A Plea to Self Published Writers

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Whether you publish your book in hard back, paperback, or in one of the many eBook formats currently available, unless you take more care, it won’t be long before you become ignored as a writer, or worse, totally forgotten.

What do I mean by this?

It’s simple, so simple in fact that I’m surprised so many of you seem to totally ignore it!

No discerning member of the reading population of this world likes to see a book chock full of glaring errors like bad spelling, punctuation errors or poor setup.

Take setup as an example of the lack of professionalism within self publishing today.

By cramming the typeface together into a solid block on the page, minus breaks between paragraphs, chapter breaks, chapter numbers and subheadings, plus page breaks when shifting the direction of the storyline, the discerning reader will instantly become annoyed and simply abandon the product of all those long weeks and months you have spent writing the work.

You might have got away with it with Neanderthals, but they died out.

For goodness sake dot those I’s and cross those T’s!

I wish you would all take your sweet time when setting up your latest novel, short story or poem for publication before foisting what amounts to a shoddily prepared product onto the market. If you don’t have access to an editor, at the very least do yourselves a favour and employ someone who knows what the end product should look like for heaven’s sake!

While I know that the whole area of self publishing is the route many will take given the haughty attitude of most establishment publishers towards first time writers, that doesn’t mean you are excluded from taking care and responsibility when presenting the reading public with your product.

By offering your work in a shoddy form you do the world of books, and above all yourselves, no favours. Don’t be in such a steaming hurry to get your work out there. It’s far better to take a little time in perfecting the way it looks first.

Believe me, there is nothing quite so annoying as being confronted by a low quality product.

Would you stand for it when buying a new car, television, house or any other consumer product? Of course you wouldn’t. So why should you expect the book buyer to put up with it either?

For your own sake take your time, take care, and above all, take pride in the product of all your hard work.

8 Comments
  1. Cyrien McCallister says

    Excellent

  2. konradtademar says

    Very good article

  3. Jeremy Soldevilla says

    Amen.
    As a publisher I see some pretty incredible sloppiness in manuscripts that get submitted to us. I fear, though, it will get worse as more people self-publish or go with those publishers who don’t check manuscripts before going to press.

  4. Derek Haines says

    Great article Jack. Now can you get people to listen?

    I saw a bio recently which read, ‘Up and coming romance wrighter’ !

    I couldn’t read any further as my stomach went into severe cramp.

  5. Paula Shene says

    Great advice Jack! I wrote a similar article entitled Proofreading and subtitled Why Must I? I originally wrote it for a site that had a glaring mistake on the home page and then re-posted on Bookrix.

    We all need proofreaders, preferably ones that can spell. I have been challenged all my life with spelling and now have moved from the hardcover dictionary on my knees to the dictionary.com ever ready on my tool bar.

  6. Chris Shepheard says

    Amen.
    Would-be writers should learn that you spend ten percent of your time writing your story and the other ninety percent re-reading it, modifying it, polishing it, and proofing it. Then you put it in a drawer for a month, take it out, and do it again. Only when you are completely happy with it do you let it go.
    Jack Eason hits the nail bang on the head. It is simply too easy for self-publishing writers to be impatient and sloppy.
    But so-called professionals can also be unforgivably substandard. I saw a John Lewis poster that read “Open everyday of the week.” Oh dear!

  7. In Rare Form says

    Jack, i really agree with this. I am now trying to re-edit a book i put on the market too fast

  8. Elizabeth Lang says

    That’s what I’ve been saying for months but I get attacked as being against self-publishers, as if being against bad writing makes me against self-publishers or that trad publishers being against bad writing makes them ‘haughty’. Well, thanks for this article Jack. I hope someone listens to it and you don’t get attacked for being arrogant or against self-publishers too.

    I’m actually laughing now because the other shoe is now dropping and you’re not the only one who is speaking against low quality that drags the rest of us down and ruins our reputations. Several book bloggers have stated this week that they’re no longer afraid to give low ratings to crap books by self-publishers. They refuse to be intimidated by those who think being a self-publisher makes them some glorified rebel. It doesn’t. It just makes you someone who disrespects the readers who buy your books under the impression that it’s worth reading and not full of spelling and grammar mistakes or stories that needed a few more edit passes before being foisted on the unsuspecting public.

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