Originally posted on December 26, 2011
So…I was reading a short eBook early this morning (nothing unusual), and the advice it gave started out okay. Its audience was indie writers and it was written by an indie writer, one who claims to have a deep audience for his fiction. While I have no doubt he is telling the truth, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth for two reasons, and it has been bothering me so much all day I have to at last write about it so I can let it go!
This writer said, first of all, that he has seen a lot of indie books that are plagued by spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. I have too, and I think it’s that level of unprofessionalism that gives indie writing a bad name. A lot of readers might avoid some excellent stories because they don’t want to wade through the errata. I’m the same way. I’ve read some great stuff, but some of the writing gets tiresome quickly. Here’s the deal, though—I figure the readers will make the choice. If you want to write but don’t want to take the time to revise and proofread, readers won’t buy a copy of your next book. You will naturally write yourself out of a writing career if you don’t polish your work. I am not going to stand in judgment of your attempts. You have the right to try. However, the eBook I read judged other writers for their mangling of written English, but this particular writer had some issues himself. He had a fantastic vocabulary, one that blew me away, but as a college English instructor, I identified a few errors in his writing. Compared to a lot of indie novels, his were rare, but still… There’s a reason why the saying “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” is still used heavily.
The thing that really turned me off, though, was his book was a thinly veiled attempt to bilk money out of his readers (maybe bilk is too strong a word). The book was targeted at writers and it was free, and that’s why I took the time to read it. But near the end of the book he offers to give advice for a price. He’s not asking for a lot of money and I’m sure the advice he plans to share will be worth it, but that was the entire point of his eight-page book. I hope someone finds it helpful, but I don’t like feeling like I’ve been tricked, and I’m sure there are others who were downright angry about it.
Dear readers, I hope you never feel like I’ve tricked you or led you astray. On that note, I want to update you on Nicki news—my computer went belly up about a week ago, and so I’m still writing Lost but until I pick up my new laptop (soon!), I’m sharing a computer and can’t write as much as my fingers and brain want me to. I hope that means my subconscious will spend more time with Nicki and make her adventures richer by the time they’re put on paper. But so much for being done by Christmas! At this rate, I believe it will be my first 2012 release, but we’ll see if I can’t finish it before then.
Thank you to all of you who have made me happy and proud to be a writer in 2011. I am grateful for each one of you. I have made some friends along the way as well, and I wish all of you a joyful and happy new year.