I stumbled across this article by Carol Hoenig, author of the multi-award winning Novel "Without Grace" and it really did give me a giggle, so I thought I would share her thoughts. The full article can be read here.
"I often write about the publishing industry and most recently wrote here about its standards. Admittedly, I am rather vocal when it comes to self-publishing or print-on-demand. Nevertheless, in spite of the new publishing paradigm, there is still often a stigma when it comes to self-publishing. The idea that if a book hasn't been vetted, even though most print-on-demand publishers now do offer editorial services, then it is not worth time or money. With that in mind, let's look at recent feedback on some novels with titles I'll keep anonymous:
- "Clunky pacing and cartoonish characters"
- "reads like a superficial TV script"
- "overall silliness and lack of credible characters"
- "a mechanical plot and an improbable ending far from satisfy"
- "descriptions of technology and applications are painstakingly overexplained"
- "wooden dialogue"
No wonder an element of writers cannot find a traditional publisher! Savvy agents simply cannot sell a story with "cartoonish characters" or "wooden dialogue." Right? Actually, that's not quite true because all those reviews were from Publishers Weekly and were for traditionally published books, which makes one wonder about the nature of this business."
Now, I don't think this article should be taken as a license to write badly. But it does make me wonder about that old adage I hear so often: "If your book isn't real published then it isn't any good." Based upon the PW review comments on these so-called mainstream real published books, I am now completely confused as to what actually makes a book good in the eyes of a mainstream publisher. But then again, I never had much faith in the mainstream publishing world to begin with. Most of the authors I love weren't noticed or appreciated until after they were dead. During their lives, they were nothing but unpublishable madmen. So all I can say to self-published authors is: keep learning and improving your craft, study your grammar and your literary theory, and write the best damn stories you can. Keep it fresh, keep it edgy, keep it honest. If you are writing for art, then write what you feel and how you feel it. If you want to write for the market, well, I can't really help you there, but there are a million cookie cutter "how to" books out there that speak to that. -- cannegardner