to find Patti Singleton these days.

A-Z April Challenge; R is For Reviews and Ready to Publish?


Is your final product (your book!) a skunk or a rose?

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage.

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose.











Author Rebecca Lamoreaux wrote a recent A-Z Challenge post about many issues pertaining to writing book reviews. Here is part of my comment, as well as some further discussion and helpful links.

To be honest, these issues make me hesitate to publish. No one is perfect, but I think books need to be as close to perfect as they can be, BEFORE they are seen in public. In a perfect world, I’ve always thought that indie authors should have their books go through an indie author board (or a professional editor) before publishing. It would raise the quality by leaps and bounds. I will write a post and make sure you see it. Thanks for bringing this up.

The comment above, from :

Good article about gauging your readiness to publish:

For self-publishers, an excellent article about the different kinds of editing and some awesome links for help finding an editor:

What are your thoughts?


Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here:

Author: Patti Singleton

Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the desert, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy.

28 thoughts on “A-Z April Challenge; R is For Reviews and Ready to Publish?

  1. I think all authors should have their work professionally edited, but I disagree with an indie author board acting as gatekeeper. There are many people who think their way is the only way, editors included, and that is simply wrong.

    • I see what you mean by “gatekeeper” I just wish there was a way to convince indies to get edited before they publish. Thanks for adding your voice to this, Susan.

      • There are so very many sorts of editing out there and your links are very helpful to help others find the correct resources. I agree that indies should have their work seriously proofread and perhaps professionally edited, if necessary.

        With more content editing things can tricky. You really have to shop around and get an editor who likes your style and is not adversely influenced by your subject matter. it even helps to have an editor who knows your genre.

        Many of the best books I have read this past year have been indies. Part of what prides me on being an indie author is the break away from the traditional, mass marketed, formulaic work out there. There are some who wish to be gatekeepers, who would never have let that work see the light of day. Just sayin!

      • Agreed! You have gone through many pros and cons on your blog and we all appreciate that. I don’t want style or content messed with either. 🙂

  2. I really don’t know… having some sort of official seal could help with sales, showing you passed a certain quality level and could help Indie Authors learn that not everything they write should be published. It’s not a horrible idea. It would obviously have to be voluntary submissions. Something like this would be nice as I’ve seen too many authors who have gamed the review system to make their books seem better than they really are and I’ve been burned by it.

    • Either way, I think we all need to be talking about this as much as we can. Unedited books being published, makes us all look bad, as a group: self-published authors. I so agree with eliminating the gamed review system. Thanks for contributing!

  3. I would worry that we’d be reliant on books passing that were to the taste of the board. Even if a book is well written if the subject matter bores you, you may reject it. Also their criteria for passing may throw out many new styles of book completely as once classics of sci-fi were once rejected.
    If the board were to check just the quality of editing then it’s for the readers to decide.
    xxx Huge Hugs Patti xxx

    • Yes, David, I can see how this can be a problem. I was thinking more on the line of proofreading out mechanical errors like spelling and grammar. And it would be volunteer. I secretly (ha!) wouldn’t mind every self-published book having to get that kind of editing before it goes public. I do see how it could be abused though. I can’t count the number of self-published books I have put aside, because there were so many of those type of errors. Thanks for joining in with this discussion!
      Hugs back, P

  4. Very thought-provoking!

    • Thanks, Luanne! I could have added a ton more links, but I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, just get us talking about it. So far, we have some good food for thought in the comments and that is always cool 🙂

      • Exactly. I will say that I do like books that I bother to spend my time on to be as good as they possibly can be.

  5. Good question, Patti. You’re cooking in your cave. A board sounds threatening and I don’t know enough to have an opinion, but submitting your book to publishers poses a constant threat of rejection. I got quite a few. They liked it, they wanted more, they wanted the whole thing, but then no.

