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What do German readers think of Independent (Indie) titles?


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Ersteintrag: 23.04.2011 00:10:36 GMT+02:00
Page Turner meint:
Hello,
Here in the U.S. there are 20,000 indie (independent) titles appearing per month. What's the German opinion on Indies? Do you read them, or do you prefer tradpubs (traditional publishers)? Here the debate is raging. Some readers love Indies, some hate them. I would love to know what you're thinking in Deutschland! Also does anyone have any statistics on Indie authors in Germany??
mfg,
JS

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 00:39:44 GMT+02:00
P. J. B. meint:
Hi,
Coming from Australia, I'd be interested in this as well. Kindle titles in the UK are apparently notoriously slow to sell and the same applies to Australia and yet the indie market is huge... Have e-readers taken off in Germany yet?
The Stumpwork Robe
The Last Stitch

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 10:44:36 GMT+02:00
Hi there,
I am a German who lives in Germany, and until the beginning of 2011 I was the only person far and wide to have an e-reader. I am sure this is going to change, though, with the i-pad gaining traction here and now Amazon offering Kindle books in German. I find that the perceived disadvantages of e-books tend to evaporate once you have tried them. I for one am not as attached to printed paper as I thought. Personally, I love independent titles (that's for English Indies, there is no Indie market to speak of in Germany). They are often very good, or at least interesting. If they aren't, you can throw them out. They are much cheaper than traditionally published books, which makes it more fun to shop around and take a look at new authors or new genres. I like Amazon's pricing policy, which is much more author-friendly as it cuts out most of the middlemen. I also like the fact that it is perfectly respectable to be the author of a self-published Kindle book, whereas German options like Books on Demand tend to be seen as a very embarrassing option of last resort for desperate authors who want to become famous with a locust cookbook or a dog horoscope guide or whatever. (And you thought Germans weren't eccentric? Think again! We just won't admit it. Probably we don't even notice.) I believe that there are a lot of unpublished manuscripts lying around on German desks. I know some Germans who spend an amazing amount of money on books, and over the long term they will find that e-books will give them more book for the buck. (I don't see myself sitting in a paperless library yet, but things are certainly headed in that direction.)
Keep up the good work!

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 11:24:29 GMT+02:00
P. J. B. meint:
Hi Jane Doe Lookalike
I love your thoughts. I'm the same with my Kindle. This time last year I was rampantly against getting one, then I cautiously read once I had one, now I find it a treasure at night when my eyes are tired and I can enlarge the text. Like you, I find GREAT indie authors I would never be able to find in stores and I find it rather like an Aladdin's Cave. And true, if you don't like the indie books you can either delete them off your e-reader or throw the print copy to the recycle bin as the price doesn't break the bank. But I'd venture to say there is still resistance, both in Australia and the UK, maybe even the USA, about an independently published author... as though we writers are rejects, second-rate and try-hard. The value of the increasing and spreading online and e-market is that we independent writers are gaining credibility. As with mainstream, there's always a bit of rubbish drifting around, but generally its a pretty good selection, isn't it?
And by the way, I still love my paper books and in fact if I find an e-book I read and enjoy and think I might read again, I actually purchase a print version if one's available.
Cheers.

The Stumpwork Robe
The Last Stitch

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 12:17:56 GMT+02:00
Prudence,
I thought I loved paper books, but when I started reading on the Kindle, I realized that I was just associating them with reading. I prefer ebooks because:

1. I can adjust the font.
2. When I want to carry a book with me, I can carry many books, and a dictionary.
3. I have limited storage space for books in my apartment. Now I can own as many books as I want.
4. I don't have to wait to have a book shipped. If I finish a book I like, I can buy another book by the author immediately.
5. It's environmentally friendly.

As an indie author, I also like them because people are actually reading The Enhancer.

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 14:33:49 GMT+02:00
Zuletzt vom Autor geändert am 02.05.2011 11:35:57 GMT+02:00
MaryPoppins meint:
- I do love my Kindle - but as an addition to my bookshelf. I resent having to pay almost the price of the hardback, when a paperback edition is already out. Plus, when I do not like the book, I can sell my paper copy and get some of the money back in to invest in new books. The ebook is mine to keep - or to delete *sigh*.
- I think that e-book-readers still have a long way to walk in Germany. Everyone I show my Kindle to is interested but says "Well. It's cool, BUT I want to OWN my books and display them in my living-room." Also people are pretty skeptical about reading on a screen - even after I explain the e-ink-display to them.
- Indie/self-published books for Kindle: The cheap prices and the broad selection are really attractive and I've read some rather nice examples so far, but I also have to say I see now clearly that an editor's job is not a superfluous one. Not only on the tiny scale (single words, errors etc.) but also concerning the big picture. Thus I am a little weary and buy the indie publication only, if a lot of readers reviewed it using more than a few gushy words and exclamation marks.

