I told my fiance today that if I ever get another cat (If my 13-year old cat ever dissolves into an angry cloud of swirling, bitter, dust) that I want to name it Gozer (The Gozerian).
Go get her, Ray!
I think this scene brings up a good point for indie authors (see how I worked that in, there?)
I mean, there is a Gatekeeper and a Keymaster (There is no Dana, there is only Zuul!). Obviously, the publishers would be the Gatekeeper (though for digital books I would say that is changing to Amazon and a lagging B&N), but who would be the Keymaster? I'd be inclined to say the readers, as they are the end users of the product - but the more I think about it, the more I think it might be the authors themselves...
Think about it. If an author picks a lame cover, a boring title and puts out a product riddled with errors, people just won't want that product. You can give away crap (sometimes) but people want a good product and they want it affordable. Too inexpensive... and they worry about the quality. Too expensive... and they bypass it via the "this does not meet my impulse buy threshold requirements". In this blooming digital era, the Indie Authors really hold all the Keys they need to be successful.
Does your cover suck? Change it. Title not catchy? Tweak it. Priced too high? Lower it. Priced too low? Raise it. Manuscript errors? Correct it. Story shoddy? Remove it.
All of these changes can be enacted within 24 hours... some within only a few minutes! That seems like a pretty heavy keyring to me. Putting out a product that we can't be proud of - that is every author's personal Gozer (the Gozerian). WE can choose the form of the Destructor!... and it doesn't even have to be a giant marshmallow man (coughMichelinmancough). It just has to be laziness or incompetence. Both of these can be overcome by acting, learning, or hiring someone to do it for you!
My cousin recently sent me her manuscript and BEGGED me to read it. Great! She's interesting, fun to talk to, so I agreed. I received a copy that another (possibly more than one person) had already interjected about a million comments into via the Word comment tool. After 20 seconds I had a headache and couldn't read it. I have to request a "clean" copy.
Ask yourself: Is my manuscript clean? Does it read well? Did somebod(ies) check my grammar/punctuation? Is my voice unique and representative of me?
Kindles aren't that expensive anymore (especially compared to when I bought mine) *coughearlyadoptercough* I would ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND (Pay attention now, I just used caps for TWO WORDS in a row!) buying one and testing your file out on it before you release it.
I was having crazy and infuriating spacing errors with my document when I first started. Random paragraphs would be completely tabbed-indented in a big square with no idea where they start or end. There were ridiculous spaces between certain words, etc. I poked about the interwebs for about half an hour (acted, learned) and now my document looks quite clean and understandable. I even learned how to make a linked ToC (that even connects to the ToC function on the Kindle).
My mother-in-law-to-be got a Nook Color for Christmas. Before I release my book to PubIt, do you know where I'll be? (Hint: At her house checking my file!)
So Indie Authors: Master your Keys and Go Get Her, Ray!
And remember: If anyone asks you if you're a god... you say YES!