What am I blogging about today?
I get a daily email with offers of free Kindle books at Amazon. I’ve taken advantage of this many times. Who doesn’t like free books?
Unfortunately–and this must be said–books put out by publishers are still better edited than those released by (most) self-published authors. This is not to say trad published books are error-free or perfect. They’re usually not, but they are generally easier to read and contain fewer stumbling points.
The free books are almost always from self-published authors, and 90 percent of them are horrible. They haven’t been edited at all, or they were edited poorly. Reading them is a challenge, and often, I get only ten or twenty pages in before deleting it off the Kindle.
ALL of these free books have a rating of 4.0 or better. Normally, that would indicate a good read and a terrific story, but NOPE! Either the reviews are being posted by friends and relatives, or the general public doesn’t know good writing from bad.
My guess is it’s a little of both.
I often do a lot of skimming when I open one of the free reads. For instance, I just read a YA book that put an interesting twist on the Phantom of the Opera story. Good idea, mediocre writing, bad or nonexistent editing. In the latter half of the book, I skimmed a lot to avoid the lousy writing. Lots of ABP, homonyms, repetition, and things like “he shrugged his shoulders.” Ugh.
I sometimes wish I’d never taken up professional editing; it’s ruined nearly everything I read these days. But think about what that means! Have books really gotten so bad an editor can’t read them without cringing? Has the dumbing down of America reached a new low point?
Remember what they used to say? “Everyone has a good story idea, but they can’t write it.”
If writing was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Oh, wait! Everyone is doing it. Like people with digital cameras think they’re the new Annie Leibovitz, everyone with a word processor thinks they can write a novel.
Ain’t true, and if you don’t use an editor, that is even more glaringly obvious.
A writer need a good editor, and keep this in mind: a lot of so-called editors aren’t nearly good enough. I’ve heard of people working as editors today that shouldn’t be trusted with anyone’s fictional baby. They don’t have the experience, they don’t have the skill or training, but they wrote some books, and they think that qualifies them to be editors.
When shopping for an editor, be sure to get a sample edit! This will show you how they work and what they look for. Never hire someone because they’re a friend of a friend. Editing is an exacting profession and is done well by very few. Spend your money wisely.
And if you should discover you’re not really a writer after all? That you don’t have what it takes to tell a good story?
Pick up a digital camera. 😉