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Monday, 27 February 2012

SHOULD I QUIT?


This is a post that requires some feedback, and I’m hoping that will happen. The question is one that is not just for writers, but also for readers. After all, readers are the main ingredient for a novel. So, without anymore fuss and feathers, I will just asked the question: If I cannot afford to hire a professional editor, should I quit e publishing?

I have read a lot on this subject, and you know, I tend to agree with the rationale of these articles. There is no one more agreeable than I that a writer should put out the very best of his/her work.

However, having said that, I have to disagree as well, simply because we are not all well off. Does that mean that just because you can’t afford five hundred or more dollars to have your manuscript professionally edited, you must put it back in the drawer? I believe if this was the case, you would not see most e book distributors staying in business for long.

Take Smashwords for example. The whole company is built on allowing a writer to have the opportunity to publish their work. It was the main purpose of the founder who could not find an appropriate publisher so decided to do his own publishing. He thought he would extend it to others and has made a success out of it, and found perhaps an additional field such as public speaking about the whole process.

I, therefore, see no harm in it. Where once upon a time, all writers work was placed in the hands of a publisher who had editors on staff to correct what the writer missed, now, with e publishing, it seems to be left up to the reader. And I don’t mean that the reader gets to edit the writing, of course, what I mean is that the reader is the one who decides what they choose to read.

Most novels and short stories that are published allow the reader to sample the writing. At Smashwords it can be as large a chunk of writing as the writer decides. A writer can choose to allow a reader to read up to or past 50 percent of the book. Most don’t, but it is allowable if a writer should choose to do so.

I would think that with even a 20 percent allowable download sample, a reader can then make up their mind if they wish to pay to read the rest. If they do, then stop complaining. Everyone has a choice.

In an ideal world everything that is written and published would be professionally polished before it hit the market. But we all know this is not an ideal world. We all want to make money, we all have to live and pay for what we need in this life, we all do it different ways.
I say, for those that can afford a professional editor to look over their work before they send it out for the readers to devour, then by all means do it. It is the best way.

But for those that can’t afford it, do your best. Don’t be sloppy and just publish anything without doing your best to do your own editing.
I've gone over my own novels at least ten times and more. I agree also that the writer is the last person who sees mistakes because they are too close to the work. But we do what we can.

For example, I have up to seven or eight novels on the go now, some are published, some are not yet. Should I be lucky enough to find a professional editor who only charged me the minimal fee of five hundred dollars, I would be looking at maybe four thousand dollars, before I ever put a word out on the market to regain anything back.

Sorry, but maybe I don’t believe in my work enough, that could be said, or maybe I just don’t want to give someone four thousand dollars, and perhaps still end up with errors in my books.

Recently while pondering over certain ways to say certain things in my writing, and not being satisfied with what I found in grammar books or through online grammar authoritarians, I went to the source and scanned some recent novels by big-name authors with big-name publishers.

I was stunned. What I found were many discrepancies. One for example would have a word like tellin’ while another would just write tellin. I am talking about in written dialogue, when a writer is trying to show vernacular and pronunciation. (on a side note with this comes the problem of always cutting off the ‘g’ for every word ending in ‘g’ that this particular character says. And that could be daunting to remember to do and get hard on the eyes for the reader as well. But I digress.)

I found a missing comma in one line, where the very same statement in another line, had a comma. This is professional editing I’m talking about. But no one seems to make a big deal of it. I’ve found misspelled words on occasion, as I’m sure every reader has. The deal is that when you are reading a professional edited work, from a well-known writer that you love to read, you carry on without even thinking much about it. You realize that mistakes are inevitable.

But, it is the poor indie publisher that gets scorned, put down, ragged on about how they should have had a professional editing done before they even considered putting work out there for the public to see.

It’s all very frustrating. And maybe in time it will all work itself out. As many have said, eventually, the cream of the crop will rise to the top. The others will sink to the bottom.

So, should we just leave it that way, and leave it up the readers to buy and read what they want? It seems that is what the distributors are suggesting.

And we aren't talking here about books that cost anywhere from twenty to fifty or more dollars. We are talking about anywhere from 99 cents to probably four or five dollars, nine at the most. Isn’t it up to the reader to decide if they want to take a chance and purchase? After all they did get to read that sample.

This is one post that I would like to see feedback on. Otherwise I am left here just talking to myself and no better off. So, please can we have a discussion? I would truly like to hear what other writers think, and most of all what the readers think and how they judge what to buy in today’s overflowing market of available books.

One thing that boggles my mind is when a reader is upset because they wasted their time reading a book after they’ve paid nothing for it. It just seems humourous to me. I’ve seen people return books that were FREE. Isn’t that kind of a waste of time? It cost you nothing, you read it and decided it wasted your time. Move on.

I’ve said enough and am left with the same question. Should I quit just because I can’t afford a professional editor? That will be determined sometime in the future I suppose.

Any thoughts? Yay or Nay for only professionally edited books.

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