Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I could be wrong, but I believe we’re moving into an era in which high quality, intensive pre-publication editing is going to be harder and harder to come by. While many publishers are still doing a tremendous job in this area, others have cut their editorial staffs and are spending less time and money on editorial. On top of that, many of you will be going the indie publishing route, in one way or another, within the next few years. The amount of editing you can get for your work will be limited by what you can afford or are willing to pay.
All of this adds up to more books getting into readers’ hands without benefit of the level of tender loving care that used to be considered normal.
Why does it matter?
Because readers can tell the difference.
They may not be able to identify why they’re not compelled by a book. Maybe they can’t point out there is too much narrative and not enough action and dialogue. They might not be able to articulate that the story is boring because the protagonist’s conflict is all internal and isn’t balanced by compelling external conflict. Your reader might not be able to point out that your paragraph structures lack variety or that you often use passive constructions that deaden your writing.
They know when a book is good enough to not only finish, but recommend to their friends. They know when a book was amazing or “meh” or awful. They may not always know why, but they know.
They also know when there are typos or elementary mistakes in grammar or punctuation. And in those online reviews, they’re vocal about these kinds of mistakes.
So this means the burden is on you to keep working on craft. Keep studying plot and structure, character building and dialogue. Proofread carefully before delivering a draft—whether to an agent on submission, to your publisher, or to the file you’re uploading for your e-book. And get the best editing and/or proofreading help you can afford.
The quality of your writing IS going to determine if people want to read what you write. And more and more, the quality control will be your responsibility.
How much do you think writing quality and editorial excellence determines readers’ response to a book?