Revisiting Published vs. Well-Published

I noticed something interesting this last week. Published vs. Well-Published, a post I wrote 2 years ago, is getting an enormous amount of traffic.

If you read the post, you'll see I'm talking about the differences between just getting published, usually meaning paying some subsidy publisher to put your book out, and getting well-published, meaning the publisher pays you a nice cash advance and continuing royalties.

I have a feeling people are reading this because I published Just One Look,a funny, sexy romance, myself, rather than going through what is now being called legacy publishing. (This book was previously published -- in fact, in various editions with 3 different publishers.)

Since I became an indie author, maybe all these people are thinking I've changed my mind about my stance on getting well-published, or worse, they think I'm a hypocrite. Au contraire. Neither of these opinions is true though I'll add an addendum to the former.


I still think if you want to pursue print publishing that you get published by someone who pays you, not the other way around. I've known too many writers desperate for publication who paid too much they could ill-afford to those companies that make their income from selling publication packages to authors, not selling those authors' books.

However, technology has changed drastically in the last two years. Now authors have a way to reach readers themselves without going through legacy publishers. The advent of the Kindle made this possible.

I think it is possible to be well-published as an indie author now. By my definition that means you put out a product that is indistinguishable from one put out by a publishing company.Well, perhaps the only difference is price because legacy publishers usually have their ebooks priced the same as a print book.

Well-Published Indie Author

1. Great cover.
I think my ebook cover is better than any my various publishers ever slapped on this story.

2. Great ad copy.
That means the written content that appears on your book's online page and in the ebook etc: Product Description, Author Profile, sample pages, even the keywords used to draw readers to the book.

3. Good story told well.
You must have a story that rocks! And you must know how to tell that story.

4. Well-edited and proofed manuscript.
No typos, misspellings, wrong word usage, etc. I've been laughing alone a discussion thread on Amazon where the readers gleefully report an author's wrong word usage and other grammatical errors.

5. A properly formatted ebook.
Nothing is more distracting than an ebook that doesn't look like a "real" book. You know exactly what I mean if you've sampled a lot of ebooks. I remember one that was free that I downloaded. It had an interesting premise, but the formatting was so bad with quotation marks in wrong places, odd paragraphing, changing font sizes stuck in haphazardly, that I just gave up on it.

6. A responsive author.
An author needs to interact with the reading public much as you and your neighbor chat when you encounter each other in the yard or at the grocery store. Gone are the days when authors could be unsocial hermits with nasty attitudes who had publishers to CYA their images to the huddled masses of readers. If you're nasty online, the world will know.

Takeaway Truth

Whether you're aiming at legacy publishing or the indie variety, strive to be well-published. You, and your readers, deserve no less.

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