Dear Smashwords Author,
I, like you, love to write. I bought your short story knowing what it was, and was ok with it. It was, in all actuality and truth, a brilliant concept with a few great turns of phrase.
Then you mucked it up by not having it edited.
“But I went through it twenty times!” I can hear the shriek now, and again I say to you: “You mucked it up by not having it edited.”
“But I don’t have the money…” Hmm. Neither do I. Many writers don’t. But we do have these great people called Beta Readers. I have 2 types of Beta readers. One type is for over all story, ending, how it reads purely from a readers point of view. I’m sorry, but a close friend who doesn’t read much but who loves your work does not count. You need someone who reads what you write. Like tends to attract like, so poke your head up away from the computer screen and take a look around you. The second type of Beta reader, for myself at least, is even more important. The Grammar Police. Yes. You do need them. I have three. Count them. One. Two. Three.
Your brilliant concept? You blew it on grammar. Wrong, shifting tenses AND pronouns! Beta type 2 would have caught this for you. It might have made you feel a little bad to see all that red in your manuscript but oh my, they can take your words and help them SING. Sing, I say!
This isn’t something you can do for yourself, either. There are very few who can (and if you are one of those few, you know that you are blessed so please don’t contradict me here— this is for the newbie). As writers, we spend so much time inside our stories that some times we aren’t really reading the words that are there. We start reading what we think goes there. Eh. It happens. Hence the Grammar Police.
I love those three ladies more than I can say. Rie, Trisha and Linda Beck, you rock my work out. Thank you so much.
Grammar counts. When it works, reading a story is effortless. But when it doesn’t work, when you don’t have that basic grasp (and many of the things I’m calling you out on are basic)… It is confusing. The story becomes a beast that is not approachable in any way.
So please, please, please Think before you publish. Is it REALLY as good as you can make it? Do you know anyone who can act as your grammar police? If not.. ask people. Hey, do you know anyone who corrects everyone’s letters? Watch on facebook.. you’ll know by their posts that they love books and sometimes even that they love the idiosyncrasies of grammar.
But please, don’t rush in. You can’t get that first impression back, especially when it’s there for all time… or until their e-reader crashes.
(And yes, I know that there are some errors on this post…. 😀 )