I forgot to mention: I am German and living in Germany, too. But I wouldn't have answered if it wasn't so. (And I am sure my mistakes give me away).

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 18:04:24 GMT+02:00
I held off buying a Kindle until last week, although I have been publishing books for the Kindle for over a year now. It is such a neat and tidy device, takes up so little space and yet can hold many books, while remembering the exact page you'd got to in each of them. In fact, I've been enjoying reading on the Kindle so much that I've only written about 500 words since I've had it.

With reference to the title of this thread, I am an independent author, being a retired teacher and technical writer, who now writes science fiction.

Wishing you all happy Kindle reading,
Peter

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 23.04.2011 18:18:26 GMT+02:00
Hi, Jane

I've looked into the German market, too and from what I've seen there are some big publishers (the usual big six) and some independet ones. Also the market is not overflodded with agents, which means authors still submit to the publishers directly. The majority though, self-publishes or falls for scams as everywhere in the world. My thoughts are like yours, in Germany, they will circumvent the massively competitve market with agents being the gatekeepers and just publish to kindle.

There are also little to none writing communities and those I've seen show some poems or rather embarrassing manuscripts, it seems that Germany is really behind on the market. Then again, it's just a fraction of the big English speaking market.

Thank you for your support of indie authors. We need it :-)

Stella
Excuse me, where is the exit?

Veröffentlicht am 23.04.2011 18:33:43 GMT+02:00
Jane Doe, many thanks for the feedback re the German perceptions which floored me. It seems like the market is just opening up. When/if I have any sales there, I'll be very interested in the feedback as compared to the US market.

Veröffentlicht am 24.04.2011 14:01:42 GMT+02:00
ghostlover meint:
J.S. - thank you for starting this thread. It's interesting to read the different perspectives and also the reasons why some readers are a little hesitant to buy indie authors' books. There is less "gate-keeping" for indie books as compared to traditionally published ones. And, MaryPoppins is right that this can lead to some books that have less than average editing. But, it also opens the door to authors who sell their books at a better price and who have chosen to publish "direct to market" rather than through traditional means. I would highly suggest that you read a sample of the e-book before you buy. This gives you an idea of the quality of story you are reading and the skill of the author.

I hope you enjoy this new option of indie e-book authors - I can tell you firsthand that we authors love new readers!

Terri Reid

Veröffentlicht am 24.04.2011 14:55:15 GMT+02:00
R. E. Conary meint:
Vielen Dank, J.S., for starting this thread and to Jane Doe for your comments. Kindle, iPad and other e-readers are making it possible for indie authors to reach the "real" marketplace -- readers -- directly without being hamstrung by the whims of agents, traditional publishers, critics and big-chain bookstores. Books and authors can rise and fall -- and they will -- on their own merits.

FYI: You can view larger samples (up to 50%) of many, if not most, of the indie books being offered on Kindle here at Smashwords.com.

Danke schön!

REC
'Life's a Bitch. So am I.' Rachel Cord, P.I. (EUR 2,01 -- Kindle)
Lifes a Bitch. So Am I.' Rachel Cord, P.I (EUR 10,99 -- paperback)
Hard-boiled detective Rachel Cord searches for a runaway teen and for answers as to why gay performers are being beaten at Miss Kitty's Kathouse Kabaret. Answers she may live to regret.

Veröffentlicht am 24.04.2011 21:47:36 GMT+02:00
Nell Gavin meint:
I think you're going to see more and more indie authors as traditionally published authors join our ranks (in droves!). It's a much better system for authors than the old "Big 6" model. I think it works out better for readers as well, because you don't have someone telling you what you can read. You have so much more to choose from, now. Writers are a creative bunch of people. There is a ton of choice, and a ton of great work out there! You have samples you can download before committing to the book. Everyone wins!

