And a Word to Self-Publishers… (UPDATED)

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.

13 thoughts on “And a Word to Self-Publishers… (UPDATED)

  1. I am so glad you mentioned this! As a reader this is so distracting! For me, I lose sight of the story and just think that anybody can write and publish! Thanks for putting this out. I hope authors heed your advice.

  2. You are so right. There’s one IR non-fiction book that has a big, glaring error ON THE COVER. It’s part of the title. 😛

  3. Oh, that’s not good. I think I know the one you’re speaking of and it has been highly recommended. Now, I must say my grammar is horrible and I read things I write and frequently I’ve left out words because I think faster than I type so I usually jump ahead when I write. My English professor in college, a nun, called me the ‘the comma queen’ because if I didn’t know what to do with something I just stuck in a common. Now, I’ve been a paralegal for a long time and as one, anything I write someone else has to read and any attorney I’ve ever worked for gives me everything they write to look at because you just need a second pair of eyes, maybe a third or fourth. I’m not published but I do publish my stories on a free site and when I finally found an editor it helped my writing tremendously. You just have to have one and I appreciate my free editor since I’m a free writer, she rocks but I’m not even published and I know I need that. Some stuff I can look over but obvious mistakes especially spelling, which like you Roslyn, I can be a bit of a freak about. But I have figured out something, most people don’t know how to spell. I’ve had attorneys put things in front of me and I’m like ‘egad! get a dictionary’ LOL. But some stuff is just not worthy to be overlooked and not knowing the how to distinguish homonyms and homophones is one. I learned that in second grade.

  4. I couldn’t agree more!! I just finished reading an IR book the other day, and it was full of grammatical errors and misspellings! Argh!!! The story was cute, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to take out my red pen and make those much needed corrections! 🙂 BTW, I don’t think I’ve seen the book you referred to with the error on the cover. Seeing THAT would definitely have me seeing red! LOL!

  5. I completely agree with you and I personally emailed two different authors about their POORLY written and edited books. I personally see it as insulting since I am in an interracial relationship and this lack of quality editing speaks volumes about not only the authors and the genre, but the people who read them. There are IR authors I won’t read EVER because I made the attempt more than once and I felt foolish.
    What makes me question some readers is when I have given books poor reviews in the past, I had one person suggest that I either have a problem with the author or interracial relationships themselves. That was hurtful besides the obvious reason, but also because too many people either don’t realize the glaringly obvious errors or they just overlook them, which is unacceptable either way especially since we are all paying!
    Thanks for hearing me out!
    P.S- I would love to see all your books on the Kindle!

  6. THANK YOU, Mrs Roz for this. I’m frigging fedup with this blatant disregard and disrespect for my time and money coming from too many published I/R authors. It seems their main concern is to get their book out, rather than to publish a read they can look back on and be proud of if only for the great editing!.

  7. Hey Roslyn,

    Silly me, and hear I taught every writer had editors. Oh guys give ’em a brake, I think your not being fare over silly “homonyms an homophones” – or they that important? How could that have made you loose site of what the book had to offer, it doesn’t effect the story line in know way. Ounce you by a book and understand what their saying it shouldn’t be an issue. I bet this was there first book to? Show a little more patients for the arthur. You now it’s quit difficult to even right a book in the first place.


  8. Aaaarrrrgghhh!!!

    See La, now I’m going to have to kill you. I’m going to write you as a character in my next book and have you pecked to death by geese.

  9. “See La, now I’m going to have to kill you. I’m going to write you as a character in my next book and have you pecked to death by geese.”

    Fine, but at least give me a love interest… make him an Asian hunk… and make him cry profusely over me too… and make him find a witch to conjure up a spell to bring me back to life or something.

    We can call it even after that.

  10. I agree with you on the bad grammar editing issue. It does take me out of the story. Sometimes I get frustrated wondering what the writer intended to say. Please tell me La was being facetious with all the typos in her response. Please.

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