It’s so easy to download an inexpensive ebook that I’ve become much more willing to try self-published titles than when I had to pay $14, $15, or even upwards of $20 for the print version. Digital technology has broadened the possibilities for people to express themselves and for us, as readers, to find more books to enjoy. The downside, however, is that this new marketplace has created a troublesome reality for all book lovers: Almost anybody who wants to publish a book can. And frankly, too many of these books aren’t ready for public consumption.
I sat down one Saturday with my Kindle and my coffee, envisioning a lovely relaxing morning read. But here’s how it went: I started and stopped four books in about an hour. With a couple, I only read a few pages, but the other two I gave more of a chance. I knew the author of one and I’d read something good about the other in a blog roundup.
And yet, with all four of these books, the authors had not polished their skills, nor had they sufficiently polished their manuscripts. I’m not just talking about misplaced punctuation or bad spelling, either. I’m talking about basic plot holes; two-dimensional, clichéd characters and situations; unnatural and awkward dialogue; and unbelievable, contrived scenarios that didn’t arise naturally out of the events of the story.