Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tip of the week: be selective

A while back, my friend and fellow author Dixon Rice entered the world of rants after discovering that he'd promoted an author's rubbish novel. Dixon, being one of the nicest people I've ever come across, has kindly helped many people by just sharing a link, recommending books on authors' behalf, in order to spread the word. Then he made the 'mistake' to take a look at one of the books he blindly recommended and promptly decided to not do that again. Read his excellent rant here.
And I couldn't agree more; while it's wonderful to help each other, I find that it's taken to an unacceptable level: Indie authors, or still unpublished writers, join networks where they do nothing else than share each others' links and push their books, regardless of the quality.
Be honest: how many times have you recommended someone's work without even knowing if it's of a certain standard? And how many times did you know the book wasn't good, but you recommended it nevertheless, because you've been conversing with the author so much?
People are more likely to help someone they've been talking to a lot, it's only natural, but as a published author, you have a reputation; and such reputation can be damaged easily. If you recommend books of mediocre or lesser quality, you'll automatically lower your own profile. What is a reader supposed to think of you if he or she buys a book upon your suggestion and it's utter drivel? The reader will think you can't tell good from bad and will most probably pass on your books, too.

Think about it. Only recommend what you have read and consider good or excellent.

The same goes for editors or proofreaders. I've recently seen people recommending an editing and proofreading service that, in m opinion, doesn't deliver. Yet the service keeps being recommended as the person is a big part of a community. I've had a look at the website and a book which was mentioned on the site. The book had inconsistencies and errors (different speech marks, commas in direct address missing, dialogue attributes). Another book, edited by the same service was published with several errors, too. On the US site, there was a comment saying that the book contained too much telling, and not enough showing, something that an editor should have eliminated before publishing. Of course, this could very well be the author's fault; some authors think they know better and ignore the editor or proofreader. Or they suddenly decide to make changes. There's nothing an editor can do in that case.

Before recommending someone, check the person's work. Never recommend someone just because they're 'nice' and you had a laugh with them.

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