Time after time I answer polls on Goodreads. A few days ago there was one that made me think. In the past years everyone talked about publishing. Arguments went back and forth how the publishers should react to the changes of the industry. Publishers criticized the indie authors, indie authors said nasty things about publishers. Everyone seemed to have their own opinion what and how has to be done. But what the readers think? Do they find this fuzz about the publishing important?
The poll had more than 193 thousand votes at that time, so we can say that there was a weight of reader opinion behind it.
What I gathered is…
Readers don’t care about publishers
98.8 % of readers said that they didn’t care about publishers, didn’t find it important or simply never noticed who published the book. I was surprised seeing this percentage. I voted for the first answer, but assumed that other people might be more aware of the publisher. It doesn’t seem to be the case. 15.6 % noticed the publisher, but they were still in the bucket not finding it very important.
Readers doesn’t support indie authors just for the sake of support
The group dedicated to support indie authors is very small, and I suspect that most of them are indies themselves. It’s OK, because here we are talking only about the people who buy books in order to support indie authors. In my opinion it’s not a mainstream reader behaviour, and it doesn’t say anything about how successful a well written indie book is.
Readers care about good books
It doesn’t matter if a book was published by one of the Big Five or by the author herself. People read, like and talk about good books. I have never came across a review which gave five stars because the book was published by a particular publishing house. The stars go to the well written story.
I want to make something clear. Being under the wings of a big publisher does have effect on the success of a book. Publishers have editors and proofreaders and cover designers, all the staff needed to make a book look professional. Their products aren’t full of typos and grammatical errors, they do their job well. Among the books published by indie authors you can find more which didn’t receive the care it should have. More and more indies hire editors and cover designers, and their book reaches the professional level, but they have to put additional resources in it besides writing that damn good book.
This being said, it still stands that readers want good stories. The word goes around and books become success whether they are self-published or otherwise. Readers are in for the enjoyment, and they pay little attention to the publisher. They only want to be entertained.