Sunday, 15 April 2012

Tip of the week: choose your publisher wisely

Self-publishing still has a negative reputation, and often rightly so, as many books lack good editing and proofing. More and more are dealing with the consequences: negative reviews, no sales, even after promotions. Some will stare at their sales, scratching their heads and wonder why they're low or non-existent, as not everyone, who downloads a free book and deletes it within one hour, will let the author know the why. I have lost count on the free books I've deleted due to not fulfilling my expectations. Just yesterday I deleted a book as I was told three times in the first few pages the same thing. I'm not retarded, dear author.
What's worse is that I'd recently read a book from a small publisher and found the editing inconsistencies very annoying. Maybe it's because I'm a rather strict editor myself; I choose one style and stick to it. When I see something like "What else could it be," he thought, I just want to cry. It's the little things that irritate me.
Or when a book is in first person point of view and the main character seems to have constant out of body experiences: I looked at her with a puzzled expression. Or even better, when the main character knows what the other characters think. That's editing basics and drives me against the wall when a publishing house is not able to get it right. Mind you, I've seen these 'thought'-inconsistencies in books published by one of the big six, too.
You know that I'm a keen supporter of new publishing companies. Even if they often don't have a lot or no money, they are still willing to invest time, love and energy in new writers, who they hope, will grow with them, perhaps even make them big -- it only takes one lucky strike and you might make millions -- although it's the exception to the rule. However, where there are good people, who might not have a background in publishing, but a real talent for editing or proofing, there are those who want to swim on the big wave and don't care so much about quality. Publishing is a hard, competitive business; sales is all that matters. So many will get accept your book and try to get it out as soon as possible, often with little or no editing.
Beware, before you submit to a new publisher, check if they're editing and how they're editing. If they have books published, buy one or two to see the quality. Ask them what they can do for you that you cannot do yourself and decide wisely. It's your name and reputation on the line. You wouldn't want to have it destroyed, just because their editor doesn't know what s/he's doing.


  1. Right Stella..the editing is a real issue.


  2. If you are an Indie, there is no substitute for farming it out to others to cast a critical eye over it. Just make sure your Beta-readers have a good command of the language in question. :)

    1. Er, yeah, I think we had this established. But what do you do when you rely on your publisher's editor and he or she doesn't know how it's done?