Quality, or Lack Thereof

I haven’t read many self-published books. I never really thought about it until I decided to go the self-publishing route with my own novel. So far, the ones I’ve read have run the gamut from having only a few typos and a small need for editing to having so many typos, misspellings, tautology, etc., that it was hard to keep my head in the story.

I know there are reviewers out there who refuse to review self-published books, and those who have read them bemoan this lack of quality — and rightly so. With all the resources available to writers there’s no reason self-published books shouldn’t be on par with the majority of traditionally-published books.

I say the majority because I’ve read a few traditionally-published novels lately with a surprising number of typos and/or misused words. I don’t know if it has always been this way or if I’m just noticing it more since I’ve become more serious about my own work, but the fact is, traditionally-published books are not perfect.

Photo credit: Amazon

Photo credit: Amazon

Take the book I’m reading right now, for example: Aurian by Maggie Furey, published by Bantam Spectra in 1994. I discovered to my extreme annoyance that this book is missing over 30 pages. Half of chapters 16 and 18 and all of chapter 17 are not there. The page numbers go up through 250, then pages 219 through 250 are repeated, and then the story continues on page 283. Before the break, the villain is whole and plotting the destruction of Aurian, who has escaped his clutches by ship. When the story picks up again, the villain is blinded and bedridden and Aurian’s ship has been wrecked. What happened? If I want to know, I have to order another copy of the book (none of the local libraries have one) and hope it is complete.

I don’t know what happened there with quality control, but it’s certainly worse than any problem I’ve had with a self-published book. And while I know this is an isolated occurrence, I hope that readers will realize that traditionally-published books can have mistakes in them — and sometimes plotting and character development problems too — and that it’s unfair to put them on so lofty a pedestal above those that are self-published. I also hope that self-publishers will do their part to bring their books to a higher level of quality and help abolish the stigma attached to them simply for being self-published.

I will do my utmost to reach that level.