My post last week, The "Self-Pub Is Crap" Debate, has probably generated more comments than any other post in 2011.
Reviewing the comments provides an excellent to-do list of how self-published authors can be taken seriously by readers.
- Hire professionals for editing, proofreading, and design.
- Put most of your cost toward editing. That means, aside from development or content editing, you must eliminate all proofreading errors and typos if you want to be taken seriously. Evelyn Lafont also recommends using beta readers to put out quality work.
- Hire a conversion house for clean e-book formatting.
- Understand the difference between vanity publishing and the BUSINESS of being an author. Don't do it just for the rush of seeing your name on Amazon. (Evelyn Lafont)
- Don't give 5-star reviews to friends' books that don't deserve it. Some people give 5 stars to every friend's book. This is a problem with both traditional and self-published books, but several readers complained that absurd and false high rankings tend to be more widespread in the self-published arena.
- Don't self-promote constantly. Self-published bloggers can be less fun to follow because they promote constantly. Many blogs, Twitter, and Facebook posts have become advertisements. (Theresa Milstein)
- If there's no quality sample, readers won't buy. Most readers decide whether to buy the book based on the quality of the sample, regardless of ratings/reviews. (Ann Best)
- Be patient. In an environment where NO ONE seems patient enough to put out quality work, your book will stand out if you take the time to do it right. (Tony McFadden)
As Fiona commented, "If you self-publish … you have to take responsibility for the finished product."