Totally Off Topic

More on the importance of professionally editing and publishing a book of quality and value – from a Reader/Author who explains how she chooses books to read and what turns her off.

Poetry by Pamela

This has been bothering me for quite some time but today it finally just reached my boiling point. So, what else to do about it but write a blog.

I am an avid reader, although not nearly as much as of late with all the demands of my personal life. But I do read an awful lot of books. I read mainstream books AND I read tons of indie authors. Ever since I discovered the world of indie publishing, I have enriched my life by reading from so many different authors.

I have spent more money on books than I care to add up. Most are worth every penny. I’m always amazed at the prices of books and think that the emphasis on cheaper and cheaper isn’t a good thing. Even books I receive as ARCs to review, I still purchase to support the author. Does my $2.99 make a…

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14 responses

  1. What a shame that someone would publish when they have such blatant errors in their work! It is this kind of thing that gives Indie authors such a bad reputation. Mainstream publishers have various kinds of editors proofread a book before it ever gets to print. Why would any Indie author think that they could skip this process? Perhaps only some cruel and very bad reviews will shake them enough to change what they are doing.

    1. Yes, Sharon, so true. I’ve always recommended that authors self-publish only if they’re going to be professional about it. Thanks for commenting!

  2. That was a good post. Thanks for linking.
    It appears that writers may have to band together and help themselves. A big worry is that the abilities of readers is falling to such a low ability level/low acceptable standards that eventually typos and errors will be simply “the way it is – get over it”. Grim thought.

    1. Unfortunately, I have heard from a few authors who believe they don’t need to keep acceptable standards, because writing is such a creative and imaginative art (!) that they are allowed to make up their own rules as they go along. Yikes! Possibly what we need is for the Readers to band together and complain about poorly produced books more often.

      I like to think that blogs and book sites, like my own Reading Recommendations, encourage authors to band together and help each other find new readers for all their work.

      Thanks for you comment, philosophermouse!

      1. We won’t even get into the “anyway you want to do it is perfectly fine” line of thinking.
        Interesting to note that the first abstract/modern painters were first quite skilled at realism – easier to successfully bend the rule once you have them firmly mastered.
        Astute response from you.
        Perhaps some readers are already voting against poorly written books by walking away from them.
        Always a good read in your posts. Do agree this is the best shot for writers and readers! (and more in the regional papers today about NTD (neglected tropical diseases from mosquitoes in TX…hadn’t seen that symbol before)

      2. Yes, you can’t possibly break the rules if you don’t know what they are in the first place!

        Thanks for that virus info. Why is it we always need a snappy acronym for problems like this. Does the acronym make it less serious?

        (And thanks too for your comments about my blog and your continuing support!)

      3. The article is about how everyone is worried about ebola, but there’s others……
        People have such short attention spans?

      4. Yes, we were just wondering what exactly is going on now between Russia and Ukraine … that situation seems to have dropped out of the news altogether.

  3. That was an interesting post, with some interesting discussion points. I read a book this week with no typos, sadly so many books these days, indie and trad, do have errors that I was stunned. In fact rather than remembering the story, I remembered the no typos!

    The issue of free books and promotions is interesting. The problem with browsing an ebook is that you can’t. You only get the first few chapters, and as Pamela said, an error on the cover …. but errors in the previews don’t help either.

    I’ve recently reviewed a book for a professional book site, and I’m currently compiling notes for the author to show where I think it could be improved as well as writing my review. That includes examples of typos and punctuation, as well as prose that could be tightened up. For free. We all give to the indie community in our own way that think will help.

    1. That is a very generous service you are offering the author, roughseas! I hope they value your advice and act on what you suggest, because I know you do this in the best interest of making the book better.

      1. It’s not a free edit, it’s just examples, but yeah it does take time. The site prefers that reviewers provide notes. I’m OK with that. I think it makes up for not buying a review copy though. Plus, my time is worth a lot more than the cost of a book. So, horses for courses.

        And when I review for my blog or goodreads, I’ll send an email pointing out any problems rather than doing it publicly. Occasionally it’s well received …

        I accept that looking at style can be subjective, but typos and formatting aren’t.

      2. (Have taken out the word “free” in my comment.) No matter, you do provide good feedback to authors (I know!) and go above and beyond what other reviewers have offered. I definitely have valued your “examples” as well as the time you put into reading and writing reviews!

      3. It’s no issue as it’s not in relation to my blog or my editing business.

        Thanks Susan, that’s very kind. I try and personalise my reviews, which is why I don’t do them all the time. I also don’t like to use pre-set formulaic templates, or just recounting the story. I want to share what did – or didn’t – grab me, so yes, I know I plagued you about Bequía. Bekway 😀

        I’ve got an interesting review for next week, scheduled for Wed I think, great cover, interesting book, it just fell a bit short for me, shame.

      4. I would much prefer an honest review than faint praise! Thanks for taking the time to do what you do well, roughseas!

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