Lately I have been receiving e-mails from authors requesting that I review their books.
Sounds good so far…free books.
But let’s look at the last three books that have come my way.
Corpalism by Arun D Ellis: The first two parts of the book were wordy, with too much exposition and seemingly unrelated to each other. There were too many to note, but the book was full of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. And yet there was underneath it all the possibility of a story that could become something. Part three logically for this reader was going to be where the melding of the previous parts would occur and thus draw the story together. Nope. Nyet. No way Jose.
Well…I have no answer for just how bad this piece of writing got !!!
I wanted this book to work…because the subject matter is relevant to today’s society. In the end though I couldn’t finish it as got mired down in a soup of self indulgent, incoherent storytelling that made no sense at all.
I decided to contact the writer and inform him that I could not write a review for this book to display on my blog. There was no way this book was ready for the public arena. One small problem though…the book was already published.
Curious as to how others perceived the book off I went to Goodreads. The publicity blurb had me believing this was the novel of the year.
Book 2: I actually liked this one. It needs tweaking in a few places (in my opinion) but has the possibility to do well with the demographic it is aimed at. But oh…the mistakes that were littered throughout. I am a bit pedantic when it comes to books with spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. I hate it. Now I know that it occurs. In a book that has 100,000 plus words an error or two will slip past. So again I contacted the author. What did the author do…he sent it BACK to the proofreader.
Who is this proofreader ???
Why are they NOT doing their job ???
I am assuming they got paid a bucket-load for their services.
At least this one hasn’t been published in this state. Because I believe that this one could do well. I also believe if a book is published before it is ready it will not ever recover from that.
Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker.
Picture this. Opening the first page on my computer what do I see ??? The book cover, the title page. All good. The table of contents tells me there are nine chapters.
Tap…Kindle clicks over to the first page of the story.
Interesting. The book starts with a couple of e-mails. Including the ‘From, To and Subject’ lines of the e-mails.
Tap. Next page.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.
OMG !!!!!!!! The whole freaking book is nothing BUT e-mails with every e-mail including the ‘from, to and subject’ lines. Capitol letters emphasise words. Comments such as <Insert sarcastic tone> pop up all over the place.
What a friggin’ nightmare to read.
I was done by page five I think. So I can’t tell you whether this one is littered with mistakes that need a proofreader to sort out. Because I lost interest.
I have read books in the past that are based solely on a series of letters between people. One I thought was done exceptionally well. But in truth I think it is a lazy way of writing.
I have gone back and browsed through it, but it is just not my cup of tea.
The plot ???
Renee Greene is talked in to going online by her friend Mark Finlay to find love.
The further the plot progresses, the sillier it gets. I didn’t believe it. It felt forced.
What I am getting from reading all these books is this. Independent publishing should not mean publishing any old rubbish, or as in book number two a book that is peppered with errors. As an independent author the onus is on you to make sure that the book is free from errors. It is also your responsibility to get the opinion of someone, actually lots of someones about two other things.
Is the story any good ?
Is the writing any good ?
As a writer I know how easy it is to be blinded by words on the page. They become your babies. As such it is often difficult to look at them without prejudice and judge them solely on their merit and worth to the story.
A writer I admire once told me that if the words on the page don’t do one of two things they should NOT be there. They must move the story along to its next destination, or they must provide NEEDED background to move the story along to its next destination. Every word must have a purpose and earn its place.
In the future I hope to publish my own novels. I have learned three, what I consider important, things from writing book reviews.
The need to get expert as well as lay opinions. Actually get as many opinions as you can as long as they are honest. As the writer you are too close to your work to view it objectively. I think of J.K.Rowling when I say that. I love the Harry Potter books. I wonder though if her fame got in the way of the last book. In my view it was in need of some serious editing.
You need to listen to the opinions of others even if you disagree. If a reader tells you they don’t get what you are getting at…then that is your fault as a writer. Writing should make it easy for the reader to fly from word to word, character to character, becoming lost in the story. A really great book makes understanding the plot and reading easy. If someone tells you they don’t get it…as a writer you need to look at why that is and fix it. That is your job !!!!
Self publishing should not mean sloppy publishing. Edit, edit then edit again.
Which bring me to number three. Mistakes. Spelling mistakes. Punctuation mistakes. Errors in grammar.
Proofread, proofread, proofread and do it again. Then send it to a professional proofreader who has a GOOD reputation. When it arrives back…proofread, proofread and proofread again.
It makes all the difference.
Books like these are why authors need to get a professional proofreader (one who is good at his job), and an editor who will tell them the truth about their writing before they publish. Independent publishing of books in these states only makes it tougher for all the other independent authors to stand a chance.
Publisher/author Kenneth G. Bennett did all these things before he published The Gaia Wars and sent out a well written book that meets all the criteria and is a great read because of it. So too did Edmund Jorgensen, author of Speculation.