Thursday, March 16, 2006

Publishing May be Your Own Personal "Hell!"

I am angry today! Good and mad, in fact! Angry at individuals and companies who think nothing about their customers, their clients...only about the money they can make!

As a book reviewer, I receive a lot of books from new authors. They are eager and concerned that they will get a good review. However, for many of them, there is so much "wrong" with the book that as a professional reviewer I must consider my own reputation in providing that review.
It is NOT easy to write a bad review. It is NOT easy to criticize someone who has worked hard to put their own words into something that will be shared with others. I find that I empathize with each one of these writers as I think back to the many reports, letters, articles that I had to produce on the job.

When I found I had a talent for helping new authors through providing book reviews, I found a new joy in a career that is supportive and helpful. It helped greatly to reduce the anger and frustration associated with the last job I had before retirement. There, too, there were people who had lost their concern for individuals, for their feelings.

There are MANY companies out there who pretend to be friends to new authors. When you look over their online web sites, you begin to hope, to believe, that
there is somebody who is going to help you break into the hardest circle in the world, I think--the world of publishing!

Now, I know that these individuals need to make money to stay in business!

But if you are going to be in business, it my opinion, you must be prepared to do everything possible to make those efforts the best possible. Instead, if a publisher is "scamming" clients, they work to ensure that "quality" is hard to come by...they announce that editors will work with these new authors. But
they really don't. And when that author comes back regarding errors in their printed book, with probably a beautiful, appropriate cover, they are told that they will have to pay for corrections...and they'll have to pay...for this...and for that...and for just this one other thing! It is so unethical! These companies hide behind so many misleading advertisements and can still dare to stay in business, continuing to look out and encourage other new writers who are waiting to be "published."

Now, the author does have some responsibility, hopefully having had their work edited or at least proofread by a competent assistant prior to submission. Most of the time, though, if mistakes are made by an author, as I read, I will normally find a similar statement/sentence in which the error
was correct. That to me means that the author is competent in basic writing skills, but just has read through their book so often that they are reading "what is in their mind" rather than what is "actually there on the paper." To me, that is perfectly understandable and acceptable because we all make similar errors.

However, when an individual who is paid as an editor and works for a publisher does not catch errors, to me that is totally unacceptable. Under NO circumstances could I condone proceeding to actually printing that book!  And yet, I can say without a doubt that 100% of the books submitted to me have errors in their final published book!  Maybe just a few so we don't mention them; others are so bad that we refuse to review them...who knows, the book may have been a potential best seller...but no reader is willing to wade through garbage to find it!

Well, my ranting is over, I guess...with this closing...

Writers, Beware! Your own worst enemy may be your publisher!