Clifton Falls by L. A. Taylor, or How Self-Publishing Makes Me Very Sad

When an author tells you they don’t like to read, you automatically get that that sinking feeling in your gut. When they tell you they basically have no need of an editor, you get that same feeling, only ten times worse. I read half the book, skimmed the rest, emailed the author, then went back and finished reading more thoroughly, very nearly praying that I wouldn’t find the truths I sought. Waxing poetic there…anyway, yeah, well…

I can’t get those hours back.

The story is convoluted and while it could have been woven together better (this is where an EDITOR would have helped immensely), as is, it’s confusing and the subplots have the feeling of being tacked on. The story itself wasn’t bad. Generic zombie plot and all. The characters were interesting and on their way to a proper development. BUt then the whole not-reading thing got in the way. There are just ‘things’ a writers learns  from reading other authors’ work. How do you write a book, without reading? It’s like a zombie hunter trying to kill zombies, but not knowing to aim for the head.

This is my problem with self-publishing. Note: I don’t have a problem with self-publishing in general–I have one book out and will release another fairly soon. I have a problem with just ‘anybody’ self-publishing.

I remember when having a book published meant something. A writer worked hard to write and polish and edit and develop that book. They’d spent MONTHS in slush piles. Months researching which agent, editor, publisher to send it to. Months waiting to hear back from agents and publishers. Years of their lives could be consumed with just getting one book published.

It used to mean something.

It still does, occasionally. Your book can get picked up by any of a million small presses, or one of the bigger indie publishers, or, miraculously, a brick-and-mortar publisher. Hard work can pay off.

Lots of writers go the self-release route. Many are fantastic authors who are tired of the  struggle. The difference between this type of writer, and the pot-boilers? They want their books to be amazing, and it shows. They put money and time and effort into having their books edited, into cover art, into marketing and promotion. They have a product they can stand behind and be proud of.

The way I look at it is, if you’re going to spend the time and put the effort into writing a book, do it the right way. Hire an editor. Can’t afford an editor? Trade. Bargain. Deal. Find a way to make it happen. Nothing destroys a good book faster than lack of editing.

And in ebooks, FORMATTING. That was my other major issue with this particular book. The first couple dozen pages were formatting properly. After that…it was nearly unreadable in places.

Maybe I’m a snob. I don’t know…I just feel if you’re going to offer a product for sale, you want it to be worth the money. A  confusing, unedited, unformatted, half-assed book sorta blows. Especially when it has potential, and the author just doesn’t care enough to make it into everything it could be.


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