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Indie writers need to step it up

One beautiful woman
One underworld conspiracy
One silver bullet

or so the cover says…

Instead of ego smashing someone in particular I prefer to generalize my points in this blog.

Practicality demands that indie writers be indie readers, reviewers, editors, etc., etc. Why? Well, for the most part, especially if we are still in the budding stages of our career, we require the help of our predecessors-those who have treaded ground before us and know the pitfalls-to get our names out there.

That, I like, but all too often I find myself in the position of giving a review for a review, and I only do an honest job. None of this “well I’m new and I need 5 star reviews” kind of stuff. Besides, my name is at stake, and my own fan base likes that I bring them the truth. Now, what pains me is that I find myself in the untenable position of reviewing a new book for an author I discover has been around for years and has several other books, which leads me to believe that whatsoever is in the book I’m reviewing is the best that writer can muster because they’ve had years of experience. Instead, I find stuff like this:

“They be a million mofos wantin’ to get in that hallway, and I payin’ some big money to make sho’ they ain’t! Get them dogs on that bone before I send them all back to the pound!”

This is actual text from a multimillion dollar drug dealer character in a “book” I recently read. I quoted book because it was all of some 80-odd pages long. Then the next lines in the story pretend to build up to some action where a guy pulls out an Uzi and steps outside. And then the carnage began…or so the book said, but ended with a scene break where the protagonist(?) wakes up in Bellevue.

It’s a question as to whether she is the protagonist because the story jumps from character to character so often and with several characters; fine for a 500 page Dan Brown novel, but not for a long short story, a medium story? whatever.

What pains me the most is that far, far too many indie writers are given to the same errors over and over, and no matter how many books they release, the errors are still present. For instance, this same novella from above was riddled with passive voicing. For those of you, who are unfamiliar with the term, passive voicing is basically the act of alluding to an action rather than actively performing; the sun would shine, rather than the sun shone, or the car would run silently, rather than the car was silent, silently, the car flew down the road, etc.

In one particular paragraph in the novella there were four woulds. That is just unreasonable, yet for a first book it isn’t so bad so long as the writer learns, but it was like this guy’s 7th book or something. Later in the book there was this very text:

He realized his only connection to Smith was Bob. He
didn’t want to place undue pressure on him, because he could easily
go underground, especially in light of the pending indictments
of his Mob connections. (Try: He knew placing undue pressure sent guys like him underground, especially in the light of pending Mob connections.) Yet, it was well known that Bob was a
good earner, and he wouldn’t take off and leave his customers to
get swiped by a rival bookie or loan shark unless he had no choice. (Who knew this well known? It’s only first mentioned here. Even if they all did know; try: Word around town claimed Bob was a good earner; guys like that don’t cut and run to leave their clients high and dry.)
He would have to turn Bob over somehow, and the trick would
be to put something extra on the hook besides advance warning
that the Russians were about to fry. (He needed to turn Bob. It didn’t matter how. The trick was putting something extra on the hook, besides advance warning that the Russians were about to fry.)

What’s in the parentheses is my version of the previously written sentence. Read the difference? Now, the other 2 reviews on this book were generic 5 star reviews; It was a great book. I loved every word – or – You will want to read this book over and over again. I’m going to keep it on my bookshelf! My guess is that an indie friend read it, but didn’t want to make the author feel bad, but that’s exactly why this guy released his 7th book that reads so poorly.

So here’s the thing; you indie writers need to give more honest reviews to your indie friends, or raise your standards, and you indie readers need to review more of the books that you read. Let us know how good or bad we’re doing. We’re counting on our fans to force us to release only the best of what we have to offer. Don’t let us disappoint you. Thank you. You guys are great to listen to me rant.



About Dennisauthor

Taking you by storm! @Dennis-Author on twitter

4 responses to “Indie writers need to step it up

  1. Chad B Hanson ⋅

    Reblogged this on Chad B Hanson and commented:
    Great post. I’ve struggled through a couple of books self published by national best seller authors. They learned the hard way that without the publishing house editors, book cover artists and marketing departments, it ain’t such an easy task to put out a book without a publishing house. There are lessons in this post that every indie author should learn. Thanks.

  2. It’s always a problem to label oneself as an Indie Author due to the attached stigmas. I’ve glanced at a few items on Amazon using the 10% preview feature, and discovered a lot of trash. If an indie can’t afford a professional editor, find a critique group with fangs. I’ve blogged about how to find and assess a group.

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