The Midden Heap

I am so tired of buying self-published books with a handful of 5* reviews, only to find they’re unedited and incoherent. Oh, I don’t doubt there are plenty of good self published works out there by authors who care, but they’re buried beneath a midden heap of gibber-prose.

Of the hundred or so self-published books I’ve attempted to read, I’ve only ever found two that I could finish. Conversely, of the thousands of traditionally published books I’ve read, there have only been a handful I abandoned. Does anyone really believe that a lesser standard should be applied to a novel just because the author chose to publish independently? I don’t.

I’m not sure if there is a finger to be pointed, or a solution to this other than for me to stick to traditionally published books. – IF there is a solution, I feel it lies in the integrity of both reader and writer to make sure the reviews, 5* or otherwise, are earned. If you really feel a writer has achieved literary excellence, then make sure they get their well-earned praise. But celebrating inept as awesome consigns the writer to create crap for all eternity.

Over this last year, I’ve beta read for a lot of writers, and I’ve given honest reviews of their work. Using diplomacy, I’ve suggested ways I feel their work could be improved, and it’s usually the basics they need to work on to enhance readability. Most of the time, I see immature prose that simply needs a few years of practice until they’re ready. Many of the self-published novels I’ve tried to read could well have been better if the author had accepted it takes a long, long time to create something the public wish to read. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Unless you’ve written something readable, no amount of marketing is going to do other than pick up a few impulse sales. Don’t cling to a novel that was less than it could have been, just delist it and look at ways it can be improved. – Cast aside betas who do nothing but praise, and seek out those who really want to help you achieve all you’re capable of being.

Please, don’t add to the midden heap. You’re better than that, aren’t you?