And the Kindle is a delight. I found out that it isn't the paper and the smell and the feel of the pages. It's the words. I read more now than I ever did.

Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn

Veröffentlicht am 24.04.2011 22:36:41 GMT+02:00
Joan Reeves meint:
Jane Doe Lookalike, hello from Texas!

I have questions regarding genre popularity. As a German reader, what do you see as the most popular genres? I write romance with a chick lit attitude, kind of like the Katherine Heigl movie The Ugly Truth. More specifically, I write funny, sexy romance novels. I'm wondering how popular this kind of romance novels are. For that matter, how popular is the romance genre in general?

Joan Reeves
The Trouble With Love (https://www.amazon.de/dp/B004WSQ94W)
Just One Look (https://www.amazon.de/dp/B004TSCOK8)

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 16:14:01 GMT+02:00
kete meint:
I'm not Jane Doe, but like to answer your question anyway, Joan. Romance and chick lit are more of a guilty pleasure over here. Here there's still a big difference between entertaining and serious aka thought-provoking and most popular genres are thought not to be literature at all. What you call indie authors is called BoD (book on demand) here and these are mostly exorbitantly expensive paper backs which are just not worth the paper they're printed on as they lack any editorial work whatsoever. As an early Kindle-adapter I'm quite used to the great pricing at amazon.com (99 cents, yay!) and download a lot of for me unknown writers for trial, but I would never ever buy an ugly paper back for 18 Euros.

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 16:23:51 GMT+02:00
Joan Reeves meint:
Kate, thank you for the thoughtful response. I agree with you in that I simply wouldn't buy an expensive paperback unless it was from an author I knew was worth the money. Most of the indie authors I personally know are like me, print-published by big NY publishers, and who are now publishing their backlist as ebooks. Some, again like me, are publishing original fiction that made the rounds of the editors but didn't succeed in capturing a print contract -- not because the books weren't good, but because they weren't perceived as marketable in the numbers big publishers must sell in order to be profitable.

This is why ebooks has been such a boon to established writers. We can now take excellent books and put them out there to find their audience. You'll also find writers who never had a print contract though they tried for years. If they're any good, and they have that storytelling ability, they'll do well as the ebook audience expands. A lot of people in their 20's aren't willing to spend years trying to break in. Ebooks gives them a sense of autonomy, and if they have anything going for them, they can publish and succeed.

Of course, a lot of these people would do well to learn the narrative skills necessary to create good fiction as well as grammar, but they eventually recognize the fact that they need to master the skills many of us take for granted because we've been doing this for so long.

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 16:51:26 GMT+02:00
Sunne meint:
First - how do I recognize an author as an Indie-author?

Second - I found with my kindle authors I've never heard about before and I love it!!!!
Really - the best thing is that you can read a sample of each book you're interested in and then decide if its worth the buy. So I found some very good authors. And some of them are really not expensive.

I can only speak for myself but I don't care if I have heard about someone before, I go with the suggestions amazon is giving me based on my other buys and read the reviews. Then I download a sample and decide after reading this if I want to continue with the book.

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 17:26:09 GMT+02:00
kete meint:
Joan, I don't think I would count print-published writers among the indie authors, even if they travel that path now.

I'm following Lee Goldberg's blog and have seen the whole development from first aversion to then enthusiastic embrace that print published authors have experienced regarding Kindle or - if you will - indie publishing, Joe Konrath's astounding success story and the latest switch of places re Amanda Hocking and Barry Eisler.

When you're print published, even if you're "just" a midlist author, you know the drill about correcting an editing etc. Moreover publishing your backlist on Kindle means you're publishing work that has undergone that process. These are books that were already out there in print and you're just making them available again - hopefully for a lower price than before so more readers will buy them, which will still make you more money than you probably got from your print deal. It's a win-win situation on both ends. And that's great!

