Recently I read a self-published novel by an award-winning author. I was disappointed. It was obvious that the author either tried to self-edit or used an independent editor that was not up to the task. As I read through the book, I found numerous errors that were probably caused by relying on a word processor and blindly allowing changes. Some examples: the word except was used instead of accept; I was used instead of eye; and by was used when the word should have been buy. There were also numerous places where words were omitted or a word was split improperly on the page.
I think the story was probably a good one. However, every time I ran into an obvious error, and they appeared in nearly every chapter, I was distracted. I am not sure if the story really has places that need work because the transition from time period to time period isn’t working or if I was just sidetracked by the mistakes.
Reading this novel reinforced my belief that self-publishing isn’t an easy route. Although at times it may be the most profitable route; and sometimes it may be the only possible option—such as the publishing of specialized works. It still requires that someone perform all of the steps that are typically required when a book is published by one of the large publishing houses.
Editing any written work is a critical element. “Poor editing” results in “poor quality.”’ It is very difficult to proofread ones own works. We tend to read what we think we wrote, not what is really on the page. In this new world of self-publishing it is imperative that, as writers, we recognize what we are good at and what we need to have some one else do for us. I hope this author finds a good editor before he/she attempts to self-publish another book. It would be a shame to see a career derailed by poor editing.