For the love of all that’s holy, get an editor!

5 Dec

I like supporting indie authors, being one myself. I’ll buy books that aren’t in the mainstream. However, I’m rolling the dice when I read them, because indie authors don’t have the money to spend on covers, marketing, and most importantly, editing.

So I don’t want to give the name to my pain in this post, because I want to be good to my fellow authors, and give them the chance to flourish without some troll smacking down their few reviews. So we’ll just call this book “Japanese-Sounding Unpronounceable” or Unpronounceable for short. I should slam him for that, but heck, I wrote a book called Fatebane which is also the name of the main character, so who am I to complain?

So we start off the book with an info dump. Never good. The prologue starts out with a conversation between two teenage boys trying to figure out what they want to do with their life. That’s good. That’s where you should slowly feed in the info dump to your readers. He didn’t. Now you can throw out terms like half-Ugadoogu if you want to add spice, but there were WAY too many terms to keep track of.

Okay, we get past the intro and Unpronounceable is being taken off his job as a hot-shot pilot and being sent to run a resort. O-kay… you’ve established that corporations have armies, so that… kinda makes sense. Let’s see where he goes with this. Except he’s not running the resort, he’s a desk clerk. (I didn’t read that wrong, that’s what he’s told.) He’s sent there to help clean up the place, but his fellow workers / clones / slaves (it’s not really clear) are upset that this war hero is being treated bad by the actual employer. So they decide to plan a revolt and have Unpronounceable help them. Meanwhile, the emperor’s son drops by, tells the employer to give the employees the day off for the holiday, which allows the employees to plan their revolt better.

So they kill off the employer, restore order to the resort, and make Unpronounceable run it. Okay… this is a bizarre setup for the story, but let’s see where it goes from here. (We’re only a quarter of the way through the book.) Maybe he has to deal with blood feud, rival corporations, political factions…?

Nope! Unpronounceable gets selected as the deputy governor of Corruptville and told to clean it up. (The only redeemable part of this book is the governor’s letter to him about WHY he’s appointing him. I laughed.) Then comes another info dump, a train ride to Corruptville, which is full of people who hate his ever-living guts. He’s never MET any of these people. Why would they riding his ass so hard? If the new boss showed up on my train, and I’m one of the elite, I’d be kissing his ass so hard… not giving me excuses to fire/execute them.

The info dump continues, the governor suddenly appears (you’re on a @#*#$& train! What the hell?!) and tells them, “Hey, I’ve just filled your train full of all my political enemies. Kill them for me, would you?” And the bloodbath begins.

I’m halfway through this book and I lost all track of who was what and why I should care. The fight scenes were… okay, but am I supposed to remember what alien race the Nastyfarians are supposed to be, when you only mentioned them for a paragraph twenty pages ago? And there are clones that turn into monsters, but that’s okay, because apparently everyone can do that… AND that’s when I gave up reading. I gave them a one-star review, because frankly, it was THAT BAD.

Now I understand–editors are expensive. But surely you’ve got a friend who will read it for you before you publish? Someone who can ask, “Hey, bud–why does it matter if this guy is half-Ugadoogu?” And when the author explains that, the reader can say, “Great. Put that in the book. Because you don’t @#($*(# explain that!”

That’s only one problem… there were too many to count. The sheer complexity of Empire-Corporation-Army was bad enough, now throw in clone-human-slave and alien-human-planet and you get a word soup that even I couldn’t just glaze over.

Man, this post was long–I really hated this book. Have you ever had a book so bad it deserved this much ire? Let me know in the comments below!

7 Responses to “For the love of all that’s holy, get an editor!”

  1. spwilcen December 5, 2020 at 11:07 am #

    Yes (so much ire). Forced by Jr year assignment to suffer “And Quiet Flows the Don.” Big flap, long story. Thirty years later, worked to find all six volumes and actually read it. Couldn’t put it down. Consider Conrad’s “Lord Jim.” Superb, it oddly struck me (hate to use the word) implausible. Now. Suspect that’s not where you were with this one. I’ve read two published works by people I know and both were um, ah, trash. Contrived, herky-jerky, adolescent efforts trying to be adult. In spite of that, from a sense of obligation finished them. Seriously believe many who aspire to be novelists should become bakers. Makes me rethink my efforts. Thanks for scaring the beejeezus out of me. Let’s see, didn’t the junior college across town offer a course in commercial baking?

    • albigensia December 6, 2020 at 8:55 am #

      😀 I’ll agree – some things only make sense later in life. I had to read Homer’s The Odyssey in HS, couldn’t understand it. Read it as an adult, couldn’t put it down. Classics are like that. But I… don’t think that’s the case here.

    • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ December 9, 2020 at 2:26 pm #

      Dear Marcus Johnston and SP Wilcenski,

      Hello! I would have quitted reading any book by the first page or two if it had not been well-written, edited and proofread.

      I concur with you regarding your observations about the general decline in the quality of manuscript editing, not to mention the decline in grammar and writing standard.

      I have devised a comprehensive resource for writers, editors, publishers and reviewers to systematically evaluate and determine the quality of a book or manuscript. It is available at

      Given that both of you have been avid readers, writers and bloggers, I would be delighted if you could suggest or recommend further improvements that I may apply to the said page after your complete perusal there.

      Happy winter to you and your family during this festive season as we approach 2021!

  2. Cindy Georgakas December 5, 2020 at 2:38 pm #


  3. ICT Genealogist December 23, 2020 at 9:27 am #

    I have a friend who is about to self-publish his 7th or 8th book. I lost track. His first two books published in 2012 were meant to be a trilogy. His first book did fairly well, his second one didn’t. He chose not to finish the trilogy.

    He is now using an editor on the book, but the editor is not doing spelling and grammar corrections. Only doing plot hole issues.

    He made enough money from book 1 to hire a good editor and proofreader, but chose not to do so. He brags about selling thousands of books while ignoring how many books he could have sold had he spent the money to fix the errors.

    In a similar case, popular traditional published authors often get away with the same thing. He follows a favorite author from a major publisher. The publisher doesn’t waste money on fixing grammar and spelling errors because his fan base doesn’t care and the publisher knows it.

    • albigensia December 24, 2020 at 6:01 am #

      Interesting choice. However, I would agree, I don’t need the grammar checked as much as someone else just stepping in and saying, “Hey, did you mean to confuse the hell out of your audience?” 😉 Thanks for the insight!


  1. Making you Book Text Look Professional | Albigensia Press - January 14, 2021

    […] know this, and don’t want to risk spending money on an awful book (like this one Marcus reviewed). Consequently, they tend to shy away from self-published novels, automatically assuming—fairly […]

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