If you want to be a popular, respectable author that makes a living off your work. PUT IN THE EFFORT!
I don't care if you're worried about your piece losing its voice. I don't care if your mother jumps up and down because she's happy you've managed to string five words together. I don't even care if you've been in a car accident and have brain damage. We have computers with spell and grammar checks. There are people out there who make a living as editors and proofreaders. There is NO excuse not to use either of them.
Self-publishing is still in its infancy, but it is growing up quickly. Even established, traditional authors are starting to move over to it. Still, it carries a stigma that the majority of self-published works are sub-par and poorly written. And it's all thanks to people like this.
"I don't use any programs other than spell check lets face it I still type with two fingers. I don't let anyone edit my stories because I believe it is important to not let some program create a style or input any content. when you read my stories you can be certain they came from my heart not some program or editor .so the mistakes are mine and I may not write in a predesigned format but you will be able to appreciate the story you read is my story."
I pulled that right off a guy's bio on Amazon.
In case you didn't notice, I would like to point out the above block of text has not been touched up. There are no comma's, no capitalization, and the very idea the paragraph conveys is ludicrous. I have glanced through some of his book and it is written in exactly the same way.
Here's a sample from another published book on Amazon.
COME ON!! It's no wonder people think self-published books are trash.
If we want to be taken seriously as authors when we self-publish, we need to put our best foot out there. That means editing, proof-reading, and cover art to the best we can afford. As I have said before, we don't get any slack for being self-published, nor do we deserve it. It is up to us to prove we can put out work every bit as good or better than the big traditional publishing companies.
Seriously, we can do better than this.
Really. I'm not trying to crush anyone's dreams here. I'm saying we can do better. We should do better. We NEED to do better. It is not that hard to find people to give us a hand on the internet. Beta readers are generally easy to find and most are more than happy to point out a few places where a book needs work. Cover art isn't hard to find either, particularly with the number of photoshop programs out there. If you want to be a respectable, successful author, you put in the work to make your story the best it can be. If you want to be a joke and an example of how NOT to write a book, you do what the examples above have done.
This is the perfect example of the statement "Just because you CAN do something, doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD." Self-publishing through Amazon and other services opens the door to just about everybody. It's a good thing. It means a lot of good authors that have been ignored by traditional publishing companies, now have other options, and a lot of good books are getting printed. Most will be ignored though because of people that think just slapping their work together with glue and letters cut-out from magazines is acceptable.
Unfortunately, there are also people like this, who effectively condone these half-assed works.
Now, it's one thing if the work is going to be proofread before release. If not, if you're looking at a final copy which is riddled with errors and you shrug your shoulders and say "It's not my job."...well, you're right, but it is something which should be accounted for in the review. No book should get a 5-star review from a semi-professional reviewer based on "heart" and "what the author was trying to convey" when the book is effectively one big run-on sentence with every fifth word misspelled.
Honestly, despite all the hope I have for the self-publishing movement and despite the fact that these lazy people aren't actually slowing the movement down, I am saddened by these people. I honestly doubt any of them are actually aware of just how much damage they are doing to their own reputations, to the self-publishing movement, and to the written word in general. It is only made worse by the fact that some of them are downright combative when others attempt to point out mistakes and flaws in their work.
I feel I should apologize, I meant to get the initial examples off my chest and then dive into the importance of editing. In the writing of this post though, I realized just how deep the problem actually is, from the writers who don't care enough to have an extra set of eyes go over their work, to the horrible covers, to reviewers that rate books without regard for the work's spelling or grammar.
Self-publishing may be the wave of the future, but there's a lot of garbage washing up on the beaches for it, and for those of us who endeavor to make it recognized and respectable, we have a lot of work to do waking people up to the proper way to do things.