Are Amazon’s systems ruining self-publishing?


First up, I’d just like to sate that his is not a diss of the self-publishing industry (OR anyone I have read recently or otherwise who self published)

However I’ve been reviewing for almost ten years now and I have noticed a difference in quality of self published work from when I started. When I first sampled indie works I tended to find them refreshingly original, works of passion that tended not to conform to marketable standards. Sure there were a few odd ball reads, but overall the quality was high.

Of late I’ve been struggling to find works of equal measure (again I do have quite a few on the ‘to read’ I’m not hassling people I’ve connected with lately) or at least have been coming across published works that induce cringing rather than interest.

In asking around forums and whatnot it’s become apparent this isn’t just my experience. Something I was unaware of (and I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong) is that Amazon, probably the host of the majority of e-self-publishing, has an algorithm for displaying titles that favours publications within the last month – although as I write this I realize this may not be a specific time-frame set by Amazon but a natural effect of the classification of ‘new’ in their lists.

Anyway the point is, to my great shock, I read that indie authors basically now have to ‘publish or perish’ producing work monthly just to keep material in the public eye. My shock arose because even some of the trashiest formulaic traditional published series typically takes 12 months. I honestly cannot reconcile the idea of maintaining quality with such speedy turnaround.

So as I said this isn’t a criticism of indie authors or their work exactly, but an observation of the current system and how it’s influencing the market. Indie authors seem to be getting rewarded for quantity over quality, which not only creates a similar market but I imagine can only lead to burn-out and misery.

What are your thoughts on the self-publishing situation at the moment, am I exaggerating? Are there any folk out there willing to lend their voice to the experience of self-publishing?


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