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Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Your Damned Ducks in a Row

I've been reading a lot of indy novels on my Kindle recently. It's just too tempting not to order anything that looks remotely interesting when KDP's offering freebies. The result is a mixed bag, with one or two really good reads (often these are repubs of out of print books), several good reads by new authors, another handful of promising but marred stories, and the rest, the ones that get a quick one-page read and go directly to the 'remove from device' bin.

The most frustrating are books by careless indy authors. Last night and this morning I've been reading a story with a great plot and attractive characters. I'd love the book and look for more, but it's so marred by an apparent total lack of editing and proofreading that I'll probably delete it from my Kindle.

What, you say, would make me do this?  Hmm. The dialog's cstilted (guy, people don't speak in public relations-type paragraphs, especially when being pursued by killers), there's way too much landscape detail, and even irrelevant scenes (the church along the road) dropped in here and there.

Even more distracting, words are misused (birth for berth, for example, and Illusion for allusion) with unintentional results. Often hilarious, but totally disrupting the flow.

I believe in indy publishing, guess you figured that out. And because I'm an indy author myself, it pisses me off to give the critics--and there are plenty--ammunition. I'm wondering how many readers will be turned off after wading through some of the dreck that's out there. I'm even wondering if I would have been one of them. Last year, maybe, before I published CHICAGO STORIES: WEST OF WESTERN.

And I'm pissed because it's all so unnecessary. A good editor (mine's Elizabeth Lyon) and a formatter (Hitch at booknook.biz) aren't all that expensive when you consider your book will be forever on the internet. Probably they'll cost less than if you spent years and $$$ querying and rewriting for traditional publishers--if you found one.

So guys, get your damned ducks in a row before you hit that PUBLISH button. Please.