Indie Books – Part II

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The comments on my post “Rotten Tomatoes for Indie books” were both entertaining and informative.

 “I never know if my reaction is because I am reading out of my genre comfort zone, or whether a book is as dire as it feels. I often buy, but get no further than one chapter in.”

Nailed it! I dragged myself through some books as well. I even tried once to beta read an Indie book, and I could not make it over the first two chapters. The writing killed my imagination and any good intention I had and finally, I gave in and admitted that I could not do it. “Sorry, I can’t find the time,” I said, instead of telling the truth, “I am sorry, but that’s really bad.”

Blogging politics, somehow I got drawn into it, even though I promised myself I never would. What if I like the person, but not the way they write? Well, that’s a real problem and a predicament.

Reading out of my genre, I have done that as well. Why in the world would I want to read a book about somebody building a treehouse in the woods, if I don’t care about treehouses in the first place?

On the other hand, good writing and a good storyline will make me read out of my genre. I thought I don’t like fantasy books, until I fell in love with the ones we all know so well.

“Trying to read some – most – of the self-published books I have attempted has left me with a bad taste in my head. Or whatever. I became bored with reading. A relative texted an excerpt from “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” that she enjoyed. I had never read that novel- not my usual type of novel to curl up with- but promptly went to the local library to check it out. What a difference a well-written book can make. The thrill is back. Yesterday I went to our local Barnes and Noble and bought a brand new book for myself and my wife.”

Is it a cruel judgment, or an honest one? I don’t think it’s cruel at all, it’s honest indeed. I too felt often boredom while reading self-published books. I dragged myself from chapter to chapter, without any excitement. Reading -and finishing a book- became a chore. I thought I had lost my love for books, but the love came back the moment I read one that had been edited and published by a publishing house.

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What I learned now is rather simple. Indie writers love their books; the readers not so much. Some, mostly the writers of self-published books, will say I am cruel and I suppose the truth sometimes is. Perhaps Indie writers have been cruel to us -the readers? I am writing this to let readers know, it’s alright to have a higher standard at times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I agree with every word. From the depression at the deplorable standard of so many self–published works (and the ritual patting self on back for the effort) to the horrible culture of you scratch and I’ll scratch yours. The standard of most of the work I have read is pretty diabolical. It is a horrible by-product of social media that all of a sudden everyone is a writer or an artist. 

WordPress is an Indie book platform, and it is used -and abused- as such and that’s alright, as long as we know that there is a lot of BACKSCRATCHING going on. Book review after book review – one better than the other.Then there are the interviews, what a brilliant idea. One self-published writer interviews the other, and they glorify each other’s self-published books.

The reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are a problem as well. They are delusional and over the top and in most cases (if not all) not honest. If one star is the worst and five stars is the highest rating, it’s pretty self-explaining that most of the 5-star ratings of Indie books are given as a gift -not as a rating.

This is my rating system:

1 Star – Didn’t like it  = Horrible book, terrible writing -waste of time and money.
2 Stars – It was just ok = Not really impressed. I read the book and it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good either. I was glad when I made it through.
3 Stars – Liked it =  Decent, nice and readable, pleasant in a mild sort of way. Not super remarkable, but it was a good read. This should be the most used!
4 Stars – Really liked it = Very good book. I really enjoyed reading it, good characters and story. Not life-changing, but good entertainment.

5 Stars – It was amazing = I loved it and it has something to offer that makes it stand out over other great reads. The book caught my imagination and led me on an excellent journey, kept thinking about it when I was not reading it. Want to buy it 10 times and give to my friends. Would read it again.

Giving 4 and 5-star ratings to every self-published book out there is misleading and cruel.
And now I am going to order “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” because fall is coming and I need a few more good books on my nightstand.


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13 thoughts on “Indie Books – Part II

      • How U find is to check the reviews. The good ones will have a lot of 4/5 star reviews. I read both good and bad ones, cover will often clue. I just turn down an offer for a free book for a review, mainly that I didn’t have time to read for a helpful review. Many of these books have no idea of the or it the ways and means of reviewing. I had some odd requests some want the “moon” for the review.

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        • I strongly disagree. The most 4 and 5 star ratings for indie books are given by follow indie book writers. People don’t understand the rating system anymore -that’s the main problem. Rarely should a book get 5 stars and seldom 4 stars -for being outstanding.


  1. I would probably never expect an indie book to become a classic, I guess, based on what you’ve said here. That’s fine, because I am now spending a lot of my time reading classics, both older and newer. I also lead a book group on that subject, the definition of which I am trying to establish and will consider your comments re indies in doing that. So, thanks!

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  2. Thank you – interesting feedback on your first post and well summarised. I have to say that I have read some really entertaining and/or informative books by Indie authors, BUT they are seriously outnumbered by the other sort and life is too short, and there are too many good, well-published books to spend the hours required on most of the Indies. Having said that, most authors start out with a lot to learn and need encouragement to reach a decent, readable level. I still feel guilty about being too severe with the draft of a friend’s novel. The important word here is draft – that’s where most of these books should remain until they are OKed by professionals in the field. I also feel embarrassed writing this as my second and third novels were self-published and my first was published by a small firm and has vast numbers of errors.


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