I have read a few blogs and online comments recently about self-published authors not really being ‘proper’ authors.
Am I an author? As far as the Macquarie Dictionary is concerned – yes.
/ˈɔθə/ (say ‘awthuh)
noun 1. a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist…”
I’ve written a book. I wrote it and did a fair bit of the editing myself. I’m the composer of a literary work. It’s not published yet; I’m going to self-publish. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
What’s that, not getting a ‘proper’ editor? Not being published by a ‘proper’ publisher? Well, let me explain using the following example: We all know that there is an awful lot of crap being published in music. It’s a given that everyone’s opinion will differ on what is ‘good’ or not. There’s an excellent saying that I have on the whiteboard in the study at home: “Music is what feelings sound like”.
The real beauty in music is with the listener and really has nothing to do with what is ‘proper’. Freddie Mercury was one of the world’s best singers, a peerless performer and gifted pianist. He didn’t have a ‘textbook’ piano-playing technique. But bloody hell, I listen to his music nearly every day of my life… Don’t get me wrong, I’m still amazed and in awe at musicians who sound good and display an awesome technique, but I don’t think that’s the most important part.
Having said that, we all know what crap is and what’s not. There is room for one more quote here: “You can’t polish a turd…”
I’ve used the editing tool found at http://prowritingaid.com/ for my own work and I think it’s a brilliant help. My wife is also reading through the story to edit it for me and she is doing a wonderful job. I have to say though, she does a fair bit of procedure writing and editing in her day job, so she has a fair bit of practical experience I can draw on.
One thing I noticed when running my work through the editing tool was the number of English issues that were highlighted. It caused me to stop for a few days and think my story was poorly-written. I think I’ve corrected all the erroneous commas, colons inverted commas and full stops, but I still got picked up on adverbs, pronouns, adjectives, etc. etc.
So what I’m getting at is – I think that a book (novel/ whatever) has to be a good story first.
To validate my opinion, I ran two samples of published novels through the editing tool. 3,000 word sections of two well-known and popular books.
I’m pleased to say that the editing tool returned a similar list of issues as my own work did: overused adverbs, passive verbs found lurking in the text and loads of repeat sentence starts.
I didn’t ask anyone else’s opinion if it was a good book or if it deserved to be published. But I’m going to publish it anyway. I know my book is not a masterpiece, I know it could be improved by a ‘normal’ publisher / editor but it never will. Nevertheless, I’ll keep writing because I love it!
I hope it’s a good story.