Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Writing Blogs....

There are a few. This is one of them. When I'm here it's my Children's Writer mode; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators member mode. The one who won the NaNoWriMo with over 50,000 words (but no end of the story in sight). Oy vey.

However, if you're into things like checking dates, you'll see that it's been a very VERY long time since I've written, which belies my description as "writer". I apologize.

My explanation (NOT "excuse") is....BUSY. But as I write today, NaNoWriMo is last month and therefore history; the "busy" has been working at the Museum, spending some family time, preparing for the holidays (takes SOME, when you celebrate Chanukah....Solstice....Yule....and Christmas) and today is the day-before-the-day-before Christmas.

So I'm not going to write much now either, but did want to point out that the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated and I will write a proper Post in the next few days.

To stave the guilt I'll include here a brief rant.

I've been given three books by my boss at the Museum who manages the shop; he asked me to read them and give an opinion about whether or not they might be good books to carry in a Historical Museum gift shop.

Seems all three were self-published. Now, they LOOK good; professional-looking covers, good typefaces, all in all nicely turned out. The two I've finished are not bad stories. One is sort of "memories of life in early Wisconsin" and is charming; the other is a young people's novel and a good, hearty tale. The third is very thick and I'm not finished reading it.

But they all share one thing in common: they're DREADFUL! By which I mean, the punctuation is terrible, they're full of either spelling errors or typos or both (I prefer to think they're typos, NOT spellling errors....). And I mean both kinds of error are frequent enough that they're a real distraction to me. Admittedly, I see errors like that as if they were neon red, but I'm of the thought that people assume what they're reading is 100% accurate - and they have a right to.

The kid book? Well, aspiring youngsters looking to become writers might subconsciously be learning from every book they read. I suspect that none of these three books was proofread by anyone qualified - including authors themselves. I'm not suggesting that they pay for an expensive editor or proofreader; I AM suggesting that no one who is self-publishing (be it online or any other way) who does NOT at least run their manuscripts past other writers or a review group or ... heck, their Retired English Teacher Grandmaw! before putting out money (which I suspect might have been considerable in one case) to produce their book, is remiss.

I'm thinking they may sell some copies, if they offer them through their churches or social groups. I'm also thinking that if they try to sell them through their own public or school libraries they WILL be reviewed, and will receive the same response I had.

That's it; that's my rant. Puts me in an interesting position, because I AM going to drop each writer a note - it'll be a test of my diplomacy to explain my position, but I can't not, if you ken my meaning. I would certainly want the truth if it were my book.

The fact that "there may be no chance anyone else will notice" isn't good enough for me.

Any thoughts? (By the way -- I AM aware of my use (over-use?) of semi-colons. I love them and use them now and then. Maybe too much....bear with me.