Word of the week: feasible /ˈfēzəbəl/ (hear it!) - adjective - 1: capable of being done or carried out; 2: capable of being used or dealt with successfully, suitable; 3: reasonable, likely - Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Some years back, I was told that we (referring to editors, but this applies to indie authors, too) are expected to be perfect [in our editing/writing], and yet no one is ever perfect. Oh, so, so true—heartbreakingly.

Well, naturally, this high expectation creates a conundrum, which creates stress, which of course creates excessive perfectionism, which cycles back around to exacerbate the original conundrum, which in turn creates even more stress on top of even more excessive perfectionism . . . which eventually leads to bald indie authors tearing out their “flowing locks” trying to please “all and sundry,” or abandoning a perfectly feasible project in disgust. (Yikes! [insert your own capitalized entity here] forbid!)

Please, no bald indie authors. And no giving up.

In the November 2011 issue of the Writer's Beat Quarterly (# 35), my good friend and proofreader, Keely Christensen, WBQ's editor-in-chief, wrote in her quarterly Letter From the Editor a matter I felt hit spot on. Something indie authors need to remember if they ever plan to be taken seriously in their self-publishing endeavors. One of many issues indie authors face, without a doubt, but one that should not be taken lightly, regardless, despite its seemingly minor significance.

And it's oh-so easy to fix. Honest!

So, here it is, reprinted with permission, a well-spoken . . .

Indie Reader Rant!

I’ve been reading so many self-published ebooks lately. I’ve come to find that there are a great deal of them I enjoy just as much as (if not sometimes more) than traditionally published novels. Every here and there, though, I get into something in which I would love to be able to demand my money back!

For the sake of fairness, I will not specify what book or who wrote it, but I recently purchased a novel for $2.99 on my Nook. I read about five pages of the “free excerpt” and, coupled with the synopsis (which sounded interesting), I decided to go for it. Page six shows up. Commas are crazily out of place, capitalization is frustratingly incorrect (“Dialogue.” He said.), and words are misspelled everywhere (the author wrote about the “school’s principle”). In the next ten pages (all I got through), I found 249 SPaG errors.

Now I know there is a constant ongoing debate on self vs. traditional publishing. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a fair share of traditionally published novels with errors, too. I just really want to point out that whatever route you want to go for, you need to try, try, try your hardest to make sure that it isn’t one big ball of messed up crap. You could have the next greatest novel in the history of the world, and if it goes out to people talking about how the “whether” was supposed to be nice and that the diamond was two “carrots,” I don’t care how great the story is. I’m gonna get frustrated.

Now, I’m not a stickler for perfection on those kinds of things. I’m sure if someone searched through this they might find a handful of errors. I do, however, want to see the effort put forth. I don’t like paying three dollars for something that makes me feel like I was just ripped off. Like it was a first draft or something.

Not to say that it’s an easy task—I realize that. We have a great team here [at Writer's Beat Quarterly] who does as much as we can to make sure things look nice, and are correct. We miss things all the time, of course, but we try hard to make sure those errors aren’t riddled throughout (you know, like 249 times in ten pages . . .). So, I want to give a thanks to the hardworking team at Writers Beat for making sure that our readers don’t end up crying because of the all the errors!

Keely Christensen, Editor-in-Chief of the Writer's Beat Quarterly

* * *
Click here to download (for free!) and read (for free!) and enjoy (for free!) more Writer's Beat Quarterly issues. (Did I mention they're free?)


  1. What all indie authors should remember! Mind your SPaG and edit, edit, edit until near perfection. Or better still hire a real editor (David Gilmore is my suggestion) to make sure the work put out there is tight and SPaG free.

    1. I completely agree! On both points, actually. :D

  2. Edit, edit, and more edit. And have the edits proofread. And then edit some more. Thanks for the reprint on this one, Kimberly!

    What if an indie writer is already bald?

    1. Oh, goodness . . . well . . . um . . . Lol!

      And how odd. I can't seem to see your second comment here. I can see it behind the scenes, but it hasn't appeared up front. Odd. Oddoddodd.

