The Pitfalls of Writing Today


Pitfalls of Writing

One current ugly stumbling block for all writers these days to be ignored at all costs is the average inbred moron seated at his computer who deludes himself into believing that what he says on a public book-based forum actually matters.

Pitfalls of Writing

His kind set themselves up as self-styled critics, typically wittering on endlessly about subjects such as non-American spelling and grammar in books written by anyone living beyond the borders of the US for instance, thereby clearly demonstrating their ignorance of the English language to the world at large.

The aforementioned description while general nevertheless fits the individuals currently responsible for the majority of reviews for any book you care to name on Amazon, to the detriment of the genuine reviewer.

Not one of them has ever written a book in their entire lives, let alone had one published, and yet they feel it is their duty to harshly criticize, especially when it comes to newbies, no matter whether or not they are self-publishers or mainstream.

There are also a few unscrupulous individuals who see absolutely nothing wrong in adding a link to their review of your book advertising their own efforts – bad form!

Like most writers these days, I simply fail to understand why Amazon seemingly encourages and condones what amounts to nothing more than often vicious attacks. As a writer, for the sake of your sanity take my advice and never read the reviews. Above all refrain from entering the forums, no matter how indignant you may feel.


Unlike them, as a successful writer, I see far more pressing issues in a lot of today’s eBook offerings, the main one often being the new writer’s poor choice of genre. A lot simply jump on the bandwagon hoping to cash in on what is portrayed as popular by various publisher’s advertising campaigns, such as the current trend in nauseating vampire and zombie-based stories and what can only be described as badly written pornography (Fifty Shades of Grey is the most recent example).

While it is true to say that these genres appeal to a mainly young sector of society, those who write more thought-provoking novels are left by the wayside, struggling to survive. Still, others become convinced about writing for niche markets, which in effect means the product of their efforts will barely sell in the dozens rather than the thousands.

Face it, people, the only book that will sell in its thousands is the one whose subject matter initially provokes curiosity in the mind of the often fickle potential reader. A growing number of writers cling desperately to the belief that by writing in a largely unpopular genre, the product of their toil will be noticed.

How many times recently have I seen writers desperate to sell their wares, spend money time, and effort to change a cover for instance, and to produce actual paperback copies, which they then hawk around the many small-time book fairs, largely at their own expense?

In the end none of the aforesaid will make a damned bit of difference if your favourite genre is currently out of fashion. To my mind, this kind of thinking is nothing more than an example of self-induced vanity press. In other words, spending money you can ill afford.

Just remember this – if you have to shell out good money to get your manuscript edited by a so-called professional, you have to recover that cost as well as the cost of the cover and printing before you are in profit – something which a lot of modern-day writers ignore at their peril.

Next comes the biggest stumbling block for a lot of writers – editing and proofreading. Many pay someone to edit for them. But, using the ‘look inside’ feature available on Amazon, it would appear that many mainstream editors let alone self-published writers simply fail to use a Spellchecker, common to all writing software packages. The same goes for the humble Grammar checker – patently ignored by the majority.

How many even use the Lookup or Synonym features, accessed simply by right-clicking over a word? Not many obviously.

We now arrive at colloquial language and writing in the first person. Many fall into the trap of using colloquial language when two characters are conversing within the context of a story – bad idea! The other big no-no is to write in the first person. It is not easy to do.

The use of first person is chock full of pitfalls for the unsuspecting. Avoid using it if you can. Loathsome as it may be, even third person is preferable.

Finally, remember this simple fact, the product of all your hard work is just one among millions currently available. If its content doesn’t stand out, it is destined to sit in the literary equivalent of the doldrums forever more. No amount of cover changes, giveaways and signed copies in an internet contest will increase its chances of becoming a best seller one iota…

  1. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Thank you for writing this article Jack – far too much has been happening regarding the reviews – it only takes a few people who are for one reason or another on the other side of the story, who try to ruin an author, which should be up to the author’s reader, not judged by an unknown who may toss insults for no reason, but control is needed when it comes to what anyone can write about a stranger, or friend alike, in public places.

    I feel writing is a personal thing for many people, and sometimes it is actually a countless total of words to reach a place they have never been – but tried to get there but opening up with a first or second book is therapeutic. They may not be writing to win awards, but in their mind they are winners. There is no harm to publish, but there is harm with regards to harassing an author.

    As I have always believed, let it be.. Sincerely, Nancy

    1. Avatar of Jack Eason
      Jack Eason says

      Thank you for responding Nancy. Re what most of us would refer to as internet troll attacks I direct your attention to the following:

  2. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Me again, I had to get that out concerning first time authors. But, now regarding your topic here. I am one who is extremely in love with true stories, based on facts. As a ghost writer I have written, and I am writing a memoir – mind you the interviewing for the book took one year, and then, additional questions along the way. I never lived their life, I had to walk in their shoes. So, it is told to you by the wife, and it falls into many conversations, letters, and so forth. It has many high and low points like any novel, with the climax, but memoirs coming from the one who experienced it, perhaps is popular today, and told in many different ways – I cannot compare them to fiction – by any means. Sincerely, Nancy

  3. Avatar of Robert Politz
    Robert Politz says

    How pragmatic and observant you are Jack. Hopefully (Terrible use for that word; should be, I am hopeful), I and others will learn from your advice.

  4. Avatar of Jack Eason
    Jack Eason says

    You and me both RH. I’m on a continual learning curve. 🙂

  5. Avatar of Jack Eason
    Jack Eason says

    You know you have made it as a writer when your work appears on a ‘hate list’ set up by an internet troll. 😉

  6. Avatar of Andrea Anderson
    Andrea Anderson says

    Well said.

  7. Avatar of Jack Eason
    Jack Eason says

    Thank you Anderson 🙂

  8. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    I know how easy it is for people to take their frustration out on another, for one reason or another, and Jack, I love your advise from the internet troll – the hate list. I think people are out there ready to attack, it’s a game, kind of like when, a young girl, I ordered a birthday cake and had it delivered to someone, and it wasn’t their birthday – but, girls played pranks on boys who were not giving them enough attention, in the seventh grade. LOL So my comparison to the troll because of technology is from a girls point of view. ROFLOL. Imagine, it really is shameful that someone’s life as a writer could be damaged within seconds – but like you said, if they are attacking you, they have something to worry about. I agree. A writer without hope, wouldn’t be part of group (I think they travel in groups, like the groupies of another generation) needs to play down something better than themselves. Loved the link… Sincerely, Nancy

    1. Avatar of Jack Eason
      Jack Eason says
  9. Avatar of Ilia Davidovich
    Ilia Davidovich says

    Jack, thank you very much for a great article. I agree, trolls are annoying. The best way to fight them is ignoring them.

  10. Avatar of Joyce White
    Joyce White says

    A while back I got 10 wonderful reviews, then out of nowhere this writer comes in and criticizes everything and said my book was a disappointment. What does a writer do to protect themselves by these trolls? I feel Ilia is right. I just ignored this but it still bothers me sometimes. Nice artical.

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