Sunday, December 23, 2012

Irking things

I was going to write happy, sunshiny, Happy Holidays type post today, but something is irking me... So the Happy Holidays stuff is just going to have to wait while I get this off my chest.

Recently, I've been reading a lot of self published books.  In fact, since I got my Kindle earlier this year, I think 90% of the books I've read on it are self-published.  I love that authors have this option now, and that some seem to be doing so well at it.

But, in so many cases, the books are not ready to be published.  I've read three in a row now that had so many spelling, grammar and syntax mistakes in them that I felt like getting out my red pen and marking down corrections.  In one of them, the exact same scene was repeated twice, about 6 chapters apart.

This is just sloppy.  If you're going to put your work out there and charge people to read it, you have to have had your book properly edited.  Or at the very least, copy edited.  Or read through it before you hit 'post' or whatever you do you load an e-book onto Amazon.  It makes me angry when I  read a book that's riddled with very basic errors.  And it pulls me out of the story every time I find one.

You don't want that to happen.

Now this isn't every self-published book by a long run. I've read some wonderful ones, some better than the traditionally published books I've read.  But it does seem to be a lot of them.

Self-publishing shouldn't be a last ditch option for that book you've queried 300 times and got nothing but rejections for.  It shouldn't be something you dash off quickly and throw up to earn a little extra cash.  If you're going to self-publish, think hard about why you're doing it.  And take the time to make sure the product you're selling is worth spending money on.

The more sloppily edited, badly written books that end up on the market, the less likely people will be to take a risk on another self-pubbed author.  And there are so many wonderful ones out there, it would be a shame if they lost readers because other writers let the team down.

Have you come across very badly edited self-pubbed books?  How did it make you feel?


  1. I read a couple of poorly edited self pubbed books in a row too. Nothing as bad as having the same scene twice, but still things that pulled me out of the story. I'm self published and use an editor, but I think a lot of people don't, because it's costly and it takes a loooong time to see a return on the investment. I'm both a writer and a book reviewer, so I see both sides. That being said, as a writer, I'm looking to grow a strong platform of loyal fans. I'm willing to spend the money today with the understanding it will take me about five years to profit.

  2. The same scene twice? Yikes. I guess being able to call themselves a "published author" means more to some people than the self-respect of doing something well. Finding a crit group on the net is so easy, it really surprises me some can't even take the time to do that simple and helpful step, which would solve many of their copy-edit problems. Ah, well...

  3. It's so important to have your book edited, whether you go the traditional or self-published route. And no I'm not just saying that because I'm a freelance editor. Mistakes will take away from a great story, and you don't want to lose readers because of them.

  4. I haven't really dived into the self-pubbing market yet as a reader (my TBR list is so long). But I did read one self-pubbed author's sample chapter, which he was heavily promoting, and what I saw really scared me. I think it's great that self-pubbing is gaining more respect in the writing community, but it won't stay that way if the writing sins I saw in just those few paragraphs make up a big chunk of self-pubbed books. Since I'm considering self-pubbing (but haven't yet because I KNOW my book still has at least one more revision to go), it's an important issue for me.

    1. That's what's holding me back from doing it too... I know I need an editor, and I can't afford to hire a good one.

  5. I'd have to agree with Kristin. I'd love to try self-publishing, but until I get the money to hire a professional editor, it probably won't happen.

  6. I treated myself to a Kindle as a sort of empty-nest gift and decided to use it for trying new authors out (both indie and authors who are "new to me"). I still plan on getting hard covers from my fave authors. Anyway, yes, seeing all the bad editing is a real turn-off. I'm beginning to wrap my brain around how to professionally publish my own work myself, and I do believe I'll want both a copy editor and proofreader to take a whack at my stuff before I put it out there. How can any self-respecting writer *not* do everything possible to insure publishing a quality book?
    Some Dark Romantic