Self-published books carry a stigma of poor quality: weak writing, shoddy editing, second-rate production, and a product that often screams “amateur.” Unfortunately, this perception stems from the growing evidence provided by many self-published works. Though not all self-published books are substandard, too many are.
Here are some examples from some of my recent reads:
A Lack of Editing: This printed book had a nice cover and looked professional. It unveiled a pleasing storyline and contained no errors (at least that I noticed). What it needed, however, was a thorough copy-edit, as there were continuity issues, implausible events, and an impossible timeline. Plus, the author tied up every loose end to produce a fairytale conclusion for most every character. Despite much promise, the journey was unsatisfying.
The Rough Draft: This novella-length e-book had a decent title and acceptable cover. The story line was intriguing – and those were the good points. It had significant issues with flow and continuity, but worse yet, I felt I was reading a first draft. To its credit, the book had a killer surprise ending I never saw coming and delighted me immensely. But, unless someone options this for a movie (which could happen), I see no value to it – either commercial or literary.
Missing Substance: A third book had none of these shortcomings. Well written, it benefited from careful editing and proofreading. The author had an enjoyable voice and wonderful concept. What this book needed, however, was more substance and the removal of some idealistic recommendations that surely no one would follow. Though the majority of the book had value, the impractical parts threatened to overshadow the rest.
This isn’t to imply all self-published books are bad. There are good and viable ones out there, which contain no consequential flaws and are enjoyable or valuable to read.
Unfortunately, in my experience, good self-published books seem to be a minority.