In 2010, I read and reviewed a number of independently published novels, as well as several traditionally published books by large and small houses. After twelve months, it became clear that while many of the independently published books had wonderful plots, nearly all of them could have used one final, substantive and copy edit to achieve the level of professionalism that the traditionally published books have.
It’s not just the spelling and grammatical errors, which seem to occur more often in the latter third of the novels (in traditionally published books as well), but the lack of control in point of view. Specifically, I stumbled across too much author intrusion in “indie” books, and all of them would have been stronger if the authors had been more careful about point of view. Some of the intrusions were very subtle – a piece of given information that doesn’t seem to come from any characters’ thoughts. Other authors were more blatant and actually stopped the narrative to tell the reader something that wasn’t crucial to the story. Now, a few authors used the omniscient point of view (where perceptions, analysis or predictions can only come from the author) or from a combination of omniscient and third person POV, but the transitions were awkward at times. If indie writers want to raise the bar and rise above the competition, hiring a professional editor and controlling point of view would go a long way.
If you can’t afford an editor, try Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne and Dave King. It’s an excellent book that’s helped me and others.
Coming in March 2011, THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, http://tinyurl.com/2frw58u
My Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at
FATAL ENCRYPTION, http://tinyurl.com/ddzsxl
TAXED TO DEATH, http://tinyurl.com/czsy5n