Rage against indie writers

by
Stella Deleuze
One bigmouth with an even bigger rage against Indies

I love a good poke. Did it work? Please say yes, because that would make me happy. Relax, I’m only kidding. But I meant it when I said I have a rage against Indies. Just to clarify, it’s not all of them, that would be stupid; after all I’m self-published, too, but many of them. Why? Well, you may want to sit down and pour yourself a chamomile tea, just to be on the safe side; I don’t want you to fall off your chair or hurt yourself jumping up in order to throttle me.


Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

Sitting comfortably? Good. Now, listen, I’m not a bitch. Okay, maybe I am, but only a bit. What are you on about? you wonder. Well, let’s put it this way: I’ve probably made a few enemies by publishing my massive rant about self-published authors. Not because I hate them so much, but because I hate what they’re doing, or not doing. The trigger for my writing Rage Against The Indie in the first place was that I experienced something I’ve never experienced before: deleting book, after book, after book on my Kindle. Self-published books, that is. And as you can imagine, I wasn’t a happy camper. You see, I only read thirty to fifty minutes in bed, just before I close my eyes and drift off into wonderful dreams. I’ve counted on a few occasions: I read about ten pages of a normal paperback in an hour. That’s roughly 3000 words. I know, very slow, but I’m thorough and read every single word. 


That’s probably one reason for my being so picky about what I read, the other two hundred and fifty-seven reasons are that I’m an editor and know a thing or two about writing. Once you gain access to that knowledge, there’s no way back; you can’t flick a switch and . . .  boom . . . be a pure reader again. It’s impossible, and that means you have some sort of expectations. Don’t get me wrong. I love my light, easy-to-read chick lit, and I also like young adult fiction, nothing fancy. Something nice to relax to, but light and easy doesn’t mean it needs to lack quality. Even chick lit fares better if the characters are well developed and the author knows how to craft a decent story. I hate to see a good premise being destroyed by awful and repetitive writing. Good storytellers aren’t necessarily good writers, but at least they have the basics: a good story to start with. Some might blossom into decent writers, some won’t.

And then you have people who think they’re good storytellers, or writers, but aren’t. Those who go and invent the most hideous, far-fetched, and unbelievable stories, broadly announcing they’re sure they’ve written a bestseller, no, even worse: they’re convinced. And because they get rejection after rejection, they want to prove to the world that they’re worth it, that their writing is brilliant, mostly without success.

I personally lost count on how many books I’ve deleted. Most of the authors were too lazy to learn the basic skills a writer needs to know: character and story-development, show/tell, natural sounding dialogue, plus the attributes (punctuation and tags), apostrophes, etc. 




They hack their silly stories into their keyboard and expect the world to stand still when they publish their magnum opus. And if the public dares to point out that there’s no talent hidden anywhere, the divas of self-publishing won’t have it; no, it’s the reader who’s too stupid to understand their rather simple, girl loves boy, boy loves other girl, and happy end story. Those authors will continue to write and unleash their unreadable, flat-characters-featured, and error-riddled novels oblivious to the obvious.

On the other end are authors who take great pride in what they’re doing; editing, revising, and polishing until they’re sure readers will be able to appreciate the story, but they get drowned in the muddy waters of self-publishing.


So after a year of regularly venting my frustration on my blog, I decided to write a ‘manual’ on self-editing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be my forte. The vision I had for the self-editing book didn’t translate as well as I would’ve liked, and I was just about to give up on the thought when another post on the Amazon forum gave me an idea. I had my solution: rant my head off and include the how to not behave on social media platforms and advice on editing.


I know the book will ruffle quite a few feathers, but I can live with that. I’ve always been one to speak my mind, and why not? In fact, I think that many who follow my blog or read the book will sigh, clichédly roll their eyes, and nod as they’ve had similar experiences with either Indie authors or their books. I’m only saying aloud what many already think. My take on this is: we self-published authors, who work our arses off to produce books that can compare with the standards of traditional publishing, need to stand up and tell those who don’t care or show little respect to our craft, that we won’t accept to be tarred with the same brush.


Author Stella Deleuze

Stella Deleuze is the author of two published novels and two collections of short stories. Having spent almost all of her life in Germany, she now lives in
beautiful London with her pet iguana, Zorro. 



When she is not writing, she edits other people’s work. You’ll find her regularly ranting on the Amazon.UK forum, raising hackles and pointing out to newbie authors their mistakes–whether they want to know or not!


Be afraid, be very afraid.






The Death of Grammar (and the English language) in e-readers.

As language evolves and Kindle makes it all too easy to publish I can see a time where spelling is simplified. The long-standing “joke” of spelling changing to how it’s pronounced is now the norm in texing, but that’s because of lack of space and the tiny keyboard.

But is it time the English word is simplified like American spellings? Color for colour (why the “u”?), Yogurt for yoghurt (who pronounces the “Y”?) and grey. I mean, can you HEAR the “E”? So why not use the American spelling GRAY?

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Noooooo!

The English language dates so far back there aren’t any records of the first words (ugg?), and anyway English has been so reconstructed from the UK’s neighbouring countries that our common language is a mixture of French, Latin and others. It’s beautifully old, so to hear it change and American English creep in is a shame.

American English is beautiful in its own right, but that’s where it has to stay. I don’t want to eat chocolate colored yogurt – I want to eat chocolate coloured yoghurt. I want to pull my hair out in frustration trying to figure out the differences between practise and practice, and not give in and use the one with the two curly kuz, as my little boy calls them. 


But this article isn’t only about the fast-evolving English language, it’s about the lack of grammar in ebooks. Typos happen and even editors miss them (some traditionally published books prove this!), but we owe it to ourselves to make our books as error-free as possible. This means investing in not one, but two or more, proof-readers and editors. 

Edit your book yourself, and ONLY when you think it’s perfect offer it to one or more beta readers. Put your wounded pride on the back burner (no space for pride in this job!) and take on board their suggestions. Re-edit your book. Read aloud your book; dust off your old cassette deck and use that even. Go through it line by line and then, and only then, seek out a professional. 

Children are like sponges when it comes to knowledge and are highly influenced, and so as a parent I want to feel I am helping them learn by giving them books to read. Image my horror when my eight year old insisted that the word existence is spelt existance all because he saw it in a book! 
 

It is with reluctance that I allow my children to read ebooks now unless I vet them first and that’s a shame. But if I’m lacking faith in ebooks, an Indie writer, you can be certain there are others who regard them like people regard *reality TV!

If a traditionally published book has a typos it is classed as an editing or printing error, if Indies have one it’s ALWAYS the author’s fault. People LOOK for errors. Making our books low-priced is NO excuse for being cheap.

It’s time we got serious.

Here are some howlers: 
http://www.funnytypos.com/

And websites that help: 
100 Most Often Mispelled Misspelled Words in English
Commonly Misspelled English Words

*Reality TV – has its place, but for low-intelligent people who wouldn’t spot quality TV if they fell over it. 
Ouch! But that’s where ebooks are heading unless WE do something about it.