Help! This book is Horrid!

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Help! This book is Horrid!

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heinäkuu 18, 2007, 10:08am

Ok so I received a review copy from AuthorHouse. I know, self-publication, my expectations were low. But this was worse than I ever could have imagined. Passive verbs, grammatical errors, misspelled words, bizarre adverbial clauses, nameless characters, well you get the picture.

Typically, I would weigh the novels strengths and weakness against each other. However, this novel leaves absolutely nothing to praise (and it's almost 400 pages long!). What should I do? I want to maintain a good relationship with the publicist, but I've read better rough drafts in college.

heinäkuu 18, 2007, 10:39am

I would drop a note to the publicist posthaste and detail what you've found. If they are worth their paycheck, they should know that they're shoveling manure and maybe angle for a blurb which would not require you endorsing the book (or even finishing it) that might go something like: "An intriguing concept which appears to over-reach its vehicle."

Back when I was a "small publisher" I had a couple of books come in that were fascinating but exhibited the word-skills of my 11-year-old. In one case (with the blessing of the "author") I completely re-wrote the fiction half of the book (it was an NLP training manual with a fictional "expression" of the techniques) to make it publishable ... it sounds like the book you're looking at needed an invisible re-write too!

heinäkuu 18, 2007, 2:47pm

I'm wondering, since it is an author controlled process, does the publicist really care? Isn't AuthorHouse making it's money by offering POD services to authors and therefore willing to publish anyone?

heinäkuu 18, 2007, 3:05pm

Well, yes ... but your expressed concern was "to maintain a good relationship with the publicist". In the interest of that, I'd say communicate to them the issues that you are having with the book!

heinäkuu 18, 2007, 3:22pm

Thanks, so much for your advice BTRIPP. I will certainly send an email to the publicist right away.

heinäkuu 21, 2007, 11:36am

the question of whether "creative writing" classes are worth anything comes to me here. at the University of Central Florida, I remember instructor/novelist Wyatt Wyatt crucifying an Educationmajor who sneaked into the class after it began due to an administrative glitch. He embarrassed me with his criticisms and I eat that stuff up. She didn't come back. He got the intended result. However, I wonder if that woman kept trying? I have never learned ANYTHING IN LIFE but through pain. sounds like this "author" needs a lesson from the literary HULK!

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2007, 3:46am

I recieved a second title from authorhouse, yesterday. This time a children's picture book. I am sad to report--there was no conflict. Yes, you read that right. It was suppose to be a book that addressed diversity, and though the authors used a creative metaphor to point out the world is diverse, none of the characters did anything. Worse yet,the characters did not interact with each other,completely undermining the idea of dealing with diversity. No wonder self publishing has such a bad reputation. I think I'll stick to reviewing traditionally published novels.

elokuu 10, 2007, 11:25am


i understand your pain. bu then there are the myriad self-published gems i've run across. there is a young man named jeff
lamb whose story for ages seven on up through to adult (i guess, since i loved it!) was discoveered at an "author's fair" event. his only problem is he needs a proofreader badly, bd the story keeps y0ou going. i want his other two books, but i've lost his email et al and i hope i run into him again. then there are the many, many self-published who are today house-hold names. pat conroy self-published his first four books; john irving his first three; hemingway his first two; poe most of his stuff; et ceteral. keep the faith, ma'am. review one of mine. i trust my skill enoiugh to pay you for lambasting me.


elokuu 3, 2011, 5:12pm

I once joined a writers' group at a Barnes & Noble store. They met in the store every Thursday night. I like to window shop B&N and used to look for excuses to go there. I guess you could say I was easy. Anyway --

After a month or six weeks -- having had a chance to read at least one manuscript from everyone in the group -- I learned that I and three or four other members were the only writers in the group. Of the other two dozen, the best one could say is that they all thought they wanted to be writers. I say they thought they wanted to be writers because none of them had a clue about what it means to actually be a writer, i.e.: they had no care for grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, or "any of that nit-picky shit." In short, they were the type of people one finds in "remedial composition" classes at community colleges nationally. They spent 12 or more years in public schools without learning to read or write. I used to wonder what eventually became of them. Now I know: they grow up and join writers groups at bookstores because they don't know enough to understand that they're illiterate.

They submit a manuscript to group scrutiny in May. In July, they get the scrutinized manuscripts back with written suggestions for revision. In September, they submit their "revised" manuscripts for additional scrutiny. Their idea of corrections are to take that misplaced modifier out of the sentence and misplace it again just two or three sentences down the page. The reason they misapplied that metaphor you made note of is that they didn't know what it meant in the first place. But they liked the sound of it so they misapplied it again two or three pages ahead of/behind the scene of the first crime. Etc., ad nauseum.

There's no profit in dealing with such people unless you have a sense of humor that runs in their direction. If you're the kind of person who likes to sit in asylums and laugh at what you see in such places, I say: "Shine it on, Dude!" Otherwise I'd recommend that you get your review copies from another publisher. There's no point in dealing with any press that's willing to put such slop between two pieces of cardboard and call it a book -- even if they DO charge a hundred million bucks for the flattery.

elokuu 3, 2011, 6:22pm

"They spent 12 or more years in public schools without learning to read or write."

What makes you think they went to a Public School? I started in PS in 9th grade; spent K-8 in a private, parochial school. It was clear to me that the kids from the Public School had the advantage, scholastically.

syyskuu 20, 2011, 12:22pm

No reflection on public schools intended. I went to a public school myself. Still, the fact is the clods spend 12 years in public school without learning to read or write. In my experience, they accomplished that feat because they're determined NOT to learn. It's not the fault of the school that they didn't learn, but it IS the fault of the school that they received a diploma and were passed on for others to deal with at a higher level.

syyskuu 26, 2011, 1:21pm

I know someone who thinks she is a writer but hasn't actually written anything, nor does she want to write anything... she wants to have someone ghost-write it for her... yes, I'm serious.

lokakuu 2, 2011, 7:24pm

I had a phone call from a woman one time. She wanted to be a journalist. She had lots of ideas for stories, she said, but she didn't know how to write one. She wanted me to write them for her.

I said: "That's fine with me. You come up with the stories and do all the legwork. I'll write the stories and we'll run a dual byline and split the money."

"No!" she said. "I get the whole byline. You do the legwork and write the stories and I'll pay you 10 percent."

Yup. I'm serious, too.