Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lions, and tigers, and crappy unedited books! Oh, my!

For the sake of discussion, I need to get something off of my chest. I keep seeing writers on different blogs and loops talk about how crappy unedited books are going to hurt us as writers.

Let me see if I have this right...I think what writers are saying is that if everyone in the world throws a crappy, non-edited book on kindle it's going to hurt them, or me, or some other author.

I don't agree. I think it will only hurt THAT author. 

Whether it's books, music, or movies, people have SO many choices...BUT the decent fun books, movies and songs always seem to find their way to the top...or somewhere close to it. I've watched a lot of movies that probably never should have been made...but I could stop watching it at any time.

Readers of books can read a blurb and download a sample for FREE. That's about three chapters to figure out if they want to read that book or not. Even if they go on to buy the book, they can return it!

I think this whole "indie authors are putting out crap" is a bunch of crap. Someone needs to start giving me names and titles because I've been reading a lot of great indie books lately. I don't think the people who are worried about this have even read a book by an Indie author.

I think they're scared...of nothing. Or maybe of a little more competition.

Nobody is forcing anyone to buy a book. Whether there are one million books on Amazon or ten million, and half of them are crap, all the reader has to do is read the blurb, read the sample chapters for FREE, and then decide. I just don't get how having crappy books out there is going to hurt ME or anyone else. I really don't get it.

And, speaking of editing, I have never read a book, EVER, that didn't have typos and/or grammar problems. Suddenly this is a problem? No one has ever bought a CRAP book from Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Wal-Mart???

There are a LOT of books on Amazon that aren't selling. I think readers know what they want to read.

And still, I'm not telling writers out there to self-publish crappy, unedited books, I'm just not worried about it hurting me and my career if they do. In my opinion, a little competition, crappy or not, never hurt anyone. 


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Totally agree with you!

Crappy, unedited books are not competition for the rest of us. No one else can write my books and I can't write theirs, so we aren't really competing. Whether or not a book sells is ultimately in the hands of readers.

Theresa Ragan said...

Thank you, Aunty Cindy!

I want new writers to edit their books so that their stories will have a chance. But that's the only reason.

And you're right! It's up to the readers to decide a book's fate. How awesome is that?!

Cate Rowan said...

Free samples are one of the BEST things about ebooks!

I always sample before I buy. A book someone else thinks is fantastic may not be my cup of tea--and v.v. Since my reading time is so limited, I want to make sure I'm reading stuff *I* enjoy.

Samples mean I can try new authors without risk--and that other readers can try *our* books and get hooked. Win-win!

Theresa Ragan said...

Another great point, Cate! Thanks.

Cate is blogging today at

Carey_Corp said...

Thanks Theresa! I just read a highly-anticipated NY TIMES best selling YA. I saw 2 typos in the first 26 pages. Typos are universal.

I think my fear is by going indie, I'm going to be judged more harshly for each mistake. I read the YA typo and think, "Her publisher should've caught that." But as an indie, the blame rests solely on me.

But to be completely honest this fear has everything to do with my peers, those in the industry. Readers, in general, are much more forgiving.

BTW-I linked to your blog with morning.

Theresa Ragan said...

That's definitely true...that you'll be judged more harshly by your peers. Readers ARE forgiving overall. If I get sucked into a story because of great characters that I care about, I don't notice anything as I flip those pages.

Thanks for the comment, Carey. And for the link!


Theresa Ragan said...

I just visited your blogspot, Carey. I enjoyed all of your posts. Your cover is fabulous!

Samantha Warren said...

I have read a couple really awful indie books with horrible editing and formatting (funny thing is, the stories sucked, too. Coincidence?), but for the most part, the indie stuff I've read is as good or better than tradpub books.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting point of view and I think you've made an important distinction here for me--because really, it's other WRITERS who are eschewing self-pubbed books for crap editing, not READERS. I should have thought about that before but, I didn't.

One thing that does bother me is that no one is discussing what editors do beyond catching typos. What about the unfettered descriptives, bad analogies, redundant words and thoughts, unclear sentences etc. that an editor catches? Editors aren't proofreaders. I've seen too many indie books in which the author seems in love with his or her many ways to describe a tree and has decided to include ALL of them over the span of several pages (okay, some hyperbole there but FELT like pages). And yes, this hits trad books sometimes but honestly, I see this much more often with self-pubbed books. Combined with all the other things I mentioned above and my reading experience is ruined.

That said--you are still right. The readers will decide what they do or don't like and if _I_ don't like it, that's just my personal preference, which does not determine market success.

You've definitely given me another angle to consider here, so thank you :-)

Theresa Ragan said...

Samantha, interesting point. Storytelling has always been more important to me as a READER. But YES, bad formatting, too many misspellings, etc., would definitely pull me out of a story. I always read the sample maybe that's why I haven't had a problem yet.

Thanks for adding to the discussion. I love getting other point of views.

Theresa Ragan said...

Hi keyboardhussey! Great comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

At this point I've read WAY more trad books than indie books and I always skim over long descriptions or long boring narratives...unless it's one of my favorite all-time authors where as I savor every word. That doesn't happen often.

I THINK other writers are worried that too many BADLY edited indie books are going to scare readers away from indie books altogether. Yes, if they read too many badly edited books this could make readers take a second look at the blurb or take the time to read a sample first, but I think that's a good thing. Nobody should waste their money or time on a book, whether it's $.99 or $9.99, if the story or the writing doesn't appeal to them.

Readers will figure it all out. They are smart people, which makes sense because they read a lot of books!