Update: So it would appear that I’ve run afoul of another author’s rabid fangirls. This is why I don’t typically review books — you run the risk of being labeled a hater. That happened to me with Rock Star when people accused me of having my fans give bad reviews to Crystal Hubbard’s Crush. Fortunately Crystal is an absolute sweetheart and we’ve been friends ever since, but it still makes me a bit queasy when I think about someone questioning my integrity that way. I guess it’s par for the course, but I didn’t expect to be attacked for giving a one-star review to the book that caused me to write this post the first time. At least one person has in turn given my books one-star reviews on Good Reads. Fortunately, I have enough sense to know that though I have done many things, I’ve never written a one-star book in my life. Of course, there are the usual hater accusations as well. And the questioning of my “black card” which I think I’ve mentioned I relinquished long ago.
Look folks, I love African-American fiction, but I’ll be damned and double damned to hell and back before I cut someone some slack just because they’re black. In my opinion the goddamned book was unreadable. If you have beef with that opinion, fine, rebut it. Show me that there wasn’t an error, sometimes a major error, on nearly every page. You can’t because it’s true. That’s why you’re attacking me instead of my words.
I don’t care who you are, or how your book comes to be published, ultimately your name is on the cover. If you don’t have enough dignity and self-respect to create a readable product why would anyone in their right mind buy it? This is not only a bad reflection on you, this makes the whole genre look bad and half-assed. In this time of diminishing returns that’s not something ANY of of us needs. And this doesn’t just apply to the self-published. I know how badly most writers want to be published, but if your publishing house can’t be bothered to provide a decent edit you need to walk and walk now. That’s your name, your brand on the cover. And nothing will take your career down in flames more quickly than producing substandard work. I am fortunate and blessed to have literally gone through the crucible with all my books. I’ve had very good (though sometimes seriously anal) editors, and I’ve learned lots from them. And that’s the point, a good editor can teach you about more than spelling and grammar, sometimes there are pacing issues as well. Let’s face it, I’m know I’m not the only author who sometimes becomes a bit too enamored with my own prose. A good editor can show you how that just ruins the story. (One of my fave self-published authors is guilty of this. The same theme and vibe in every story. Finally I just gave up on her, and that’s a shame because she has a unique and interesting voice. I wish she’d go back to a publishing house.)
So by all means rabid fangirls continue to attack me, I’m a big girl and I can take it. Just remember, you’re not doing your favorite author any favors by eating her shit and calling it chocolate. All you’re doing is enabling her to inevitable career destruction. She isn’t the first and she won’t be the last.
ORIGINAL POST: Hire an editor, STAT! I just bought a book that came highly recommended, it’s the talk of the IR romance community right now. I hit page 60 and just couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t just a matter of typos, and misspellings of which there was legion. (And yes, I’m an absolute freak when it comes to spelling.) It wasn’t even the fact that grammatically it was an absolute joke. (And Lord knows grammar is not my strong suit). No, this author’s main problem is homonyms/homophones. Oh Dear God in Heaven. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Again and again and again. I’m not saying this as someone who thinks I’m above a self-published author. I’m saying this as someone who has enough sense to know that I need an editor. It’s a rare writer who can edit themselves. You tend to see what you meant to write as opposed to what is actually written. And yes, I know editing services cost a mint, with good reason. They keep you from making an absolute ass of yourself. The last thing you want is a reader who is absolute furious with you which I am right now. I’ve wasted both my money and my time on something that is literally unreadable. I’m tempted to send a personal note to the author, which is something I never do for fear of being called a hater. As for all the folk who recommended this book so highly, I’m seriously starting to wonder about that as well. How can we elevate the quality of the books in this genre as long as we continue to accept any old crap as long as it’s IR? How did this book get so many recommendations? I think it’s time and past time for us to step back and decide what it is we really want. And any author who doesn’t care enough about their readers to find an editor before releasing a book doesn’t deserve the title author.