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Friday, February 8, 2013


As all writers do, I love to read.  I bought a Kindle book on Amazon (though I will not reveal the title).  Fortunately, it was only 99¢.  Had it been more, I would have been upset.

I don't know for certain, but I'm assuming it was self-published.  I say that because there were numerous typo's in it that a professional editor would have caught.  I also say that because the formatting was atrocious!  Anything in italics (and some entire sentences were) had no spaces ... just one really long word.  Take the last part of that sentence ... justonereallylongword.  While it's possible to read it, it's cumbersome.  There were also many, many words with the first or last letter separated by a space ... separate d by a s pace.  Again, it's possible to read, but makes the entire reading experience less enjoyable.

Most all online retailers that sell ebooks have their own ebook tablet readers, and they allow self-publishers to upload their work as a PDF or Word document, then their software formats it to be read on their device.  The problem is that it never formats them correctly.  I remember pulling my hair out after uploading my first book and seeing what it looked like when downloaded.

I spent days trying to figure out how to format it in a way that uploading wouldn't ruin, with zero good results.  I ended up paying someone to format it for me.  When I found an error (my error, not theirs) in the ebook, I had to fix it.  I couldn't afford to pay someone to format an ebook over and over, so I finally figured out how to create an ebook myself.  The process to create one is very time-consuming, and after having done it, I understood why it had cost me so much to have someone else do it.

I don't know the age of the author for the book I downloaded, but I'm guessing she was young ... a teenager.  Her writing showed promise, and I think in time she will become a good author, but this book was not written very well.  Parts of the book were told through the eyes of a child.  Those parts were a little easier to read than the parts told through the eyes of an adult ... because it sounded like a kid trying to pretend to know how adults think.  The plot was overly predictable and silly at times.  When the protagonist met a kid on the playground in chapter one, she hated him so much I had a feeling they would end up getting married ... and .... (yawn) ... they did.

As someone who has self-published, it makes me sad when I see something like that for sale.  It's books like that one that give self-published novels a bad name.  Agents see a lot of this, I'm sure, and it's one less reason to think a self-published novel has any credibility.

If the person who wrote that book was a teenager, I hope she continues to write.  As she gets older and her adults don't sound so immature and juvenile, I think she'll be really good.  If she's an adult, I hope she gives up writing or joins a writing group that will give her some constructive criticism, and that she uses a professional to format any future ebooks.

O r should I s ayandthatsheusesaprofessionaltoformatanyfutureebooks.

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