But something got me to reading about Amanda Hocking yesterday. I've written about her before. But that was before I had investigated her writing. And by investigating her writing, I mean I read some one- and two-star reviews on Amazon, and some critical blogs. But there is a common theme -- the girl (I can call her a girl, I'm 8 years older than she is) doesn't have a command of basic English grammar, of story construction, or of some facts of modern day life. Like that revolvers don't have clips or that strange lions don't make good pets or that army privates don't, in fact, have much authority in the command structure, or that reading a bunch of text messages exchanged among your characters isn't all that interesting.
I had been considering reading these books, or at least some of them, just to see what all the hype is about. But the reviews I read last night convinced me that I would rather listen to Mitt Romney singing "America the Beautiful" than read Hocking's writing, and that particular rendition of the song makes me want to gouge my eardrums out.
Here are some of the blog entries I sampled last night:
- On Amanda Hocking and Self-Publishing
- Is it Laziness or Efficiency?
- Bad Writing Doesn't Matter Anymore
"This thread is, frankly, terrifying. Are you, as writers, really content to read a story in which “there” and “their” are interchangeable? In which “it’s” and “its” mean the same thing? In which subject and object not only disagree, but have been forced into a cage match? I’m not talking about typos, I’m talking about consistent patterns of ignorance of accepted use of the English language."
The cage match thing had me laughing out loud. But it brings up a good point: are people accepting "books" like Hocking's because they are so inured to poor English grammar and usage that they think it's OK to write a "novel" in slightly over two weeks and slap it up on Amazon's Kindle store. (And please, I don't believe for a minute Hocking had an editor if the kind of mistakes that the reviewers mention, actually showed up.)
Side note: Apparently one of Hocking's books is a zombie war kind of thing, which is supposed to be post-apocalyptic. Only, one person responding to a negative review wrote "post-apoplectic." Which was another moment of hilarity, before I realized the poor person probably didn't realize he/she had used the incorrect word.
People, this is not EVER going to get any better unless you stop buying 99 cent self-published Kindle books. I am sure there are actually good ones out there, gems in the rough, so to speak. Michael J. Sullivan may have been one. But as several commenters and bloggers have said, there's a REASON most of this stuff never makes it past the slush pile. (And I say this with a submission in a slush pile at a major publishing house, as we speak. It's been a month now, since I sent it.)
Well, time to choke down some breakfast. Still looking for a job, which has got my intestines in a knot, which has made me lose most interest in food, except for random, non-hormonal cravings for chocolate.