“No noticeable typos or weird grammar errors, I’m usually knocked out of the story by those so this was nice.” – from a review of Chameleon Assassin.
I always read the 1- and 2-star reviews before I buy a book. That’s where reviewers who are bothered by poor writing and editing voice their displeasure. I’ve taught writing at a major U.S. university and written and edited in the business world most of my working life. Like the reviewer quoted above, typos, grammatical errors, and incorrect word choices will pull me out of a story. If it happens too often, it can destroy my reading enjoyment.
The English language is complex and difficult. I find errors everywhere I read. Newspapers and the internet are especially bad, but I’ve found errors in traditionally published novels, including a Pulitzer Prize winner. Almost all book blogs and other review sites have a “Review Policy” page. Almost all of them require that books submitted to them be “professionally edited.”
Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and all the other outlets that carry author-published books do not provide editing services, nor do they check the books they sell for quality of writing or formatting. As a result, many readers have become wary of self-published books.
Before I come across as overly smug, let me say that I would be embarrassed to present my writing without multiple editing passes. The difference between my first drafts and the final product is significant. I’m also a believer that no one is qualified to edit their own work. I do clean it up as much as I can before I send it to my editor, but I’m always shocked at how much she corrects. I’m also always pleased at how much better the books read after suffering from her attention.
Self-published books fit into three tiers. Books in the top tier are indistinguishable from books from the traditional publishing houses. They have attractive covers, good writing, are cleanly edited and properly formatted.
The second tier books are distinguished by a lack of editing. Many have interesting, compelling stories, but they have typos, word choice and grammatical errors, passive constructions, and other issues that a good editor would have caught and corrected.
Some of these authors enjoy considerable success. As one told me recently, “I really don’t think that a few typos/mistakes spread around make much of a difference considering that, again, I’m reading a book now and there are typos and even a few plot holes in the story which I am enjoying anyway (she’s a super best selling author!).”
The problem wasn’t typos, it was wrong word choices and poor grammar. She had paid an editor, and maintained that she couldn’t afford another one because of the money she spent on a cover and formatting. Unfortunately, her editor wasn’t very good.
The third tier books are so poorly written that they sink into oblivion fairly quickly. The chances a reader will even find them on Amazon or B&N are slim. Amazon has six million books in their store, and those with sales ranks below a million don’t show up in general searches.
The good news is that more and more self-published authors are embracing professionalism and producing a quality product. Many readers are unaware that the authors they enjoy are self-published. I’m currently reading a book by a best-selling traditionally-published author, but the book I’m reading was self-published.
About Chameleon Assassin
by B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic dystopian
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.
Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.
There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.
About the Author
I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, a teacher, and somehow found a career working with computers.
As to my other interests, I love the outdoors, especially the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied since high school, with one broken leg and one torn ACL to show for it. I’ve hiked and camped all my life. I love to travel, though I haven’t done enough of it. I’ve seen a lot of Russia and Mexico, not enough of England. Amsterdam is amazing, and the Romanian Alps are breathtaking. Lake Tahoe is a favorite, and someday I’d like to see Banff.
For special deals and news about new books, sign up for my newsletter.
Visit her at: