Excellence in Writing

I just finished two books over the weekend: Greg Hurwitz’s Crimewriter and Brett Battles’ The Cleaner. Both were gripping and, most importantly, well written. Too often, I find good stories that are poorly written. This seems to be especially common now that publish-on-demand (POD) is so easily available.

I won’t name names, but there are books being sold today that would likely not have seen the light of day had it not been for POD. One of the first giveaways to bad writing for me can be found in most of these books….the self-description by the narrator. These are typically so bad, so “I’ve got to tell them what this character looks like,” that I want to throw the book across the room. Of course, POD authors are not the only ones who are lame at this. Take Dan Brown’s description of Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons. That almost got me to throw the book, but I was laughing so hard I simply dropped it. Pathetic. The guy tells a fun story but he is not a good writer!

That’s the difference with Hurwitz and Battles. Both write extremely well. I was a bit put off by the beginning of Hurwitz’s book. In fact, I put it down for a couple of months before getting back to it. It was a case of “look how well I write,” for me at least. I was too aware of him patting himself on his own back, admiring his description of Los Angeles. I’m glad I worked past that though, because it was an excellent book once I read further. Great story idea and well plotted.

I was hooked on Battles’ book from the first moment: the Cleaner, who goes and cleans up crime scenes for “the Office.” Unique idea and tightly plotted and written.

Both of these authors represent excellence in writing as far as I am concerned. I devoured both books and looked up for more, sateless. Next, however, must be Laurie R. King’s latest book, God of the Hives, and Meg Gardiner’s latest, Liar’s Lullaby. Held off reading King’s book, making myself savor the wait. Now is the time. And as soon as Gardiner’s book arrives, all else must wait.

Self-Publishing Works

Many of my clients are trying to get their books published. Most realize how difficult it is to get a book published through a renowned publishing company. As a result, they are looking into self-publishing.

One of the best sites I have found for self-publishing is Ron Pramschufer’s at http://www.selfpublishing.com. This is not a vanity press publishing site. Unlike vanity and on-demand publishers, Ron’s site helps authors to publish their books at a reasonable cost, with excellent results.

Ron’s most recent blog about self-publishing bemoans the fact that the vanity presses and on-demand publishers have convinced people that if you can put it on a computer, we can see that it’s published. Thus, says Ron, and I heartily agree, there is a tsunami of awful books hitting the market. These books are often horribly written, completely unedited, and rarely proofread. There is so much tripe floating in the waters of the printed word that it’s hard to find the real books, those worth reading and that have been carefully prepared for publication.

It doesn’t matter that a book gets published. That alone will not guarantee success. Success is never guaranteed, but an author has a better chance at achieving some financial success if the book he or she publishes is well written, carefully edited, and prepared free of errors before it is sent to an editor, agent, or publishing house. That takes time and money (editors don’t work for free), but in the long run, the potential for success is definitely enhanced.