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal and  has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England.

Rayne now publishes much of her work as an independent author (Indie author) and below has supplied one of her articles on the subject of indie books, this isn’t an exclusive article and also published elsewhere.

 

ARE INDIE BOOKS WORTH REVIEWING?

by Rayne Hall

Certain book blogs state categorically that they won’t review self-published books.  I understand their motivation: They get inundated with submissions and are trying to keep the numbers down.

However, No Indies is as arbitrary as No Jews or No Women.

The reviewers aim to filter out low-quality works – but is the publishing method a valid quality filter?

It used to be. In the late 20th century, the established path to publication was author-agent-publisher-bookseller-reader. Each book had to pass three gates on its journey from author to reader, and each gate represented a quality test. Self-published books were inevitably those that had failed at the first two gates.

Times have changed. E-publishing makes it possible to reach the readers directly, and many authors choose the direct route instead of queuing at the gates.

Without gatekeepers barring entry, many poorly-written and under-revised books get published. A lot of indie (i.e. self-published) books are not as good as their authors think. Frankly, there’s a mass of indie dross – but there are also many indie gems.

The boundary between “good book” and “bad book” doesn’t happen to coincide with the frontier between indie-published and traditional-published books.

Consider the authors who use both publishing models: Amanda Hocking, John Locke and Michael Stackpole submit some of their works to traditional publishers and self-publish others. Are these authors’ traditional-published books better than their self-published ones?

Or how about the authors were successful with traditional-published books, but then decided to go indie? Consider Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, and Dean Wesley Smith. Have they lost their ability to write good books?

Then there are the authors who took their previously traditional-published out-of-print books and self-published them as ebooks -  Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Piers Anthony, for instance. The books are the same, so how can they suddenly be less worthy?

Over three decades, I had twenty books published by several traditional publishers before choosing the indie route. Does this mean my old books are worth reviewing, and my new books are not – even though I have grown as a writer?

Not long ago, a book blogger approached me. She had enjoyed the stories in Six Scary Tales Vol. 1 and asked for review copies of Vol. 2 and 3, so she could review the series. Shortly after I sent the books, I received an email “Your books are self-published and therefore not worth reading or reviewing.”

Excuse me? When she assumed that the books were traditional-published, she liked the stories and wanted more. On discovery that they were indie-published, the same stories were suddenly not worth reading. What does this say about the reviewer’s judgement?

Most stories in the Six Scary Tales series were originally published the traditional way in magazines and anthologies. Did inclusion in the self-published collection damage their quality?

I appreciate that book bloggers decline to read certain books, e.g. No Erotica, No Horror or No Romance, because if a book isn’t to their taste, it would be tedious to read and difficult to review.

But to decline all indie-published books because they can’t possibly be good is like refusing to read books penned by women or by Jews because no woman or Jew could possibly write something worth reading.

So how can a book reviewer assess which books are worth reading? I think the answer is obvious: by looking at the book itself. Reading the first few pages will show the reviewer whether it’s their kind of book. Often, a quick glance at the first paragraph is enough to weed out the obvious dross. If reviewers can’t form their own opinion of what they’re reading, they shouldn’t be reviewing books.

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Rayne Hall’s website links;

Website: http://sites.google.com/site/raynehallsdarkfantasyfiction/

Short video: Ten Random Facts About Rayne Hall: http://www.youtube.com

Amazon’s Rayne Hall page: http://www.amazon.com/Rayne-Hall/

StormDancer

Rayne’s latest book Storm Dancer can also be found HERE

 

 

6 Responses

  1. Rayne Hall October 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for hosting my guest post :-)

  2. Laura Crean October 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm | | Reply

    Well I suppose as an Indie self-published author, a woman who also happens to be a single Mum and a Jew – I suppose I would be right at the bottom of the pile then! But seriously – I get very bored with hearing the excuse “We don’t stock self-published authors in our book shop because they’re not good enough” or “Oh you’re only self-published!” or “If you’re self-published why is your book so expensive?” blah blah blah… You know what? We work just as hard if not harder to try and get our work read but there are so many obstacles out there, it is almost impossible to break through the stigma. This is a good article because it highlights the fact that the world is changing thanks to the internet exponentially and people need to wake up to this. If we are not careful all the arts – books, music, paintings etc. will end up being so undervalued that good quality work will disappear because nobody will be able to afford to put the work into the product! I’m not sure what the answer is other than valuing each artist for their effort regardless of how they produce and market their product. After all every artist has put time, effort, imagination, skill and money into producing a product – they all deserve to be seen and paid accordingly.

  3. Rayne Hall October 28, 2013 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    Interesting comment, Laura. Perhaps books (and other individual works of art) will be more valued in the world of publishing, because readers get to choose what they like? In the absence of gatekeepers, readers have more freedom of choice (and also the responsibility to choose). With the commercial interests of middlemen (agents, publishers, booksellers) removed, I speculate that this will lead to more focus on the actual book content and ultimately to a greater appreciation of individual books.

  4. Velvet October 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm | | Reply

    You know, sad to say I didn’t even know about Indie authors until I got my first Nook. Now I have found several authors who’s writing and stories have me totally hooked. I am following several Indie authors who write just as well, if not better then publishing house authors. I always leave a rating and review of the book, and send recommendations to my friends. I love the “lend me” option on books so I can recommend and lend them to friends, which gets them following as well. I love the Indie authors, they very frequently offer a book in the series for free, which let’s you know if you are going to like them, and decide after you finidh the book if you are going to continue to follow their work. Which I have done with several of these authors. Also, I have found most Indie books offered at a lower rate then “published” books, so with the savings I can get more of their books. So, “Yes”, Indie authors should be reviewed, its more then past time for the readers to decide what they want to read. Thank you Indie authors for giving us the alternative to choose.

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