Several Doses of Stupid

You’d think that if someone’s smart enough to write a book, they’re smart enough to follow through intelligently. Let’s get that out of the way right now. It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to write a book. Anybody can do it. That’s why there’s such a flood of crap being published on the internet. If all writers were smart, we wouldn’t find stuff like the following:

Marketing is Icky

Well, not in so many words, but close enough. An opinion of an “author” who’s finishing up the writing of his book and getting ready to publish. Maybe someone was careless about the exact words to use, but if this person is just finishing the writing, he’s nowhere ready to start preparing for publication. There’s a teeny, tiny step he still needs to take. It’s called editing and revision. But he also plans to sell a million books without making any further effort than publishing. Because marketing is so — you know — distasteful.

Don’t Read the Instructions

Why bother to read the publishing guidelines, information about formatting, etc.? It’s probably just intended to stifle your creativity. Here’s Smashwords’ easy-to-read, easy-to-understand paragraph on what they will and won’t accept. “Smashwords publishes only original and legal works, direct from the author or the exclusive digital publisher. We do not publish public domain books. We also donโ€™t publish incomplete or partial books, or books that appear elsewhere on the Internet under other authorsโ€™ names, as is common with Private Label Rights scams. If you write erotica, all your characters must be adults.”

But people will insist on using Smashwords to serialize a novel, which, fairly often, is for sale on some other site. Is it simple chicanery? Sometimes, but sometimes there’s also obvious stupidity involved. The latest serializer wants to introduce readers to her novel. But the 5% sample that she offers is just one page, and that page is devoted entirely to explaining why she’s doing the serializing.

Do it Your Way

Use any font you want. Format however it pleases you. And then when readers complain because your self-published book looks like a refugee from some literary amateur hour or is just plain unreadable, you can blame it on the publisher or the software.

9 thoughts on “Several Doses of Stupid

  1. A very worthy rant, Catana,i>!!

    I started promotion a year before writing. I sent the book to an editor and a Review office. I had readers and authors giving feedback all through the process.

    The book is published–looks pretty good :-)–but, I’ve still found two small errors…

    Since I’m Self-Pubbed, I can bring out a 2nd edition. Saving my pennies for that ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I think that errors breed behind our backs. All those stories of multiple readings by multiple pairs of keen eyes, and then the book comes out… But we do the best we can, and hope that all the people who only appear to be stupid will learn from their mistakes — eventually.

  3. I agree, Catana…as you know ๐Ÿ™‚
    The reader must be at fault if s/he can’t see through the morass of spelling, font, and formatting chaos enough to appreciate the greatest story ever told.
    Riiight. LOL!

    Alexander, haven’t ever met you, buddy, but if you only had two or three mistakes in your self pub novel – then you are waaaay ahead of the pack. Good job! It is difficult to get them ALL out. Kudos to you for keeping at it.

  4. I think Catana is referring to all those people who ignore everything from basic composition to the Style Guide.

    Add too much water to the soup and nobody will want to eat any of it, not even when its free. Does that make sense?

  5. I’ll bet Alexander will find more mistakes than that. But that’s true even of print books from reputable publishers. One error or typo every few pages isn’t really that bad, but I’d really love not to have even that many in my own work. At least we can dream, can’t we?

      1. That isn’t bad at all. Of course, those are only the ones you’ve seen. The dilemma is always the ones you don’t see. (Until the next time through, or until someone else catches them.) ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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