Monday, December 7, 2009

Weird Theory.

Anyone who has read this blog for a while (hi, Mom!) will know that I have a bit of a hobby-horse going on the subject of self-publishing. I love the blog Self-Publishing Review (, and its rule that the reviewer will only read a book until he or she encounters fifteen errors. In most self-published books that does not take many pages.

Self-published writers tend to be defensive about their printed errors. Indeed, in self-publishing forums I read, I hear a common refrain:

"There are lots of mistakes in commercially-published books, too!"

Maybe I'm reading the wrong books, but no, there are not. I'll confess that I rarely read genre fiction. For the most part, I read literary fiction. So maybe times are tough in the genres. Maybe there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the editorial staffs in romance, horror, and science fiction as mistakes slip past their overworked blue pencils. But somehow I don't think so.

How's this for a theory? Writers who are driven into the questionable embrace of self-publishing, writers who produce the books with the requisite fifteen errors in three pages, just perhaps those writers are seeing errors that aren't there. Books that I would read and find no errors, these folks would read and find many. Because, and follow me closely here, they're wrong.

Startling, ain't it?

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