Monday, November 26, 2018

Do the World a Favor. Edit Your Books.

Okay, so I was wandering through my FB newsfeed the other day when I saw a book that looked really interesting.  Thriller, promising loads of action.  Intriguing title.  So-so cover, but I can get over covers.

Clicked the link and started my usual scroll down the detail page to see if it was actually something I'd want.  Blurb sounded interesting.  Further promises of action and thrills.  Check.

A little further down, the author's bio.  Promises of writing about justice.  Fan of good writers.  Check.

Further down to check reviews... no reviews. No reviews?  When was this published?  2016.  Ack.  But that's okay.  Maybe he just hasn't caught people's eyes yet.  Could still be good stuff...

Back up to the top to do a 'look inside'.  And therein lay the rub.

First sentence extremely technical and not in a grabby kind of way.  Two snipers on a rooftop, but started out with detailed info about their weapons.  Meh.

After that loads of dialogue, which is fine by me, but every bit of it was wooden and had a dialogue tag. 

"This doesn't look good," said Jim. 
"I know it doesn't," Mac replied. "But it's our mission." 
"I'm not sure about this," Jim exclaimed.
"It's what you signed up for," Mac said.

Not exactly that, but you get the gist.  (It's actually painful to me to try and make up bad writing.)

The final straw was when gunfire erupted from beneath them, where they were laying on a rooftop, which made it sound like the bullets were coming from, you know, a room inside the building they were laying on. But then the bullets were striking the rooftop.  :blink blink:  I think he might've meant from the street below, but even then, why would bullets from below strike the rooftop?

Stop reading.  Close product page without one-clicking.  Fade out.

Once again, I was left wondering if this writer had bothered to get someone... anyone... to edit his work.  If you follow my Reading Wrap-Up over at The Writing Spectacle, you might have noted that the last one had a DNF book with this exact problem - lack of editing.  That one was a Western.  This one was a Thriller, but it doesn't matter what genre you write when your editing stinks.

My editor would've bitch slapped me hard if I tried to get any of that crap past her.  (In a totally nice and lovely way, of course, and in pretty pink.)  And I would've taken it, because that's her job.  I pay her to bitch-slap me when I get stupid, so my books are better and readers don't snap my book closed on the first page.  (They might anyway, but I guarantee it's not because of editing.)

So, there you are with this book you think is freakin' awesome.  Got a great blurb.  Got a snazzy premise.  You've written the hell out of it.  Put months and months of sweat and angst into it. And you know in your heart that people will love it, too.  You've done all this work.  Do the world a favor and get someone to edit your book.

Find someone who will smack you in the back of the head when you use too many dialogue tags (or not enough).  Find someone who will point out when things aren't kosher - like the bullet thing up there.  My editor keeps constant track of where everyone is sitting or standing and when they're doing each, and pokes me in the eye when I get it wrong.  Which is sometimes annoying, but it keeps me honest, so I want her to keep doing it.

If you can't afford an editor, you have two options - find a friend or three who would be willing to kick the snot out of you for free OR put off publishing your book while you sock away the money to hire an editor.  (Which is why I only published two books in 2017 - no monies for editing.)  Go without for a while and stuff your pennies away until you have the $500-$600 it takes to edit.  But for pity's sake, get the book edited before it goes live on Amazon. 

The world will thank you.  You might even see more sales and more reviews.  You're certainly not seeing them now, so what could it hurt?  Because I'll tell you this, your unedited book is hurting you. 

In a way, it's hurting all of us.  Self-published books take a lot of crap because of poor editing.  Stop being part of the problem.  K?

Note: As I've said before, no one edits my blogs but me.  And even then, I don't do hard edits here, folks.  The writing here is not indicative of the level of editing you'll find in my books.  This is more conversational, straight out of my head writing.  And if, by some chance, you do find an error in my actual books, those aren't my editor's fault.  They're mine.  I'm not infallible, but I try.


  1. Editing is so key and good editors are our best friends! Good reminder.

  2. Let's hope you still are enamoured with your editor after you get your e-mail today ;)

    Seriously, though, thanks. It's hard to offer constructive criticism knowing that the work is someone's pride and joy. But I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell it like it is.

  3. Editing is the key to everything. Even when I want to throw up my hands, rip up the virtual book (no more printed pages though there are times when I'm tempted to print the pages just so I can shred them!!!) and run screaming from my editor. After much internal ranting, at least half a pot of coffee, and deep breathing exercises, I get back to work. Sometimes, what the editor wants is way off my radar but since the publisher is paying me, I pull up my big-girl panties and get it done. Eventually. On my stuff? My editor keeps me to the straight and narrow and I'm eternally grateful, even though I basically get to do things my way.

    People who don't have outside eyes? Yeah...they're just plain...something. And it isn't smart.