A little while ago someone posted a link on Facebook. I clicked on it. It was a blog post in which the blogger ranted his/her frustration with reviews of Indie books always pointing out typos, grammatical errors, etc. S/he went on to say that the reader should instead contact the author directly and alert them to the problems with their book. Then they continued their tirade, paralleling the plight of the Indie author with that of early Indie musicians and filmmakers.
I take issue with all of these points. Major issue. So much issue, that I clicked out of the blog rather quickly, didn’t make a note of it (which is why I don’t have a link here, so if you’re the author of said blog, feel free to defend yourself politely in the comments section), but the points s/he made still managed to fester in my brain for days and has now landed in front of your face in the form of my own blog post.
First and foremost, I think it is the author’s responsibility to research, and hire an editor that has been fully vetted, whose work they would proudly attach to their own. I also think even editors and proofreaders are human. Therefore, it is also the author’s responsibility to proofread their own work once or twice, backwards and forwards if necessary, before hitting that publish button. You can’t honestly expect the reader, who has found your work, purchased it with their hard-earned money, and read it with their precious little time, to then contact you and let you know that there are faults with your work. That’s not fair to the reader, now is it? Now, some readers are sympathetic little lambs and might do all this. Any do you know what might happen to them? They might run into an ignoramus of an author, an all-knowing, prick-on-a-stick (if male) or pot-o-twat (if female), who will not be very gracious to a mere reader pointing out the errors in their genius. Yikes! None of this sounds good to me. So, authors, don’t count on the reader to hold your hand. And, conversely, readers, some authors are like caged beasts. Beware.
Next up, the assumption that just because Indie musicians and Indie filmmakers weren’t taken seriously when they first came on the scene, it makes sense that it’s the same deal with Indie publishing. I would say, yes and no. Indie authors and Indie publishing are making gains every day. In just the space of a year, for example, ThrillerFest went from being all about querying an agent to including the VP of KDP and reps from Createspace. (Kristin Lamb is the bomb-sauce, by the way. If you don’t follow her blog, you should.) But that doesn’t mean authors can ignore the basic properties of the English language. Did those early Indie bands save their shekels, cruise down to the music store, buy the first guitar they could afford, and start recording as soon as they got home? Are you telling me they didn’t at least learn how to play their instruments first? Don’t Indie filmmakers learn how to hold the camera and edit film before they hop a plane to Cannes? So why should authors publish something before fully grasping story-telling and the art of language? And/or hiring someone who can polish it up for them? I just don’t get the comparison in that regard.
S/he also said something about Indie authors using punctuation incorrectly for individual expression or something, but that was around the time I clicked out of the post, so…
Anyway, what do you all think about this? Do you leave reviews that mention if there are typos present in the book? Do you contact the author? Has an author ever bit your ever-lovin’ head off? Please leave a comment below, and keep it clean and free of artistically incorrect punctuation, please!