Although I love to write, reading is also one of my most pleasurable pastimes.
I try to support Indie authors by downloading a new author’s work whenever I have time to read. I always write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads if I think they’re good. But… rather than write a bad review, I just don’t do any review for the books I don’t think are up to standard. I think readers will all agree there are many books out there that are just not ready for publication and need a lot more work.
I love editing and my hands itch to get hold of some of these books and help whip them into shape, but it is very time consuming and for that reason I have to charge people for editing services. (http://www.youselfpublish.com).
The most common mistake I find is verbosity. The author babbles on and on, often about the same thing, and eventually I (and I’m willing to bet other readers) just get bored and stop reading the story. Example– when your characters are on the phone, nobody wants to read about them exchanging pleasantries;
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, how are you?”
“I’m okay. I went out to dinner last night.”
Please get to the meat of the conversation. Tight writing people! Don’t use two words when you only need one. Use strong verbs. Don’t be repetitive. Don’t spell everything out for your readers–give them credit for some intelligence to work things out for themselves.
Am I the perfect writer? No, of course not. I’ve thought of self-publishing, but am lucky enough to have had my manuscripts accepted by two different publishers so far. The downside of this is that one has to wait a year to get published, but the upside far outweighs that for me, because I’ve had the services of a couple of wonderful editors. They have pointed out the flaws, shown me when the timeline doesn’t gel, and helped me re-craft each story, and I will always be indebted to them.
One thing that bugs me more than anything are the so-called POD publishers — Publish America and iUniverse are two that come to mind. I think they are evil because they lure unsuspecting writers into thinking they have written a masterpiece. They make them sign a contract giving away their rights for years, and then they don’t offer any editing help. Grrr! I was shocked and embarrassed when someone told me my first book, Way Out of Line was sorely in need of editing. I stopped promoting the book and waited seven years to get my rights back from Publish America. As soon as I did, I submitted it to Uncial Press, and with the help of my wonderful editor Jude, reworked it and made it into a story I could be proud of.
I’d love to hear what other readers and writers do about reviews. Do you think it’s your duty to write a bad review to warn other readers not to bother with a book, or do you just pass?