Non-Gatekept: It Does Not Elminate the Need For Editing

Non-gatekept.    It’s a very popular term among writers these days.    After years of having patiently sent query letters and self-addressed envelopes and done everything in their power to land a publishing deal with a New York publisher,  more and more authors these days are saying, in effect,  “Fuhgettabout New York,” and are opting to self-publish their own work,  drawn both by the empowering ability to decide for themselves exactly what to publish, how much to charge for it and how to promote it,  as well as by a much larger cut of the retail price.

Savvy and successful published authors like Joe Konrath are forsaking major publishers,  and report earning significantly higher incomes from self-publishing than they ever earned writing successful books for major houses.   But professionals like Konrath well understand  the realities of the book business.   They know full well that even though they are publishing DIY style,  it is still absolutely necessary to have professional help for things that writers simply can not do for themselves,  to wit editing and proof-reading.

Allison “Tammy” Moore grew up as a foster child and despite achieving some professional success landed in prison for writing bad checks and other small-time economic crimes.   I Was I Am is billed as a spiritual memoir of how Moore turned her life around.    Unfortunately,   I can’t really share Ms. Moore’s story with you here today.  Honestly,  by page 5 I found myself wishing fervently that I had a copy editor’s red pencil to mark up the many errors in spelling and grammar I noticed.    By page 25,  I had become so very frustrated not only by the consistent small errors in spelling and usage, but also by Ms.  Moore’s style– paragraph after paragraph about her family history begin  “My father/mother/grandfather/grandmother was an aged (numeral),  height (numeral), weight (numeral),  ethnicity (noted) who was born in (location) and worked as (occupation)…    While it would have served as a census-taker’s report or a sociology student’s term paper on social history,  it is absolutely a terrible way to start off a memoir.    An experienced editor, or perhaps a  professional ghost writer would have re-worked the manuscript to begin with vivid memories of the childhood to be recounted and then worked  the demographic data naturally into the text,  while maintaining interest and readability.

The fact is Ms. Moore may very well be an intelligent and capable woman.   She may very well have a compelling story to tell.   But by not using the services of an editor and a proof reader,  she has produced a memoir that I genuinely found un-readable.   What I most hope that both my blog readers and Ms. Moore understand is that I absolutely hate writing an extremely critical review such as this.  As described by her publicist, Ms. Moore’s story genuinely appealed to me and I wanted very much to read it and share it with my blog readers.    Unfortunately,  I found that impossible given the very poor quality of the book I was provided.     Storming past the gatekeepers into the exciting world of self-publishing is something I care deeply and personally about.   And I hope that I have made clear I want nothing more than for every self-published author to write and publish a great book and be a rousing success.   But I know in my heart that when you throw out the editor and proof reader along with the  gatekeeper,  what you end up with is a crappy book that is very clearly reminiscent of what used to be produced by “vanity presses”.     With apologies to Ms. Moore and her publicist,  I regret that I am unable to feature I Was I Am in my Amazon bookstore.    If despite my warnings you want to read it anyway,  you may order it through this non-affiliate Amazon link.

I Was I Am– NOT Recommended

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