Monday, 8 April 2013

G is for - Getting Published

Easier said than done these days, because publishing novels is going through massive changes. More and more writers are looking towards self-publishing. Doing it for themselves, rather than trying to find an agent, or publisher, and going down the more traditional publishing route.

With self publishing many barriers have been lifted, its feasible for anyone to publish themselves nowadays, and I'll be brave, at the risk of upsetting folk and say right out, that concerns me.

I know lots of writers are taking the time to make sure their work is of a publishable standard by employing professional editors, and illustrators, they'll spend time organising marketing, and events, and generally make their book the very best it can be. I salute you - you deserve success.

 However, there is a lot of trash out there too! I know - I'm a reader. I own a Kindle, and I've been caught out. Selected a book, downloaded a well written sample, only to discover when I purchase the whole book, its a complete pile of pants! The author has duped me. I moan and whinge to myself, get cross, stop reading and think 'Oh well its only a couple of quid!'

Hang on, that's a couple of quid from me, maybe from you? And a few hundred other readers who trusted. It annoys me as a writer too.

I'm speculating the sample I read was edited by a 'professional', many advertise their services, they'll edit a set amount of words for a fee. Writer beware! Research needs to be done first to make sure you do get a professional editor, as Jane Friedman points out here on her excellent blog, Writer Unboxed. It isn't a simple case of picking someone from the back cover of a magazine, or a web page.

The truth of the matter is good professional editing costs a lot of money, and some writers won't, or can't afford to use those services. Its a sad state of affairs I hope will change.

Rant over. Your view?

Now here is a calming picture I took earlier. Enjoy Monday!

Breakfast - Maria A Smith


  1. Very true. Poor formatting is another bugbear of mine. Good writing poorly presented.

    A great A-Z, keep up the good work.

    1. I agree, I recently spoke to a lovely lady on Twitter who told me she was writing a book, I was horrified when she later revealed she hadn't had anyone read it, not a soul, no beta readers, no proof readers, no edits from anywhere, and she was going to launch it straight up onto Amazon.

      I diplomatically asked who was doing the editing, and she told me she wasn't concerned, as she spoke better English than a lot of people she came into contact with on a day to day basis? I didn't know how to reply.

  2. I feel exactly the same, Maria. I too have downloaded the odd Kindle book on a whim, based on a sample etc, and have been shocked at the standard - I've even seen typos and grammatical errors!

    It's a difficult situation for someone who wants to go down the self-publishing route, as it does seem cost-prohibitive, but the alternative may be putting out something that isn't ready for a mass audience.

    Good post.

    1. I'm not sure what the answer is, there is no regulation to stop writers self-publishing badly written books, that are littered with typos...

  3. I think you are completely correct - there are a lot of poorly edited self published books out there. Professional editing costs small fortune but it is worth it if writers want to present themselves in the best possible light, However, I know a few self published books that were badly (or not at all) edited and yet they sold many, many copies as did their subsequent books.

  4. Like you, Maria, I've been caught out by a poorly-written book (or four) in the past. Nowadays I don't even consider purchasing until I've read the sample extract first. The synopsis could be spectacular, but if it's not written well, I won't invest my time in it.

    Furthermore, the writer is doing themself a disservice by putting their name on a badly written book. Too many writers are too impatient and greedy to take the time and care required.

    That said, even traditionally published books can be absolute guff! The cream will always rise to the top, so I'm not too concerned about the industry as a whole. Fab post :)

    1. Yes Catherine i think impatience does come into it...and also the writers ego! One or two I've come across are so confident, yet their work really would benefit from a professional service.

  5. Aha! You're doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge too. I've decided to join in this year as I now have a new blog (link below).

    My view on your blog post, Maria, is that I have a very dear friend who is a proofreader and she does charge a fee but it is reasonable and as I understand it, provides a quality service. She is also judging one of my free-entry competitions later this year.

    Downloading books that haven't been properly proofread is a problem. I've even seen some with mistakes in the sample copy, and I don't just mean spelling errors. Sometimes the wording is incredibly odd and I think to myself 'has this really been proofread?'

    I must say, that picture IS calming, I was just looking at it thinking hmmm, how nice it looks there. I can just imagine ordering something and then waiting for that tasty item to be placed in front of me, lol. I must learn how to put pictures on my blog.

    Hope all is well with you.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hello Debbie, a good proofreader is worth their weight in gold!

      Regards the picture, it was taken inside Cafe Rouge, and I ordered a Smoked Salmon Omelette, and normally would drink tea for breakfast, but on this occasion I chose a coffee. A bit of a luxury, but sometimes you have to do it!

  6. i enjoyed your rant and your pic :)

  7. I don't know anything about editing a book but I do know I hate it when I download a book and I know right away what's going to happen in the story,I've just finished one like that.Surely part of an editors job would be to tell the author that her story is predictable? I'm going to stop downloading books from authors I haven't heard of.

    1. Argh! Know what you mean...I had the same situation with a book I downloaded.

      I'll still download books form new authors, and hope for the best!

  8. I certainly follow your logic here, and I've also seen a lot of really terrible self-published books. At the same time, I'm a self-published author (who used to work as a textbook editor), so . . . I think the key is really to not get impatient (which is why many people do charge forward with the self-publishing, they don't want to take the time to shop their manuscripts around) and be sure of your work before putting it out there. It won't do you any good to publish something and have people hate it; you won't build an audience that way.


  9. I don't know much about this stuff too although I would say they are some books out there that have been published through the official means and I think they aren't of a high standard, in my professional opinion as a reader ;).

    Some times I've read a book and thought why do some people struggle to get published and then this rubbish gets a shot. I suppose sometimes self publishing is good and sometimes not.

  10. There's some great indie work out there. But I agree, that an author should hire an editor. If not, have several severe crit partners.

  11. I have severe crit partners, but I'll definitely employ a proof reader, and an editor too.


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