When you look for a book, do you want something popular? Do you want to read all the latest and coolest stories? Or do you want something that pushes the boundaries?
If you translated your buying experience with SP (self-published books) versus TP (traditionally-published books), you might say that TP books are like major brands purchased at a national chain store, such as Cheerios. Conversely, SP books are like a farmer’s market bag of organic rolled oats. Both have their benefits and their drawbacks. Which cereal would you choose?
There are several things to consider when choosing whether to pick a TP book or go indie:
Are you a stickler for grammar, punctuation and spelling? You do have a better chance of reading correct writing in a TP book, simply because it’s guaranteed professional. Publishers have editors on staff, SP authors may or may not. If your skin crawls and you develop hives when reading incorrect writing, you may want to go TP.
Do you want to hear the author’s true voice? You may get this in a TP book, but usually you get a filtered version of it. A TP work is edited for correctness, but also to adhere to goals set by the publisher for content, including length. Some authors become outraged by the changes made to their work by editors. If you care about hearing the author’s true voice, you may want to read SP books.
Do you prefer the popular genres that stick to certain subjects, or do you like surprising variety? Marketing within genre guidelines is a big part of the TP industry. With a SP book you get a pure idea that hasn’t been screened or adjusted to fit a certain market section. Many SP books were just too off-genre to get accepted by a TP. Are you still interested in the book if it doesn’t fit the TP market?
Do you consider a popular book to be worth more money than an unknown, or are you a bargain hunter? Though you get the same volume of content, a TP book is priced based on market standards to get the most money out of your pocket possible. They are all priced that way. Conversely the SP market is full of free or nearly-free books. Some authors just want their books read and they definitely aren’t trying to pay marketing departments, managers, agents, or other staff that a publishing company does.
I read it all as long as the synopsis catches my attention. I find I get just as many awesome reads with both types, as well as the same amount of stinkers. What do you choose?