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.


  1. Yes, I agree totally! I feel that our culture of "now", tweet this, tweet that, stick this on Facebook, does not encourage detailed thought or the repercussions on how text may be misunderstood; and how poor work can brand the writer. I feel we have to see our writing as "a product" - we are trying to sell and promote our
    brand and it needs to be as perfect as we can make it. Good editing is a must! (and not just your Mum).

  2. Hear, Hear!
    It is discouraging to see an attractively packaged book, with a great front cover and blurb, spoiled by careless writing and editing. Unfortunately, a 'blot' on a printed page is there forever more.

  3. Most people who claim that they are writers lack certain skills, overlook errors that can be spotted easily, and rush the publishing process.

    Recently, I read a book that was riddled with editing errors and ended up editing the book for the author for free! There were over 60 errors in about 300 pages. This is a high percentage!

    It particularly disgusts me when I visit websites of writers and find typos or grammatical errors within the first two paragraphs I read.

    Editing should not be done by only one person. Hiring a professional editor (or even getting someone proficient in the language) is necessary!

    1. Crossing my fingers that there aren't too many errors throughout my blogs.