Quality

There is nearly no barrier to entry when it comes to publishing ebooks. Anyone can do it. That’s the great thing about the publishing world we live in. If you have ideas or stories, you have platforms from which you can share them with the world.

Write good books. Write books that people will read and feel good about having purchased. eBook transactions should be mutually beneficial. A reader gives you money (a fair price that you set and are, presumably, content with) in exchange for whatever it is that your book promises—entertainment, information, distraction, hope, etc. If either party is dissatisfied, things break down. It is very important that you, the author, deliver on your promise of quality.

This is even more important when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Digital self publishing is still a relatively young development, and it’s gotten a bad name in some circles. I read a blog post the other day by an author who said that she will never read a self-published book. I’ve often read book reviews by people who are shocked that the self-published book in question was actually good, as though self-published books were widely understood to be terrible by default, and somehow the author of the particular book in question managed to bravely rise above those regrettable circumstances. Don’t add to this commonly held view (that is, the inferiority of self-published books) by producing books that reinforce the stereotype.

And don’t pretend to be something you’re not. To be more specific, don’t pretend to be an expert when you’re not one. Readers will see right through it and leave you scathing reviews. I once came across a free ebook about rock climbing. I’m an avid rock climber, so I downloaded the book and took a look at it. It was terrible. Much of the information in it was wrong, outdated, or downright dangerous. Some passages struck me as being worded very oddly, so I Googled a couple of the sentences and found that they had been copied word-for-word—plagiarized—from some way old and outdated website. You can guess the kind of review I left, and I doubt that anyone downloaded or bought that book ever again. I recently tried to find that book on Amazon and saw that it had been removed. Good riddance.

Last year I remember seeing a free Kindle book for skydivers that was all about how to pack your parachute. Yikes. Talk about a topic that you want to learn from an expert about. But nowhere in the sales copy of that book was the author’s experience mentioned. I don’t know if the author of that book had thousands of jumps under his belt or if he was some punk kid in Bangladesh trying to make a quick buck by throwing together a handful of $2 articles. I really, really hope it was the former.

If you’re going to spend time and energy on writing a book, you might as well make it a good one. No one benefits in the end from a crappy book. Your time will have been wasted, and your readers will have felt cheated. Don’t write ebooks to make a quick buck. It won’t happen. Make it a goal to increase the amount of good information in the world, to enhance humanity’s collective knowledge or experience, and not to game the Amazon system or trick people into parting with their hard-earned $2.99.

In short, write the kind of book that you would buy and like to read if you were the book’s target reader.

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