Saturday, 26 July 2014

Can't See the Writing for the Words

This blog is a follow-up to the one I posted the other day about the story of David Mitchell's back. Back Story is an appropriate title as Mitchell's back plays a prominent role. (No, there are no chiropractors involved. And no anal sex, either.) You'll have to read the book to find out just what I mean. Clever man. Clever title. (Still don't know who he is? Here's the Master Ranter on his Soapbox.)

If I'm so keen on you purchasing David Mitchell's Back Story, why didn't I provide any links? It's available on Amazon, isn't it? Yes, you can buy it on Amazon, but I would rather you did not. 


Because in my estimation, Amazon is evil and needs to be taken off at the knees.

But didn't Amazon revolutionize the e-book world and make it easier for self-published authors to market their writing?

Yes, Amazon did that, in much the same way the Bolshevik revolution seized power from the Tsars and gave the Russian people the right to starvation and endless queues for toilet paper.  Amazon has blinded independent authors with the flashy light of fame and led them into the Amazon boudoir so that Amazon and traditional publishing houses can spit roast these hapless authors repeatedly.

But Amazon is huge. They're worldwide. What about getting my writing out to the masses?

Amazon is only huge because you, independent author, made them huge. It is your right to take back the power you willingly gave to Amazon. Do your homework. Look into alternatives like Smashwords or Lightning Source. Don't believe what you read on the internet or what other people tell you. For pity's sake don't listen to the whiners on GoodReads. That's owned by Amazon, you know. You have to do the research yourself.

Enough about Amazon. Back to what I was ranting about in my last post: editing.

Having just read David Mitchell's latest column in the Guardian I suspect that his editors and proofreaders are falling down on purpose. Maybe Victoria is binding David's hands and feet; thus forcing him to bang out his articles with his John Thomas. (There's something you're not likely to see on Britain's Got Talent. I can see David Walliams instantly stretching out his hands to slap it. The gold buzzer, I mean.) Even so, I find it hard to believe that such blatant errors would escape such a learned man. Unless there's a mask involved as well as the chains.

But that is none of our business. And stop before you go spreading rumours. None of the above paragraph is true other than the bit about the failings of David's proofreaders and editors. And the bit about David being a learned man.

The point is this: No one can proofread and edit their own work. You need at least one or more sets of eyes to see what you, the author, cannot see. You are too close to your work to notice all the words and punctuation.

At the very least you should bone-up on best editing practices by grabbing a copy of Vanessa Finaughty's the Editors' Bible. It's on sale until July 31st, 2014 for half price.

As for places to purchase David Mitchell's Back Story, I'd rather you got off your arse, got on your ass and road in to town to buy it from a real book store. You can even check availability online. Go to the website of your local book store and do a search for Back Story. (Don't just do a Google search. They're just as bad as Amazon, but I'll be ranting Google another time.) In fact, you can even have your local book shop order it in for you. They can do that, you know. Tell them you have the International Standard Book Numbers and they should have no trouble locating copies. Here are the ISBNs for Back Story: ISBN 13: 9780007351749 ISBN 10: 0007351747

You don't have to kowtow to Amazon of Borg.

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