Tuesday, January 29, 2013
A Self-Publishing Rant
Here I go again. I am going to talk about self-publishing. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for it. But, as I continue to read books for review, I become more and more discouraged about the quality of what is being produced. It is not just about spelling and grammar, although these things are important. The writing is appalling, the plots poorly thought through, the characters zero-dimensional. I have no objection to people writing whatever they want to write, however they want to write it. What I do object to is that these pieces of writing, which are not yet close to being ready for publication, are given five star reviews. The authors often claim that the book has been through the process of editing. If this is true, there are some very dishonest and/or incompetent editors out there.
I don’t want to discourage people from writing. But I do want to encourage people to take some pride in what they are doing. I seriously doubt, sometimes, whether the author has even bothered to scan their own work, let alone undertake any serious editing/proofreading, or get anyone else to do it for them. How can someone use modern terminology, such as: “24/7”, “suss”, “upbeat”, “legit”, and “dweeb”, in a story set at the end of the nineteenth century? How can they speak of “super glue” and “endorphins”? Ok, let’s grant that an author may make these kinds of mistakes. But what kind of editor would fail to point them out?
People seem to be in too much of a hurry to publish. They want to take short cuts. They are unwilling to undertake the hard slog that writing actually involves. I know I make mistakes. I know that there are almost certainly still some undetected errors in my work. But I care that they are there; and I will correct them as soon as I find out about them. If we want self-publishing to be taken seriously, we will make the effort and do the work.