As a Book Reviewer, I have read all kinds of books by many wonderful writers. Many are traditional books. But many are by self-published authors. Without the benefit of an editor, a self-published author can be alone with the editing process. A really great story can get bogged down with unnecessary wording. There is also the dreaded dangling modifier. Although writing is fun, it’s also a lot of work. Sometimes an author is too close to their story. The writer forgets that a reader needs to see what the writer wants them to see. Feel what they want them to feel. The setting, time period and characters and plot need to stand out early on so that a reader gets hooked right from the beginning. A reader needs to care about the outcome – grab onto a character and stay hooked.
Recently, I had to create a few really tough book reviews. I always try to find something good in the writing. Writers can be so sensitive. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone. And everyone can learn. Improve. I am always learning. I find that the talent is usually there, but the stories are all over the map. I often have to re-read areas to figure out what is going on. Dig. Dig. Dig. Sometimes I will have to search through the manuscript just to find out the time period. An abundance of characters can also leave me looking to grasp onto someone, anyone. The other issue is that often writers tell a story instead of showing it through their character’s points of view. This dulls the story. The reader can’t connect with the characters.
I would suggest that a writer latch onto the many resources available for writers. If you can’t afford an editor, find a trusted friend to read your book – someone who will be honest with you. Reading groups can also be helpful. Sometimes putting your book aside for a few days or weeks can help a writer look at their manuscript with fresh eyes – often finding mistakes or areas that are questionable. You will now be able to see what your reader can’t if rushing through this process. And if you can’t see it then set the book aside again until you can. There is also Natural Reader, which will read your manuscript back to you. The Internet has great resources for writers - critique groups.
Every word should count.
As a book reviewer, I love to experience the wonderful array of books that I have had the privilege to review. Each writer is special and unique. There is so much undiscovered talent. The competition is fierce. So make your efforts count.
As writer I can benefit from my own advice. I deal with the same issues and always working to improve my craft. I have some great mentors and trusted allies. This support helps me to stay focused and to grow.
Don’t ever get discouraged. Get a backbone. And whatever you do - keep writing!