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Book Related Banter > Clearly needed advice for self-published authors

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message 1: by Dorie (new)

Dorie (dorieann) As someone who once enjoyed writing stories, I have a ton of respect for anyone who not only has the perseverance to actually complete a novel, but also the courage to put it out in the world in any form to be read and critiqued. That said, I would just like to make a couple of suggestions to correct things that have bugged the crap out of me lately:

1. If your short book description contains obvious misspellings or grammatical errors, you’ve lost a sale right there. I don’t even care if it’s free, I’m not reading it.

2. Please for the Love of God don’t have your characters roll their eyes every other page. This is an obvious sign of immature and lazy writing and I will likely throw your book clear across the room and never pick it up again.

Thank you for listening.


message 2: by Katrina (last edited Jun 07, 2012 06:05PM) (new)

Katrina Passick Lumsden (shutterbird13) | 5 comments Dorie wrote: "As someone who once enjoyed writing stories, I have a ton of respect for anyone who not only has the perseverance to actually complete a novel, but also the courage to put it out in the world in an..."

I really don't think I could agree with you more. I'm sick and tired of lazy writing and obvious grammatical mistakes. Some of the self-published books I've read are so bad merely because the author apparently couldn't be bothered to polish it up a bit before throwing it out to the rest of us. When I pay for a book that reads like it was written by a drunk nine-year-old, it does nothing to endear me to the actual story.

Sadly, while some books suffer from nothing more than sloppy writing and laziness, still others suffer from being written by someone who apparently doesn't have the greatest grasp on English grammar or composition.

Case in point; http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I'm a little embarrassed to be touting my own review, but I added a lot of the extremely bad writing I found in that book. The author is supposedly a well-educated person. How she got away with writing like this in college is beyond me.


message 3: by Dorie (new)

Dorie (dorieann) Gee, that’s some truly cringe-worthy writing you’ve quoted there, Katrina. You have my sympathy. I just finished a frustrating book where two mature and tough FBI men were rolling their eyes every other page. It was annoying, distracting, and obviously written by a young woman who thought this was a clever character trait. I also had a problem with the narrative itself. The viewpoint was constantly shifting, sometimes within the same paragraph. And this is from a successful series that has all kinds of rave reviews! Have readers expectations really sunk so low?

I think attention to detail and taking care with the presentation of the story shows the author’s ambition. Either they want to begin a writing career, or they are just trying to make a couple of quick and easy bucks. I applaud and will heartily support the former, and hope to avoid the product of the latter.


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen (jenlb) | 50 comments I would also suggest that it's helpful to understand the difference between there, their, and they're. It's one of the most common mistakes that I've seen, and it certainly takes me right out of the book when I run across it. It is sad when an author has a good concept, a decent sense of character/plot etc., and the book becomes unreadable because of carelessness.


message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 72 comments Eye-rolling itself doesn't bother me, but I hate it when a writer gets a 'clever quirk' in their head. One book I read used the phrase 'pregnant pause' so often I began to think the author was trying to get it into every chapter as some sort of bet. Probably worth mentioning that this wasn't even a self-published book.

Any variant on the phrase 'executed a perfect double take' is also a pet peeve. A double take is an almost entirely visual gag, it just doesn't work in print.


message 6: by Sadie (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 32 comments Katrina wrote: "Dorie wrote: "As someone who once enjoyed writing stories, I have a ton of respect for anyone who not only has the perseverance to actually complete a novel, but also the courage to put it out in t..."

That grammar is pretty bad. How did the grammar check not flag some it? If it did and she ignored it the shaming is probably deserved. But, while that review is hilarious, I would CRY, SOB, BAWL if I was the author.

Eye-rolling itself doesn't really bother me, but repeated eye-rolling (or anything else) would get on my nerves eventually. On the point of errors in the description...absolutely agree.


message 7: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 72 comments Easier said than done at the best of times, let alone when you write like a 'drunk nine year old' (brilliant image!)...


message 8: by Cathy (last edited Jun 20, 2012 09:39AM) (new)

Cathy | 42 comments The grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors are bad, but also -- think about how people actually talk and behave. Consider whether your plot makes sense, and whether it's a carbon copy of other plots. If you have a pet hobbyhorse, don't ride it all over your novel (unless your pet hobbyhorse is crazy-entertaining, like Roy Orbison in clingfilm). If you're going to set your book in another time or culture, do some freaking research -- don't have your Victorian British sleuth saying "yeah" and "feets, don't fail me now!" (Actually, that example is from a traditionally published novel, God help us).

So far, I think I've only read one self-published novel that didn't seem unredeemably bad to me.


message 9: by Ginger (last edited Jun 13, 2012 04:31PM) (new)

Ginger Myrick (gingermyrick) | 39 comments All of your comments are valid except for the assumption that they apply to EVERY self-published novel. I am not offended by your attitudes. In fact, I agree with most of what you are saying. I am a self-published writer who is also upset at the current state of the industry. Because it is so easy to upload a book these days, and the market is flooded with substandard writing, people are hesitant to take a chance on a new author regardless of her potential. As a result, many of us are suffering. I am not one to toot my own horn, but I daresay that my book is as well edited as most from a traditional publisher (although I did notice that after my most recent upload, there was a spacing issue around a comma in the first chapter, and now I will have to go through the thing ANOTHER time...sigh.) And there are many more in the same boat. We as readers just have to root them out. I also think that the free preview on the 'click to look inside' function at Amazon is extremely helpful in this regard. It gives a decent idea of what to expect. For my book, they have made first six chapters available for preview.

(And, no, this wasn't just a sorry attempt to get you all to check out my book. It has other issues that make it difficult to market. It is over 500 pages in a setting that is out of the norm for historical fiction. It would be a hard sell even for a traditional publisher!)


message 10: by Henry (new)

Henry Martin (henrymartin) | 38 comments J.B. wrote: "There's good writers and bad writers, and not all of them write independently. That's why it's up to each of us to provide honest and concise reviews of their work.
"


This is exactly the point I've been trying to make in several discussions here. While poor writing is not excusable, the reader who encounters it should make it a point to mention this in his or her review. Unfortunately, there are authors who fight every negative review they receive, which is unacceptable.


message 11: by Lara (new)

Lara Zuberi (larazuberi) | 12 comments I see both sides. I agree that this new self publishing option has compromised quality because there are no prerequisites, and apparently a lot of people like to just write books as some by-the-way hobby.
As a self-published author myself, I think it's unfair to have a preconceived notion about these books. The trouble with traditional publishing is the time it takes without a guarantee for publication. I sometimes regret self-publishing for the above reasons, but I had spent two years writing the book, and could not have spent another two just building a library of rejections from literary agents. I really wish that either agents and publishers were more willing to at least read manuscripts by new authors, or that there was some mechanism to hinder self-publishing if it was sub-standard.
I completely agree with professional editing regardless, because even though it hurts when your words are killed, editors have an eye that looks at a manuscript from a viewpoint that the writer is simply blind to.


message 12: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Ferrante (bonnieferrante) Dorie wrote: "As someone who once enjoyed writing stories, I have a ton of respect for anyone who not only has the perseverance to actually complete a novel, but also the courage to put it out in the world in an..."

LOL. I hear you. I only finish about one out of every 15 free books I download.


message 13: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Ferrante (bonnieferrante) Jen wrote: "I would also suggest that it's helpful to understand the difference between there, their, and they're. It's one of the most common mistakes that I've seen, and it certainly takes me right out of t..."

Or peek, peak, and pique.


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