I started reviewing books on this website back in October 2013. I have written fourteen reviews to date, encompassing twenty-eight books, and a full archive of them may be found at this link.
In the beginning, my intention was to post a review of every single book I read as I went along. However, I have encountered a stumbling block to this plan for I find myself unwilling to offer up a review of my most recent reading material. This is because it was just that bad. 😦
I don’t wish to name the title or the author, though I will say that it was a trilogy of historical romance novels and I believe that it was self-published. I had been very much looking forward to reading something so closely related to my own chosen genre but I had unfortunately lost that happy feeling by the time I had plodded to the end of the third book.
The overriding issue was the poor quality of editing at every stage, from development to copyediting to proofreading. While I do think there was the germ of a good idea in there, it was squandered by a weak plot, slow pacing and one-dimensional characterisation. Much of the writing came across as amateurish – I am a fan of adverbs but I have never seen two used consecutively so many times, and there was a noticeable overuse of words such as ‘fortunately’, ‘odd’ and ‘even so’, making them seem like get-out-of-jail terms when the author had no other inspiration for linking sentences. There was also a distinct lack of evidence regarding proofreading, with unforgivable errors such as characters being misnamed (for example, I could tell what the author had initially called a character before she subsequently changed their name). Incredibly, these mistakes even carried from within the books to blurbs for the trilogy on various websites. I mean, come on, it’s called attention to detail.
What is so disappointing is that this inadequate standard of editing gives self-publishing a bad name. There is no requirement for self-published works to go through a rigorous editing process before being unleashed to the public but it is imperative that they nonetheless operate at the same level as traditionally-published works; otherwise, readers will be dissatisfied with one poorly-written book and then be unwilling to take a chance on a new author the next time. To have any hope of success, self-publishers must push the quality of their writing to the very best that it can be before unveiling it to the reading world.
Regrettably, that advice is too late for this particular trilogy. However, it is important to remember that this is just one author and one series of books – there are many more fish swimming in the self-publishing sea and they are both striving for excellence and succeeding.