Monday, April 9, 2012
There are to be sure many awful self-pubbed books out there. You know what I mean. They're full of grammar errors, particularly run-on sentences and comma mistakes, misused words, and a general lack of editing, in addition to POV problems and plots that go nowhere. I have long suspected that the authors of these books are also the only "editors" who ever look them over. Some people can self-edit, regardless of what you hear, usually from people who would be entirely lost without someone to help them rewrite their stories, but the vast majority of people can't. Either they are in denial and can't see the errors in their work, or they simply don't know grammar and writing rules. (Don't get me started about people claiming they're authors when they don't know these things. Grammar and writing rules aren't just things editors should know. A real author knows them too.)
But there's a difference between self-pubbed and indie pubbed. Indie pubbed books may not be what everyone loves in a story, but they are well-written and well-edited. They are well-crafted stories that tell a tale, not jumbled attempts at a story that would have been improved if the writer had someone other than their best friends and family read them over as pseudo-betas.
I chose to go the epub route with my first book, and since then I've indie published, preferring that method to reach readers. I like having complete control over the cover art (God bless those epub sister writers who have to suffer through poorly done Photoshop covers that make me cringe), release dates, distribution channels, and pricing. I particularly love the fact that the editor I employ is one of the most intelligent people I've ever met and can find a plot hole from a mile away. And I respect her, most importantly. When she tells me something sounds a certain way, I know I'm dealing with a person who's educated enough to know the various connotations of words and how they change a sentence or a scene. That doesn't come from just a bachelor's degree in English and the title of editor.
But while I can fault the misplaced snobbery I sometimes encounter from traditionally pubbed and epubbed authors, I can't blame them for it entirely. My fellow indies must do a better job if they want to be seen as people who take pride in the craft of writing. No, I don't spend all my time pontificating about the "craft" on this blog, but I am serious about it. For those writers who continue to produce books with all the problems I mentioned earlier, I reserve the right to brand them with the derogatory name of self-published author, a term that has held scorn for years in the industry.
Those of us who take the time and effort to produce books that show dedication to the art of storytelling don't want to be lumped in with people who don't know the difference between affect and effect and wouldn't know where to insert a comma if their lives depended on it. We work hard at writing our books, and we don't want to be compared to people who don't.
Update on the plagiarism issue I mentioned last week: Both my editor and I have read the book in question in its entirety and agree that other than what we found in the beginning, the rest of it is plagiarism free, as far as my work is concerned. Does it have a familiar story to the first book in a well-known vampire series? Yes, it does. Does it include a very particular, albeit odd and small idea found in another famous vampire novel? Yes, it does. Are there other ideas lifted or borrowed from other famous books in the genre? Yes, there are. But I'm not interested in having my name associated with this self-pubbed book, so the issue of what the writer may or may not have lifted from me or other writers is put to rest with this update.
at 8:00 AM