I haven’t been good at posting over the last two months, as I’m sure happens with everyone life tends to get in the way, especially over the holidays. Hiccups and roller coasters, it’s life.
Anyway, this morning I got a text from my mother. It was a picture of her kindle, blown up far enough that I could read the text.
At first I was confused, what was she showing me? I read the page and was amazed at how poor the writing was. It was grammatically correct but stylistically a mess.
“He walked to the table. He picked up the items, a book and two bowls. He placed them on the counter. He picked up a rag and wiped off the table top. He took a yard of butcher paper off the role in the corner and gently placed it on the table.”
At first I thought the author was using this style deliberately but it just kept going. Almost every sentence on the page started with “He”, it was really difficult to read more than a paragraph.
Then my mom sent a second text. She explained that this was a book that a friend of hers had just put out and she suspected it was “self published”. She’d wanted to support him, paid four dollars for her copy and wasn’t very happy with the quality. I couldn’t blame her. I’m certainly not an expert writer, or without my own issues, but I felt like I could have done a better editing job than whoever he hired, if he hired anyone.
Now, I could go on about how these kinds of books tend to give self published authors a bad name but we’ve all heard that before and, honestly, whether his book sells doesn’t really matter to me. He wrote it, he was happy with it, and he published it. Good for him.
What I can take away from this situation is that I don’t want anything I publish to turn off readers like that. Is she going to be excited to buy his next book? I doubt it. I told my mom that that’s exactly why I’m not rushing to publish anything, I never want someone to pay good money and come away feeling like it wasn’t worth it.