Karaoke Noveling

science of relationships dot comGoodness knows I have read my share of badly written books over the last three years. There is no way to describe the agony of seeing a perfectly good novel devoured by excessive descriptions and overblown characters whose moves and emotions are described to the last detail.

So I don’t.

children of the elementi ceri clarkInstead I focus on the really awesome books I have enjoyed, many of twhich will never be best sellers because they are just one drop in an ocean of books.  But that too will change, I think.

Right now, there is this sort of Karaoke Culture going in regard to writing genre-novels. It’s an “anything you can do, I can do better” sort of philosophy, and while it’s not necessarily terrible, it’s flooding the market with less than stellar works by people who really only have one book in them, and not a great one at that.  At some point, this flood of indies will peak and then level out and those who are in it for the long haul will gain better visibility.

George R.R.Martin formatting issue 1 via book blog page views, margaret ebyIn actuality, every indie author is a Karaoke Star–at first we begin as amateurs who dream big, standing up in front of a crowd and putting our talents (or lack thereof) on the line.  We find out that the more you drink, the better we sound, and when you applaud our efforts, it only encourages us.

Young Woman Sitting Looking at Laptop ScreenSome of us become so encouraged, we quit our day jobs and go pro–to our families’ shock and horror.

Regardless of how badly written a book is, the author had passion for it, and just like the guy who mutilated “Billie Jean” with all his drunken heart in the Karaoke Bar the other night, the author did their best against huge odds.

I have some hard-earned advice for new authors, those of you who want to leave the ranks of the Karaoke novelists. If you are really serious about your work,  get your work professionally edited. Yes, it will cost you, but that experience will enable you to put a book out there that you can be proud of, one that will stand up to any put out by the big publishers.

George R.R.Martin formatting issue 2 via book blog page views, margaret ebyYou might wonder what prompted this little rant–I have just spent the week looking through five reasonably priced, beautifully covered indie books–only to discover they were poorly formatted, rife with newbie errors–beginning the book with a big info dump (been there done that)–thick, lush descriptions of “creamy blue eyes” (pardon, must barf now)–and threads to nowhere, obviously intended to entice the reader to get the sequel, which is now on my “No way in hell” list.  My response? “If you went to the trouble to find expensive art for the cover, you could have had the freaking mess professionally edited. Don’t tell me your friends edited it for you, because the way it looks now, your best chums aren’t doing you any favors.”

on writing

Indies–aren’t you glad I only review the books I like? I don’t want to be known for being a bitch, which is what I feel like when I read some of these travesties.  You see–I have been there.  I started out that way and I didn’t get it either. But experience is a real teacher, and more than anything, I love this craft, and want to be the best I can be at it, whether I sell a book or not.

Thus, after grousing and yelling for two days this week, I decided to reread an old favorite, and will be blogging on my review blog about a book that was published in 1997. I have read it twice, and each time I am swept away by it. Tomorrow, I will be talking about it on Best in Fantasy. My posts go up by 8:00 in the morning US west coast Pacific time. If you are curious as to what book I am talking about, stop by tomorrow!


Review of “Fall of Angels” by L.E. Modesitt Jr.


Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Romance, Uncategorized, writer, writing

8 responses to “Karaoke Noveling

  1. Love your description of ‘Karaoke noveling’ and couldn’t agree more with your rant, Connie. For the first time in my life I find myself NOT finishing books – unheard of in many years of avid reading. And I am refraining from reviewing unless I really like a book too. I can put up with a few small errors – formatting or typos, often extra words left in after an editing sweep – but some of the obvious first draft stuff that’s out there masquerading as a published book is horrifying.
    I am, then, very honoured that you reviewed one of mine so favourably.
    And please, keep on ranting 😉


  2. lol @ Deborah – try to stop me ranting–I’m on a roll!


  3. Stephen

    Now you’ve got everyone wondering if you might be referring to his/her book! I see all these book/movie concepts streetlights and wonder Hey! What’s wrong with mine??? Ok, I did try something different than everyone else, sorry. So I agree with you. ==via cell, 1st post! Tq Patticakes


  4. @Stephen — I think we can be honest with each other–and we are! I enjoy your work. I’ve honestly enjoyed every book I reviewed, which is subjective–its only my opinion. I figure there are enough negative opinions out there already, so someone else can crush the spirit and dreams of the author who is unwilling (or unable) to take his/her book to a higher level.


    • Stephen

      (I’m on a computer now, lol!)
      No worries about mine. It’s these others (especially the movies made from books): bad reviews of movies made from books someone “greenlighted” somehow, I have to wonder if, given an earlier start, “I coulda bin a contendah! I coulda bin sumbody!”