  3. I couldn't agree more. And thank you for the recommendations, Lucy and Kimberly. :) Though you should be advertising your own services as well, Kimberly.

    As alluded to in the post, I'm sure there's things I missed though or got wrong with your works as no one's perfect and there's a lot of subjectivity. What matters however is you do the best you can, both writer and editor. I know I've certainly learnt a lot lately with reading like a mad man also.


    The reason I'm posting here is that I want to second the sentiment expressed. No work is perfect, but you should do your best to get it as good as possible.

    In fact, in the ebooks I've been reading lately, I've been noticing the errors. And I'm not talking about ebooks from indie authors here. I'm talking about things such as missing speech marks from authors like James Herbert (I feel bad mentioning that with his passing away, but he's one author I've been reading lately and please, don't let that stop you reading his books as I've enjoyed them). Then there are things such as no separate paragraph for a new speaker in Dean Koontz's Midnight.

    These mistakes weren't common, but I noticed them. If there's anything that's easy to notice when editing, it's missed speechmarks and no new paragraphs for different speakers. Everyone should catach them regardless of skill when they're paid to edit, so I view the jobs done on those ebooks as rather sloppy. (I'm hoping it's a problem related to the ebooks only and again, don't let that put you off from reading the books. The problems weren't common.)

    When it comes to the actual story content though, I'm beginning to realise there is such a thing as being too harsh on yourself, with trying to get a story published. Outside of the technical aspects, it's mostly a case of people just needing to put their work out there and hoping people like the stories themselves. I can't count the amount of stories I've abandoned or have kept on file for working on at a later date over the past month, because I don't feel confident about them. So, the one I'm working on npw, I'm just going to put it out and hope for the best, no matter what. Else I won't publish anything.

  4. And heh, I noticed at least one typo there. 'Npw' instead of 'now'. Let me edit! ;)

    1. Edit! Ediiiiit! "Now." There. *whew* Oh, yeah, and: "catach." "Catch." Lol! See? Even editors need editors. :D Good points, though, David. Very good points. I do have to wonder, though, how many people, average readers, would even notice the stuff we do? As editors ourselves, we've gotten our minds quite attuned to the particulars. I'll be willing to bet, dollars to yummy frosted donuts, that most people don't even see them. :D

      And yes, I'm hungry right now. Mmm . . . donuts.

    2. I noticed that 'catach' typo after I'd posted the last comment. ;) Teaches me that I need to go over my writing more before posting!


      Honestly? I reckon most people don't notice the errors. Whenever I see someone ask the same question you did, Kimberly, I'm reminded of one example on years ago.

      I was browsing the fiction section. I opened up one thread and the errors were apparent to me without seeking them out. Mostly wrong dialog punctuation. Yet everyone told the person their story/writing was great and didn't bother to point out the flaws.

      I did and one of the commenters later said that because they enjoyed the story so much, they didn't notice the errors.

      And I've noticed the same thing on writersbeat too in the fiction section. Few people rarely point out the grammatical errors in dialog examples such as:

      'Piper said she wanted to go home,' he said

      'Piper said she wanted to go home' he said.

      'Piper said she wanted to go home.' He said.

      'Piper said she wanted to go home' He said.

      It's clear to us though that there are grammatical flaws with the dialog shown. And to make matters worse, it seems the dialog is, in some cases, randomly punctuated as it feels like a different rule is used for each bit of dialog.

      But oddly enough, when you look past the dialog punctuation faults, the actual writing doesn't seem to be that bad.

  5. Couldn't agree more. People need to make sure they know how to spell, punctuate and write decent English before they start writing a novel; unless they want a load of bad reviews, of course. Books like this only add to some people's impression that indie books are all crap. I think I abandon about a third of the indie books I start; the problem is exacerbated by all the five star reviews from their mates - people buy the book thinking it's going to be good, then get angry that they've wasted their money, understandably.