“I can’t imagine how stuff like this gets published. I’ve read where aspiring authors like a young Stephen King had to send out dozens, even hundreds of manuscripts before any publisher would take a chance on them. If that is true, then how the hell does something like this get published? Can’t publishers afford proof readers or editors anymore?”
That is an actual quote from a reader about a book on Amazon. Stephen King did have a little help from his friends. He had an acquaintance in the publishing business who pushed his work until one of his stories got into print. The rest, as they say, is history. But the reviewer has a good point. I also wonder at some of the trash that gets on the market these days. Over and over again I see reviews complaining about spelling and grammatical errors. An occasional mistake can be forgiven, but there just is NO excuse for sloppy spelling and grammar.
It makes me wonder sometimes why I work so hard. Why do I take a year to get a novel into a form that is acceptable to me? And even then, I always wish I could do just one more rewrite to make it a little better. Surely I could cut corners and grind out a pot-boiler a month and make a mint.
It reminds me of the argument I used to use with my mom. “Gee whiz, mom, everybody’s doing it! Why can’t I?” And mom always had the same answer. “Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t make it right, John. Now, go do your homework.”
It’s harder to fool a mom than it is to fool lots of readers. The book that I referenced above with the critical review actually had dozens of 5 star reviews. How is that possible? I wish I knew the answer. There are two possibilities that come to mind, and both are really scary and discouraging to me. One, the level of quality that readers once demanded has gone down. Two, the level of intelligence of readers has gone down.
If either or both of those possibilities are true, then why are you and I working our respective balls off trying to produce the best fiction we possibly can? (An editorial note: even female authors have to have balls to be good writers.) I can’t speak for you, bur for myself I could not sleep if I did less than try to do my very best work as a writer. And, yes mom, I DID my homework.