    By the time my book was accepted, it had been through many drafts. I had four early readers (writers and writing teachers) before getting to a book development editor, two editors who work with her, and now the publishing house editor. Everyone finds something, but by the time I got it to the publisher, it was a polished manuscript. He catches a detail every few pages or has a style question, but it is clean. Lots of criticism and disappointment along the way include one young editor who told me she didn’t care about me as a character. I was crushed, but something in me knew she was right even though others hadn’t seen it. I went back to the beginning and made myself a well-described, compelling character in the first pages. I read first pages of many memoirs to figure it out. Readers are the judge in the end, but I still have the job of promotion.

    My publisher is a small independent publisher with scrupulous requirements. I tend to be compulsive about editing my short blogs and articles, so I was amazed by the details of this process. When I look back at blogs from two years ago, it’s obvious the process made me a better writer.

    • Wow, important words from the trenches! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your painful, but rewarding, path, Elaine. I’m sure I won’t be the only novice to run in search for my thick skin suit 🙂 And yet I know that only the experience can give us that thick skin.
      Another important note is how you noticed the difference in your blog posts and articles.
      Thank you times ten.

      • It usually wasn’t painful, Patti. I knew what to expect. It was like going to graduate school. Everyone I worked with wanted me to be a better writer, so it felt empowering. Jill is a wonderful editor because she’s a writer and knows about sensitive feelings. The girl who was toughest on me was an editor, but not a writer. Yes, thick skin. I imagine rejections will always hurt, but most everyone gets them and most writers get lots of them. E

      • Thanks for clarifying, Elaine.

  6. I just LOVE that photo of the skunk cabbage – what an amazing looking thing! I’ve never heard of them. Your question made me laugh, and certainly got to the point, ‘skunk or cabbage?’ I’ll be using that question when I’m thinking about whether what I write is ready to send off/publish. Thanks for the links and, though I’ve not been present much here, I do so hope you’re having a ball with this A-Z challenge:-) Love and blessings, Harula xxxxx

    • It is called skunk cabbage because it smells awful! Maybe that is defense against those who may otherwise eat it? Of course, it could also attract insects to help it reproduce! They are beautiful, but smelly.
      I think you meant “skunk or rose” and I am sure it will come to me when I publish too.
      I am having fun, but do miss you.

  7. Oops – yes, I meant skunk or rose. That’s another reminder of how frazzled I am with fullness at the moment, to make a mistake like that. Thankfully I have a free day from now so I’m gonna have myself some quality down time. Love and blessings my friend, H xxx

  8. What an unfortunate name for such a beautiful flower, skunk cabbage heh 🙂

  9. Mathair and I are at a pretty even keel when it comes to editors, reviewers, beta readers. An author is too close to their work. They’ve invested time, love, money and a load of creativity into something that is completely under their control. Outside opinions and suggestions, especially coming from professionals in the literary field, are always going to help matters. It’s how you take it and apply them to your work that can make or break the story. At the end of the day, it’s your story and it’s your choice on what you do with it. Great links, Patti. Mathair and I are taking notes. LOL

    • I agree. At the very least, professional proofreading is needed. And part of the freedom of self-publishing, is having control of who does that job. Even non-fiction writers have their heart in their craft. We need someone who doesn’t have an emotional connection, to do the final editing/proofreading.
      Glad there were some helpful links for you! I’m taking notes too 🙂

  10. If the editing process isn’t grueling, you’re not doing it right. That’s become my mantra. And after I’m finished my fifth or sixth edit, I intend to find a real editor, so thanks for the links above! I so agree with you that indie book authors need to spend more time on their manuscripts and not be impatient. It’s truly discouraging to come across a novel that has loads of good reviews and yet it’s unreadable. As Bradley said, a stamp of approval from someone – or even the name of the editor in print inside the novel – would be a valuable thing to see.

    • Great mantra! Please keep us posted when you find a keeper. Yes, I mean, part of the reason we are indies, is to speed up the whole process. However, even if we cut the time it takes traditional publisher/editor to give the green light, in half, that is still way slower than many indies speed through the process. I’ve read some indie books that were 5 in content and 1 or 2 in quality. What a shame. That’s why I suggested some kind of filter for quality (proofreading) before a book goes public. It is a matter of all of our reputations, I believe.
      Thanks for contributing, Linda, and I look forward to reading your work.

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