Sometimes Progress Ain’t Progress

I am the biggest fan of the Kindle.  I mean like, it’s my favorite thing on the planet.  I carry it with me everywhere.  The best friend for anyone who loves to read and possibly has a weak back from carrying 3 or more books around at a time, and maybe a little ADHD to boot.  No lie, I will pull that sucker out in a drive-thru line if I’m not moving fast enough.  If you don’t have one already, buy one.  I highly recommend it.

So I love it.  Like I love, love it.

But here’s my one gripe.

They have this new thing now where you can self-publish.  So any Joe Schmo with two pages of written material (or so) and an internet account can go to Amazon, load their two pages, and sell it like it’s a “real book” for say $0.99.

I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve been duped into buying some book with all these raving reviews only to realize in the first five pages it’s just some watered down version of Twilight with a different setting and the reviews were from a bunch of junior high kids (I can only assume) who, bless their sweet, young hearts, have a different definition of “THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!  I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOOOVED IT!!!!!’ than I do.

I loved the Twilight love story as much as the next person but please, no one think for one second this was some literary masterpiece.  The writing was weak at best.  Ter-ri-ble.  (Not $0.99 self-published terrible by any stretch, but terrible in its own category.)  Twilight became “TWILIGHT” because of the actual story, not the writing.  The naive damsel in distress with the hero protecting and loving her so devoutly.  Waiting 100+ years just for her.  Fighting over her with another equally hot freak of nature.  What girl doesn’t love that?

But now, because of Amazon’s self-publishing bit, I am inundated by stories of girls who don’t know how powerful or special they are because they’ve spent their whole life somehow believing everyone on the planet is able to read minds or change people’s emotions; or that everyone else has the recurring dream of the mysterious, handsome fellow watching over them until they become “of age” and the guy can finally jump out from behind the bushes and confess his stalker love.

Because none of that would ever have come up in conversation at any point in 18 years for any reason at all.

*yawn*

It really makes it painfully obvious how imperative the editing process is for a writer.  At that point someone could tell you, ‘Hey.  This one’s been done.  Recently.  And the other version is better because at least it wasn’t a knock-off.’

But even if the story passed…..the spelling.  The grammar.  The punctuation.  Ohmygod.  For all that is holy, please someone, help these people for they know not what they do.  It makes me want to stab hot irons into people’s eyeballs when I see some of this stuff.  There isn’t a computer made today that doesn’t have a spellchecker included.  For free!!  Use it.  Please.

I’m not trying to be mean here (ok, maybe a little) but I beg of you self-publishers, have someone who isn’t afraid to give constructive criticism read it over a time or two.  Have more than one person read it over.  Correct all misspellings.  Add or subtract punctuation where needed.  Have your critic(s) list on paper how many ways your story can be compared to Twilight and if that list is 6 or more, try again.  With a new idea.

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