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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An Honest Review

I recently agreed to participate with a group of authors who sought and reciprocated book reviews. Our goal - to support one another's efforts in getting attention for our published works.

Most of the books I've read and reviewed since have been a pleasurable and entertaining experience. However, I presently find myself in a predicament.

There is an author, who shall remain nameless, whose books I find raises flags of inconsistency. Oh, there's nothing wrong with the story-line and the author does an exceptional job with the plot and characters. If I were just a reader, I would thoroughly enjoy the experience.

My problem arises when every once in a while I come across a glitch that should have been caught by a competent editor. I don't fault the author because his/her job is to get the words down and in the right order. When a publishing house takes on a project, part of the process is putting the manuscript through the experienced hands of an editor or two. So how did these obvious errors in writing get past them?

To complicate matters, I'm familiar with the publisher this author used for those two novels. A handsome chunk of the author's money has been invested in the publishing of these books.

I cannot honestly write a favorable review (which is the whole point of my reading the books.) Do I just set the books aside? Or do I (gulp!) contact the author to share my concerns directly? If you were in this author's place, what would you choose that I do?

4 comments:

  1. Hmm. I'm not sure this is apples and oranges....
    Part of the issue has been the profligate expansion of self-publishing houses. Where the goal of the publisher is to get 'as many as possible" out there... It's not to their (financial) benefit to truly edit what they are proffered- both for pecuniary reasons as well as the potential to insult the author, who may bring their work elsewhere.
    I think it's the obligation of those endeavoring to self-publish to find competent editors on their own. I know of one author who actually "crowdsourced" the project to volunteers who appreciated (or lied :-) ) the subject matter - in return for "pre-reading" and a copy of the finished work, these folks spent time reading and critiquing the tome. If I were to self-publish, this would be the way I would go....
    So, given my long preface, this is my suggestion. To speak with the author(ess) in private and say, the concept/subject matter was wonderful. But, you really want to be impressive in your presentation, and maybe crowdsourcing the next editorial function is the way one should go. Because a stellar story/exposition needs all the trimmings!

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    1. I am familiar with the publishing house she used - having used it myself for one of my books. It's not self-published but a vanity press. I contacted the author and asked if she had signed off on the book yet - she told me it had been through three editors. My next step is to pull the obvious errors out of the book and ask her to look at them specifically. Thanks for responding.

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    2. Sorry, Gay. Vanity press is part of the self-publishing concept.

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    3. I understand there are grouped together but there are differences between a vanity press publishing company and a self-published effort. I've done both; I've also used small press publishing companies.

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