That about sums it up. Whether you wish to self pub a novel or a short is of no consequence here. (In fact, as a point of interest I looked into what the minimum word count that Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is, and couldn't find one, but that is an aside)
Story. Okay, now I'm not about to tell anyone anything about the quality of their work. I'm not here to do that.
But you'll hurt yourself in the long term if you self publish what the mainstream decide as 'garbage'.
Real Amazon reviews on fictional works:
"the only mention of the developing world is so racist you have to suppress all memory of it if you want to continue"
"Only got past the first chapter and then deleted it"
"This crude, pathetic, unknowledgable load of rubbish should never have been published in any format!"
If you see too many of these, it can't be good for the book. Fine. But longer term, as a writer, do you want to be tarnished with that sort of reputation? Trying to part people from their hard earned cash is tough at the best of times, but if you're labeled as a bad writer, people won't be forgiving.
People also have long memories.
So do publishers. If in the future you want to get picked up by a publisher or press, having the memory of an awful work in the background isn't going to help.
So, how do we avoid this?
Whether someone likes your story or not is a very personal thing, so I'm not really going to mention that. Just make sure it is a story worth telling.
No, I'm going to bang on about other things.
Like grammar. I know, it's a horrible word. Truly, it's a horrible thing, and one of my personal problems. See, I'm rubbish at grammar. I can't even spot I'm wrong.
Thing is, neither can most people.
It might not be grammar, per se, but spelling or incorrect word usage. You can't trust a spell checker. Sure run the spell checker over it, but pay firm attention to what it wants to change - it isn't always right - and it won't see incorrect word usage. Only people can do that.
Find people to read it, proof it, edit it. As many as you can. They'll find some problems. And they won't be the same.
Use a piece of reading software - like Text Aloud - and listen to your work. You hear things that you didn't see.
Ack! Read it aloud. To yourself. When there's no one there. Do it slowly. As slowly and as carefully as you can.
Each of these things will help the final piece to be the best it can.
Next time, I'll begin with my expecedt three part offering on covers...