Dear Self-published author: Oh, God. I hope this book of yours was self-published. Because if it wasn’t the decline of published literature is worse than I ever imagined. Whew. I double-checked. It was.
First of all, before you ever publish another of your books yourself and offer it for sale to an unsuspecting public, there’s a little technique I’d like to acquaint you with. It’s known as proofreading. Let me explain.
READ BACK OVER YOUR MANUSCRIPT. MULTIPLE TIMES. Check for the following:
Check to make sure that you used the right word in the right place. For example: The expression on her face is not indigent. It might be indignant. Get a dictionary and try looking words up if you don’t know what they mean. Better yet, when you use your word processing program’s spell check feature, make sure it’s spellchecking the appropriate word.
If you’re too lazy to proofread your manuscript yourself, then I beg of you, get someone else to do it. When that individual points out your mistakes the time to correct them is before you hit that publish button.
While you’re reading back over your manuscript, try to determine if your story makes sense. Does it have a beginning a middle and an end? Does it wander off into distracting tangents and sub-plots that somehow become disconnected from the story you started to tell?
Are there characters in your story that don’t belong there? Will your reader wonder who Max or Sarah are because they mysteriously show up in the middle of your book with no prior mention?
Oh, and those words and phrases you use repeatedly? The excessive number of times you remind me of the color of his hair and her eyes? Stop it!
Did you write this book to preach to me about something? To inform me about a cause or an illness or a political point of view? Because if you did, what you most likely did was piss me off. I will remember you and I will never buy or download another of your books. Not even if you try to give it to me for free. Because you know what you are? You’re a bad writer.
I don’t care what your web site says. I don’t care how many traditionally published books you have under your belt or how popular you are with readers. You disappointed me. You ripped me off. You took my money in exchange for a piece of garbage.
Your five-star reviews are meaningless once I’ve read or attempted to read your “book.” Did you pay for those reviews? Did you twist the arm of every friend and relative you have to write one for you? Or did you make up those personas yourself and write your own reviews? Probably not because the reviews aren’t full of misspellings. I don’t know what idiots are giving you five-star reviews for this piece of garbage, but I’ve got about as much respect for them as I do for you.
The worst thing is I think maybe you can write. I think maybe there’s a decent story in here somewhere. Maybe. But it’s buried under a lack of editing, proofreading and basic knowledge of grammar. Which makes me think you haven’t got a clue.
Your characters behave in conflict with their thoughts. Their motivations make no sense nor do their actions. Don’t tell me how they feel. Show me. Don’t tell me how I should feel while I’m reading about their dilemma. Make me feel it!
You are what’s wrong with this brave new world of self-publishing. You’ve got no standards (unless they’re low ones). You’re unprofessional and you give those of us who are offering a quality product a bad name.
I will never use your name. I won’t post a bad review. I hope I don’t need to. I hope you don’t need any help losing your readership and that you slowly fade away and never write a bad book again.
Visit me at www.barbarameyers.com
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