Sunday, April 12, 2015

Writers - Don't Be Lazy!

You know how it is. You tell someone that you're a writer and they give you an amused look. Like it's not a real job. Like it's some side project that you do for kicks. It's cross stitching for dreamers.

I don't know about you guys but writing is hard work. Yes, it is WORK. You spend hours researching, editing, perfecting your craft, pitching ideas to friends, editing some more, throwing out entire chapters, rewriting, agonizing over dialogue, some more research, on and on putting your sweat and blood and endless hours into your work.

At least, that's what you're supposed to do.

A problem I'm constantly seeing these days with everything being online is that when it comes to indie writers, some are just straight up lazy. Yeah, I said it. Self publishing has made us into lazy writers. Without the threat of an editor and publishing house looming over our shoulders, we think we can just throw any old thing out there and with enough promotion on our part, it'll become an instant gem.

The problem is, it's working.
I've read a lot more indie books in the last year than ever before and I have to say, only about 40% of them were well written. The others had problems that a little more time and effort could have easily fixed: too short, too long, too descriptive, not descriptive enough, too many grammatical errors, formatting problems, etc. Things that an editor would have caught but since a publishing house was totally bypassed, no one did. And getting your neighbor who reads a book a year to look over it for you, does not count as getting a beta reader.

The saddest thing is that those 60% that ranged from "needs some work" to "burn this bitch and start from scratch", were the ones that had over ten reviews each and were spammed all over the net. They were getting more attention than the authors who'd really put the time in. What is this nonsense? You're telling me that you have the time and money to market your book that well, that often but you can't get a serious beta reader or hire an editor to proofread it for you?

This is why, sad to say, that when I start reading a book and realize that it's self published, I can't help but cringe a little. Because these days, I honestly don't know what I'm getting. And that just isn't fair to those indie authors who do all the research and spend all the time and have the aching necks and wrists from hours spent over the damn computer screen.

The publishing world kinda sucks these days. It's uneven and unfair. If you have the cash to spend, you can get your work published, even if it's crap. The rest of us have to work our asses off and can't get half the reviews. 
So, what I'm saying is, indie authors, put in the time. Don't be lazy. I still believe that anyone can write a book. Anyone. But no one can write a book in a week and think it's ready for publishing. 

And if you do write a book in a week and get it published, I wouldn't suggest asking me to read and review it for you. You should have asked me to beta read for you first because notes I give you beforehand are for your personal use to help you out. A crappy review is there on the net for the entire world to see.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Egg NON-Hunt

Yesterday one of my kids came home with her bag of plastic eggs from her Easter party at school. As we're sitting at the kitchen table removing the candy from inside each egg, I notice something.
"Hey, why do all your eggs have the number 19 on them?"
The quick response was "Everyone had a number and you could only find eggs of that number."
"So everyone had a number that only they could find?"
At which point I snapped my mouth shut and seethed quietly to myself. Every kid gets a number which means every kid finds the same amount of eggs. No running around searching for as many as you can as fast as you can. Because that means some kids will get less than others. Egg hunts can't be games anymore because there are always winners and losers in games. And we can't have anyone getting upset if they lose. There are no losers.

This idea was brought to you by the people who took competition out of sporting events, marathon runs, field day at school, etc. Everyone gets a ribbon/trophy/medal! Everyone's a winner! 
So, if you aren't good at sports, it doesn't matter, you still win! You can actually just give up halfway through and that's okay because you'll still get your prize! You can tell your coach off, flip the other team the bird and sit on the bench but as long as you are wearing that jersey, you get a trophy!

We're all about preparing our kids for the real world these days. In the real world, you can make perfect grades in school as long as you just show up. People shouldn't get better grades than others because they worked harder, no, that might upset someone. 
You can get into any college you want because those grades didn't matter anyway, you applied just like the next guy so you should get in! 
You have no skills for a certain job but you want it anyway? Go apply, you'll get it! They won't risk upsetting you by telling you no.
Looking forward to that promotion/raise at your job? Just do the same amount of work as everyone else and you're sure to get it! Heck, do less, you'll still be a winner!

Everyone is a winner in life. You don't have to work hard to earn your prize. Just show up. Actually, if you don't want to show up, that's okay, we'll mail your ribbon to you.
We wouldn't want you getting upset.