Thursday 2 June 2011

Story is king - but alone does not make a good book

I’m reading a self-published book. It was sent to me because the author wanted a mainstream publisher to take it on. Very flattering: our little indie has been labelled “mainstream”.
There is a lot wrong with the book, and I hope my publishing company would never publish anything as bad. Lots of run-on sentences. Punctuation all over the place. Chapter titles in the wrong places. Even hideous mistakes in the blurb. Overwriting. Wasted words. More legal information than a lay person can cope with.   
And yet: I keep on reading. The story is gripping. I’m a just a few pages from the end and there are still twists and turns. I’m resisting the urge to look at the last page. I’m sure this would make an excellent six-part drama.  
The book has sold 500 copies on the efforts of the author. It has a good endorsement from a person in the same trade as one of its main characters.
Sadly, though, it makes a fool of its author.
It should have been edited.
Self-publishers must get their work edited. Unfortunately, this is one of the major costs in publishing a book. The most successful self-publishers do this. I’m about to self-publish a book and I am paying an editor. I’m fairly certain they won’t have too much work to do, but they’ll spot any incongruities, things that aren’t clear and the odd typo or grammatical mistake.    
Sadly, the book I’ve been asked to read would take so much fixing that a publishing house hasn’t got enough editor hours to do that. A free-lance would earn quite a lot editing this book, but can the author afford to pay? The editor would have to rewrite the book, in effect. So, it would be rejected by a publisher. Shame! It’s a great story.   

No comments:

Post a Comment