Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thoughts on Self Publishing

I love supporting new and unpublished authors, and have met quite a few of them. As has been said, everyone has at least one story to tell. I would never for one moment think that because an author is unpublished it means they’re not talented. After all, here I am (you saw that one coming, didn’t you?).

One of my oldest friends has self-published a book although it is non-fiction, and I do believe that non-fiction is a different situation. My friend Linda McKnight is a long time preschool teacher and parent and wrote the book Mommy's Rainy Day Survival Guide.

Once, while searching author sites on the Internet, I came across a Podcast with an author who shall remain nameless for reasons that will become apparent. This setting was a wonderful opportunity for the author to plug her novel. In the course of the Podcast, I learned that the author had self-published. I went to her website, anxious to read an excerpt of the novel they were discussing. Finally, I arrived and began reading. Now. I’m not an editor, but I quickly learned that the author had not taken the time to hire a proofreader, let alone an editor.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s wise to take a manuscript to print without a quick look-see by an editor or at least a member of the Grammar Police (of which I am a card carrying member, ahem). The author’s work contained numerous spelling and grammatical errors, and horrors ---- the use of the wrong “there”! I have been called a grammar Nazi before, but really -- if you don’t know the difference between there/their/they’re, perhaps an editor could help!

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have come across an issue like this one in self-publishing. This is not cool because it gives self-publishing a bad name. This may be at the heart of the issue that agents and publishing houses have with self-published authors. Of course, this could be avoided by hiring an editor before publishing your final draft.

You may have a great story, but you will turn off most readers if you can’t spell. They will wonder if the rest of your story is worth reading or perhaps you just fell into some money and decided to spend it on self-indulgence, publishing a story that few people other than your family members will read.

*Disclaimer: this post was written and published without the use of a professional editor.