Sunday, February 5, 2017

Delusional Authors Follow-up

So, a while back I wrote about Delusional Authors and posted about a friend and the book they wanted to release. The book had all sorts of problems (eg, no editing, massive plot holes, etc.), but - despite being a hot mess - did indeed get published.  The results were interesting enough to warrant a follow-up.

First of all, I think I only mentioned it in one of the comments to that prior post, but my friend actually has an excellent storytelling voice.  However, they aren't willing to do all the things necessary to make a book fit for human consumption.  Moreover, many of the same issues (lack of editing, and so on) were present in the second book in the series, which also got published.

Anyway, the books were limping along, getting middling page reads and minimal sales - nothing to write home about, but enough to make the potential evident.  So I came up with a book promotion plan which my friend acquiesced to.  The promotion went moderately well, but afterwards, the book went screaming up the charts.

Over the next month, my friend's publishing income increased exponentially, and they actually broke into the Top 1000 authors on Amazon. Needless to say, there were a couple of absolutely scathing reviews (which was to be expected), but overall readers were very generous and gave the books a big thumbs-up.  The first book now has an average of 4 stars on Amazon, while the second book has 4.6.

I was as shocked as anyone by the results.  I mean, the books seriously needed a lot more work to even meet minimal publishable standards, in my opinion.  However, the results speak for themselves.  I attribute the success to a) the willingness of readers to embrace a good story despite technical flaws in the book, and b) the fact that the story itself was truly engaging.  (Also, the books do appear to have good covers and well-written blurbs.)  However, I wouldn't advise any author worth their salt to publish a book like this.  In my opinion, readers are simply far too demanding of quality, and - although you'll occasionally hear about someone having success with a book like this (and writing that would give an English Lit professor a heart attack) - this type of thing is clearly the exception rather than the rule.

Now, of course my friend is getting ready to wrap up Book 3 in the series and get the audiobook out for Book 1.  Needless, to say, I'm really curious to see what happens.


  1. I think I mentioned this last time as well, but I do have some authors who I follow and like their plots but despise their writing.

    1. I lump that under that the category of readers being generous and forgiving as long as the book hits certain high-water marks.

  2. Personally I've seen several authors in recent years who have gone the road of self-editing(bad choice in my opinion) or editing through a well-intentioned and hopefully grammatically competent beta reader. Both times, though more the former than the latter in my experience, it ends up with the books being rife with errors. Anything from simple typos, to conjugation, homophones, and grammatical inaccuracies.

    Some of these are simple enough to gloss over without breaking immersion or losing suspension of belief, but some of them remind me of papers I wrote in Middle School, not fit for public consumption. There was one, that came through Amazon, after being rejected by the Kindle Scout program, that I was very interested in based on the blurb. It was horrifying awful. If I had to guess, the author never even considered beta readers or advice from others. I spent an hour crafting a pointed review on it and still wish I had doubled it in length with more specific examples. It was a book full of promise that was just so poorly done that I wanted to ask for my $0.99 back. The book in question is The Horror Film by K. Anderson Yancy.

    And I kind of want to blame it on the last two generations of nascent readers. While it's nice to see some of them get interested in reading, so many don't have any grasp of spelling or grammar. Add that to the detrimental effects of twitter and texting (I know, this is just my opinion) and even the slight decay brought on by self-publishing (It is wonderful that it's possible but the ability to update their book afterwards leaves a lot of people less concerned with getting it right the first time, much like video game and software developers looking to patch things on launch day) and you end up with a culture that is rapidly forgetting that their is a difference between red and read, their and there, and in some cases, usually where English is a second language, that adding -ed to a verb is not the only possible conjugation.

    Most of the time I overlook it and try to enjoy the book on the merits of its story. But there are a few that have a score of notes highlighted in my Kindle for forwarding to the author or translator as soon as I have finished reading. I realize that some of the issue, particularly in the case of self-editing is a cost saving measure and you can't always be sure that your beta readers know more about spelling and grammar than you do, but there are people out there who will literally jump at the chance to beta read and offer basic help with editing for free. I just wish more authors (not you) would grasp this opportunity.

    Sorry if I rambled or became downright incoherent there for a minute, it's an issue that has been weighing on my mind for a while now. In fact I've been planning on writing a rant on it. If I ever take the time to stop reading and write it.

    1. I think self-editing is extraordinarily difficult when it comes to writing books. On that front, my advice to other authors has always been "Don't do it."

      With respect to bad books, part of the problem is that anyone can publish a book these days. That is a both a good thing and a bad thing. It's great that all the old gatekeepers are gone, but it also means that if you're going to self-publish then you - as the author - have to set the bar when it comes to your brand. Not everyone embraces that concept the way they should.

      As to ranting or rambling, feel free. I'm happy to have my blog be a place to discuss these kinds of issues.

  3. Massive plot holes? Sounds like a number of famous books that I have read by authors that are considered greats. And these are books that they force us to read in high school. Like Citizen Kane, and Great Expectations. Read those two sometime and realize that each in their own way has a plot hole you could drive a semi truck through.

  4. I think I tend to agree with the general consensus here. Self publishing is awesome. I mean without it we would not have the books we enjoy today. The publishers are probably going crazy and losing profit because of it though.

    As for self editing, I would not suggest it at all. There have been many books I have read that I wonder if they bothered to use spell checker. The stories probably would have been really good except I wanted to get a my highlighter out and make corrections. This pretty much ruined what could have been a great story.

    So on the reviews of I see the author had a lot of editing errors. It makes me cautious about buying and reading the book. I know this would effect the sales of the books as well.


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