I thought I’d left the rantings behind at my last blog. I’m afraid, however, that I’ve now seen too much and can’t but help throw a little wobbler here. Deservedly so, I feel.
First of all, I’d like to apologise if you are one of those I’m about have a pop at, but to be honest, you probably wouldn’t categorise yourself as one of those people anyway. Or maybe not. Maybe you know the crimes you’re guilty of and simply don’t care.
So what’s got me all riled up then? Well, as a new author, I’m naturally curious as to what else is out there and I frequently go and check out the competition. Often I do this for ideas and inspiration (no, not for my book; I can do that on my own), but more for marketing ideas, places to promote, etc.
Did you spot how I cheekily bent the use of grammar to my will just then? If you didn’t, that’s fine because it worked out well, but I definitely broke the rules I think.
Anyway. Where was I…?
Oh yes. So I’m there looking at other people’s work and I cannot believe the amount of tosh that’s out there. I look on Amazon and constantly find badly written, poorly grammarsized and downright silly synopsis’s (yes I know about the ironic mistakes but leave me alone, I’m ranting here).
It’s a synopsis people. It says come and read my book, but it reads like it was written by a five-year-old. Why would I read your book if you can’t even get a couple of paragraphs to look appetising?
Just for the record, I’ve been working my 100-word synopsis for months now, and I’m still not happy with it. I will be one day, but not yet. Why? Because it needs to be BETTER THAN PERFECT, that’s why.
So, occasionally, if I can get past reading the synopsis, and my interest is piqued, I’ll “Look inside”… and quickly wish that I hadn’t.
And it’s not only Amazon.
Just today, I was looking on a blog and I started reading an excerpt from somebody’s book… with a bloody typo in it!
Here’s the part that got my goat:
…made her way to adjacent bistro to pick up some…
We need a ‘the’ or a ‘an’ in this, don’t we?
I mean, come on people. If you’re lucky enough to get an excerpt released on a blog that has a good following, then check, check and CHECK IT AGAIN. Not just for spelling and grammar, but for everything. There should not be a comma out of place. How are people gonna think your book is any good if your excerpt isn’t properly polished? Geez.
Another example I found was a fictional book about the semicolon. I thought this was a brilliant concept and went on to have a “Look inside”. And I was impressed, to begin with. The book was clever and quite well written. But then it all came tumbling down. Within the first few pages I spotted a grammatical mistake. And guess which piece of punctuation was wrong? (There’s a clue just above) That’s right. It was a missing/misused semicolon. Arrrrgh… plants head on desk in dismay. Why, why, why?
(I will just say here that my use of the semicolon is sketchy at best… but I’m not writing a bloomin’ book on the thing am I?)
Now, I’m blogging and tweeting and facing and commenting and responding and any other ‘ing’ that I can think of to try and connect with other authors and so maybe I shouldn’t be slagging them off. But what’s going on, folks? There’s rubbish everywhere.
Of course, I really should be happy when checking out the competition as a lot of it – not all of it, by any means – but a lot of it, is crap. I should be thinking this is great news: a bit like turning up to run a marathon and seeing every other runner has just the one leg. But I don’t feel like this. I feel that all this nonsense out there is just making it harder for us; you know, those of us who actually want to put out a well-crafted piece of work. Surely we’re just going to get lost among the chaff? How long before people give up looking for books and hire a movie instead because the majority of what they find is twaddle? (Or maybe I worry that I’m actually one of these offenders without even realising it and in future others will look at my work and shout at the screen?) I don’t think so, though, if I’m honest.
Granted, the stuff I’m referring to in this post is mostly self-published, but that’s an avenue I may wish to pursue. I don’t want self-publishing to have such a horrendous reputation by the time that I get there that it becomes unfeasible, so please. Sort it out.
I didn’t want to name names in this post and if, for some bizarre reason, you are the author of either of the above examples I have used, well, I’m sorry. But please be aware that you are just a few of many.
It’s not just me is it? Perhaps if you’re a new writer (or experienced one) and you feel the same, you could let me know that I’m not alone in this? Thank you.
And thanks for reading.