But "real" indie-writers - hobbyists, if you will - are often just hacks. Some may have good ideas, but very many of them lack the skills to develop them and even if they can tell a story, there's often still the problem with the lacking grammar, orthography and punctuation. There are exceptions from the rule, of course. I've just inhaled the total work of John Locke and learned only afterwards that he's an indie-author. ;-)

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 17:46:59 GMT+02:00
[Von Amazon gelöscht am 05.10.2011 20:20:01 GMT+02:00]

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 17:52:51 GMT+02:00
Page Turner meint:
Hi Jane Doe,
I know here in the U.S. you can return a kindle book you don't like for a refund. I'm assuming that's the case for Germany too? I heard a statistic once that one out of every four books published in the world is published in the German language. I wonder if that was behind Amazon's decision to make the kindle titles available in Germany first after the U.S. and U.K. because Germans are such huge readers... Can I ask what you read your books on? You mentioned the i-pad. Do you know if Amazon.de is making it possible to read ebooks on ereaders like the OYO from Buchhandlung Thalia?
Viele Gruesse,
JS

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 17:54:11 GMT+02:00
Page Turner meint:
And Jane Doe, where did you learn your English? If you hadn't said you're German, I would have assumed you're American...

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 18:01:13 GMT+02:00
A quick explanation re indie authors:

If you are self-published, you are an independent author.
If you published with a small independent publisher, which in the UK/US means not with one of the big six like Harper Collins, Penguin, Little Brown, etc. you are also an indie author, but your publisher will usually do the editing, cover, advertising.

You usually can find this information by looking at who the publisher is. If you google that name and there's a proper registered website with many different books and many different authors, then you are probably dealing with an independent small press.

It's very confusing for one who's not familar with this industry. It's just a guideline, because many indie authors, those without a publishing house behind them, fill in 'fantasyname' publishing where otherwise would appear Penguin.

I guess the best thing is, as said before, to sample the book and when it's appealing, then buy it.

Hope this helps.

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 18:07:04 GMT+02:00
'But "real" indie-writers - hobbyists, if you will - are often just hacks. Some may have good ideas, but very many of them lack the skills to develop them and even if they can tell a story, there's often still the problem with the lacking grammar, orthography and punctuation. There are exceptions from the rule, of course. I've just inhaled the total work of John Locke and learned only afterwards that he's an indie-author. ;-)'

This is not true anymore. You will find a lot of people who are actually prefering indie authors to traditionally published books. To call indie authors hobbyist is a bit harsh. I personally take my writing very seriously and work hard, so do others. It's those who couldn't care less who have the hard working ones fighting against this stigma.

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 26.04.2011 18:09:35 GMT+02:00
Page Turner meint:
Hi Kete,
It's an interesting question about how to classify authors who were previously print-published. I'd call them Indie-plus!
And there is a whole army of writing professionals out there backing up the Indies by editing and formatting their works before they go live on kindle. Some of these professionals work on the side for the tradpubs. I used to work for a large (German) publishing holding company. I remember delivering a package to one of the well-known holdings and interrupting one of the secretaries there who was editing a manuscript. She was extremely capable and intelligent and professional, but she was not an editor. We assume every book published by a traditional publisher gets the same attention a best-seller gets, and I don't think that's true. At the tradpubs there's not a lot of room for variety. It seems like it's got to be all vampires or nothing, or whatever the next thing is that sells. Now there is incredible variety, but I agree that sometimes it's hard to find in a jungle of titles where the quality can be uneven. It's great to remember a book can be returned for a refund (I know that's true here in the U.S., and I'm assuming that's got to be the case in Germany).

Viele Gruesse,
J. S.

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 19:23:46 GMT+02:00
Joan Reeves meint:
kete: I agree with everything you said. Unfortunately, if you're publishing ebooks yourself, you get lumped in with all the "hobbyists." There is no certification process to distinguish you, the formerly print published, from the horde of computer owners who are putting books out simply because they can.

J. S. Laurenz: I like your Indie Plus label. *g*

Of course, there are indie authors like John Locke and others who never had a book contract who are publishing and doing quite well because they actually know how to write, and they have their work edited.

There are a lot of layers to this onion.

Veröffentlicht am 26.04.2011 19:27:39 GMT+02:00
Joan Reeves meint:
Stella Deleuze meint: "If you published with a small independent publisher, which in the UK/US means not with one of the big six like Harper Collins, Penguin, Little Brown, etc. you are also an indie author, but your publisher will usually do the editing, cover, advertising."

I must respectfully disagree. If you are published with a small independent publisher, you are then published by a small press. You are NOT an indie author. The difference lies in whether you get a royalty contract. Publishers contract work. Independent authors may contract part of the writing and publishing process, but they essentially control all aspects of the writing and publishing. That's what makes them an indie author whether they are publishing print books or ebooks.
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