Sunday, February 20, 2011

There Are Reasons Why We Have Editors & Publishers!

The Haunted E-bookThe Haunted E-book by J.L. Bryan

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I recently won an electronic copy or J. L. Bryan’s The Haunted E-Book in exchange for a review. I have been a fan of horror since my first encounter at the age of nine, when my parents bought me The Complete Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Alongside Poe, I grew up with Stephen King, Peter Straub, and John Saul. I’ve never really been actually scared but the deep psychological thrillers always seemed to pique my interest. I hadn’t been reading horror for quite some time now as Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and children’s books have been capturing my attention lately.

When I read the synopsis of the book I thought it might be intriguing. So, I began reading. Unfortunately, the synopsis was better written than the book. I only finished because I was obligated to write a review.

You are introduced to the main character, Dee, in the first chapter but are not given enough time to get to know her, or connect with her before you are thrown into the book she is reading. You are hopelessly lost to find out who you are supposed to be rooting for here. Although, it is interesting that he tied them all together. The logic is not quite there.

This leads me to the next issue of reading a book within a book, within a book. It was an interesting concept to be reading a book within a book. However, Bryan does not pass this off well enough. There is too much jumping between the books. To have each book titled the same as the main book with just different chapter numbers separating them is very trying just to keep those books straight. It is very confusing to keep the people, story, and characters straight.

I was very disappointed with the lack of warning this book had in regards to the language and scenes. There were many adult oriented scenes that really had no place in the book. I understand, this is a “horror” book, but sex does not have to be a part of it. And the gore, well, I could see his descriptions of the “horror” scenes as nothing more than the “in your face kind of gore” you get with today’s horror movies. Whatever happened to the ones that make you THINK? I mean, those are the TRUE horror!

Bryan is not very colorful with his writing. He lacks the imagery necessary to keep the reader engaged. Most of his adjectives are repetitive and mundane. He also seems to lack the visionary of an editor. This does not even begin to touch on the fact that there are so many grammatical and spelling errors throughout this book. I feel it was poorly written and Bryan hurried to get it out in print, bypassing any editing process.

My impression of this book is very poor. I can see this book as nothing more than Bryan’s attempt at a novel during the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, where a writer challenges himself to produce a novel of 50,000 words in the span of thirty days. Just because you have accomplished writing 50,000 words does not mean that you’ve completed the task of writing a novel and it’s ready for readers.

I did a little research, as well. I found out that this book was published using “CreateSpace”, which is a self-publishing tool. This leads me to the conclusion that my gut instincts were right. He has bypassed the whole editing/publishing process just so he could get his name and book in print. There are reasons we have editors. They help eliminate the grammatical and typographical errors this book is riddled with. There are also reasons why we have publishers. They help weed out nonsensical and poorly written stories. They know the market. They know what will sell. They can weed people like J. L. Bryan out of the book market!

Please, don’t read this! It’s not worth your time!

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  1. Hello there, fellow crusader!

    I haven't read this book so I can't chime in, but I will say this has always been a concern of mine whenever I hear people talk about self-publishing. It can be so hard to get the distance we need from our own stories to see their potential pitfalls. And unless you have a hell of a stable of crit partners (and even then that's often not quite enough) you need the sharply trained eye of agents & editors to truly make a story shine.

  2. It's very interesting to see this as I've recently read a number of articles on self e-publishing - some of which are success stories - and I had kinda started to wonder about it for myself. It's a pity that "just anything" can get published because it gives this idea that ANYTHING self-published can't be that good...

    I have a question: if a novel that you wrote got rejected over and over (for whatever reason) and yet you truly believed that it was good enough, would you self-publish it?

  3. Good question from Rachel. Did you see Margaret Attwood's presentation the other day? She talked quite a bit about self-publishing, but I don't particularly think she endorsed it. I think everyone should try the traditional route for a long while, re-writing if they don't like it and only self-publish as a last resort. Can't read horror, can't comment :P

  4. Hi. fellow crusader dropping in...I plan on self-publishing and this decision came after a lot of thought, research, and prayer over if I should go that route. Self-publishing does carry a stigma, but can be done successfully. It depends on how you approach it. If a writer is eager to see their name in print, then of course, you risk work that lacks quality because the time and care wasn't taken to polish the work. My attitude is to either do it right or not at all, so I hired a copyeditor to go over my manuscript and a graphic designer to do my cover. There are some things that writers should not do themselves, even if they have the tools/experience to. In my case, I've got some editing experience and know basic graphic design but I knew I needed to delegate. Contracting a designer with more design skill and getting an editor that is unbiased was best to make sure that not only was the manuscript as grammatically error-free as possible, but the the story, flow, and tone made sense. Those were the two best decisions I made regarding my book.

  5. I've self-published short devotional books, but my novels I want editors...lots of editors. ; ) The difference is the need to make a long story arc work vs. a short page and a half devotion. I think it's up to the work. BTW, I did have editors on the short ones, too. See you around the crusade.

  6. Even if you do choose to self-publish, I guess paying for an edit by a professional is a must. Sorry the author didn't fix those problems beforehand.

  7. you've all brought valid points to my argument. However, like Yves said, "do it right, or not at all".

    I never had an opinion of self-published before. This was my first encounter. Unfortunately, it was a bad one. I am sure there are other stories out there that utilized the write and re-write, critiques, and editors/proofreaders that would lend to a better read than this one. I will not discount self-editing based on this one alone.

  8. So true! There are reasons we should have editors and agents!

  9. yep, I've read a few self-pubbed books and the majority have been poorly edited. It hurts. I see so much lost potential out there.

  10. Gah! Books like this give self-pubbing a bad name. I tried a print-on-demand experiment with a novel I was going to shelve, this summer, and it was through Create Space. Typos are easy to miss. I think I omitted some quotation marks and a word or two. Sigh. I even had a number of people help me proofread. I think my grammar and writing style/quality were okay, though. *grin* I'm still aiming for traditional publishing with my other novel(s).

    Hi, fellow Crusader! and thanks for following my blog.

  11. Tally HO, fellow Crusaders!

    Have you read JA Konrath?

    Check him out

    Lots of great debate and resources for the self pub question.