The Double Edged Sword of Self Publishing
It is great that technology has made it so that anybody that wants to write a book can easily and affordably do so. Gone are the days where you had to mail samples of your work all over the place and deal with rejection from editors or spend thousands of dollars to self publish. Alll I need is a computer and internet and I can publish an e-book that is available within minutes for the world to read.
This has opened the door for a lot of great stories that would otherwise never see the light of day. That is a great thing! Sadly it also allows anybody that thinks that they are a good writer to publish without review and that is where things get annoying.
I am all in favor of the DIY approach, there are some truly excellent self published books out there, but unless an author is going to read, and re-read their work several times before publishing they really, really, really need to have another set of eyes take a look at it. Some writers are masters storytellers but lack in grammar skills, others rely too much on auto-correct and don’t bother to see how the computer changed the word that they meant to write to something else.
And then there is my biggest peeve of all. The stream of consciousness writers that don’t proofread before publishing. I love stream of consciousness writing, it’s the only way I get most of my writing done but if you are writing a novel, that method alone is not going to work.
One too many great stories have been ruined because the author wrote as the ideas came to them with no logic or organization, the jumping around is annoying at best and can lose the reader if not careful. Not keeping track of characters and facts to keep the story consistent can really hurt a reader’s engagement with the book. It is hard to suspend disbelief when the character’s names or physical attributes keep changing or seemingly minor details such as the year model of the character’s car keeps changing.
If not willing to hire an editor to proofread; with the Internet and social media it is very easy to recruit Beta readers to give feedback and point out errors and inconsistencies yet too many authors are skipping this step and thus hurting their reputation and book sales as a result.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to writing a book, but if I do, I hope that I don’t let my ego get in the way of seeking constructive criticism to ensure that the final published product is of good quality.
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