In the two years since I started self-publishing, the more books I have read on my kindle the more I am becoming disillusioned with the quality of some of the work that is self-published. One particular author’s books I have attempted to read, but given up after a few chapters. Surprisingly these novels sell, and regularly get four and five star reviews. But the works are riddled with typos, poor sentence structure: repetition: but worst of all, author instruction.
Author intrusion is where the author’s opinion and personality seeps through into the characters, or the story. Characters should be independent of the writer. The reader should believe he/she is the first person to walk through the setting, the first person to meet the characters. The use of fancy language to pad or bolster up prose or dialogue when everyday words would do, is author intrusion: where the writer waxes lyrical only a couple of times throughout the entire novel, is author intrusion. If your characters are down-to-earth: earthy: then plain normal prose and dialogue serves the characters better than any amount of fancy phrasing.
Ed Murrow – above – and said to be the greatest journalist ever – often started off with, “This I Believe,” when beginning a broadcast. This I ,too, believe: an omniscient writer can know everything, but – and here’s the rub – if that all-knowing narrator sounds more like he/she is teaching a history lesson, or preaching, then that is author intrusion.
It has baffled me over the months why someone should give an author a two star review just because the reader didn’t like the ending when I have read similar endings from authors who received four and five star reviews. It seems to me there is no consistency, and that it is of no importance that the book is typo free, author intrusion free, and contains well-rounded characters, and dialogue, appropriate for the time and setting. This all seems to be disregarded when ‘fixes’ can be got on less than average writing and with readers paying more. But to see a review where it is was stated that the reader was glad they’d only paid 99p for the book, insulted me as an author. To think that author probably spent months writing and researching, then producing a more than average book, that comment did not sit at all well with me.
This is why disillusionment has set in, making me wonder if the time I spend writing, researching, attempting to produce work of good quality is, in the end, worthwhile. I am beginning to wonder, at my time of life, there might be better things I can be doing instead of putting them off. It is no wonder, when I’ve read a book which is beautifully written, has a good plot and characters, we never hear from that writer again. It is for the reasons stated, I refuse to churn out processed inferior genre fiction, I would rather turn out one good, typo-free, polished book once a year.
So as Ed Murrow always signed off from his radio and TV broadcasts, saying, “Good night, and good luck.” I will sign off for a while by saying to my readers, “A sincere thank you, goodbye, and good luck.’