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I have been on goodreads a short time now and, last month thought i was lucky when I won a book in their giveaway. I received about 5 books from the one author who thought I might like the others and after my initial astonishment i had some doubts which proved to be very accurate.

I won’t go into details on the why and wherefore, but it certainly makes me appreciate more the books we see sitting on shelves in stores just waiting to be discovered. I appreciate not so much the actual stories and authors now, but more the whole process that goes into getting a book to that shelf.

The books i won were self published and now something i would swear never to do. The publisher that helps people self publish says in their site that they offer evaluation to get it to the basic requirements needed to self publish and give advice on how to promote etc etc. I don’t decry their efforts, but essentially they are giving false hope to a lot of people who should simply self publish for friends and family.

The lack of any editorial guidance can be disastrous for a novel. Books are often gems that need a little refining and pruning – Jay Rubin does this when translating Murakami (in consultation with the author of course), and every author needs editing. They need someone to tell them what works and doesn’t, not because they have any personal like or dislike, but want to help the work be the best it can be. Its a process that takes time, effort and teamwork and its not about spell checking and punctuation.

The 5 books were, as i explained on goodreads reviews – pretty awful and i didn’t like them. The author cliched himself within one book with a set number of events – cancer (ovarian), sport, investigating a crime and ending up hired by the FBI, at least 1 virgin per book, too much sex and not enough detail or thought into events and emotions. eg: spending 2 pages on honeymoon sex and 2 lines on the death of a son …

There were also some oversights in wording such as ‘insight his furore’ rather than ‘incite his furore’, hippos that scamper, water that changes direction from one side of equator to the other (whole rivers not just a glass). They might not seem important, but they do irritate. Persist ant use of ‘imagine that’ made me grind my teeth.

The descriptions of what the books were about were also misleading to the content and the selected artwork was obviously stock images which doesn’t help. while i don’t think books should be judged by their covers, they do have to attract attention and not look cheap and tacky.

I understand why there is a slush pile now…

I would definitely want to go through an editorial process, however painful it could be, simply because i wouldn’t want a critic like me to get their hands on it in a self published state 😉

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