As part of the Goodreads Book Review Group, a bunch of us get together, agree to download each others’s books and review four of them. I’m on my fourth now. I have to say that I’m really disappointed with the quality of most of them. Most are littered with formatting, punctuation, spelling and typographical errors, several on each page, to the extent that some are actually unreadable. I had to stop one at 15%; there were numerous errors on each page. One or two are quite creditable and the authors have clearly taken care with the proof-reading. I always use a professional editor for my books and believe I have eliminated almost all errors. I think it’s professional and mandatory when you asking people to pay money for your book.
In addition, I can now see why people are self-publishing; no right-thinking agent or publisher would touch them. It’s as if someone had a box full of conspiracy theories, supernatural powers, lost manuscripts, Nazis, characterless characters and voyeuristic narrators, then distributed them at random to a bunch of writers, tasking them with trying to put together a story from them. Really. Then we have the point-of view shifts mid-scene and swinging from first person to third. I could go on. I shake my head.
The problem is that I have to review four of them and don’t like to leave bad reviews. I’d prefer to leave none at all. I also have to remember that four of them will be reviewing my book and one of them might be a vengeful axe-murderer. One of the group pulled out when someone left a one-star review for his book on solar power, which wasn’t even a novel. I shake my head again.
Then, a horrible thought occurs to me. Maybe I’m deluding myself about Flight Into Darkness (http://getBook.at/FlightIntoDarkness) . Maybe those nice reviews were just being nice. Maybe it’s rubbish as well…
Please…say it’s not so!