Obsessive Writers


It has to be said. A proportion of today’s self-published writers, those who churn out six or a dozen books each year, have to be suffering from some form of desperate obsession. What other explanation can there be for their compulsive need to flood the market with poorly written books? Perhaps they honestly believe that they will gain a large readership, in which case they are deluding themselves? Who can say? If only they were OCD sufferers. Then at least their books would be well written, and would clearly show their need for order and detail.

Normal well adjusted writers, which is the vast majority of us, may publish one book each year, or perhaps every two years. We gain our faithful readership by producing well written books with a strong story, not by doing things the way the obsessive writer does.

Oh yeh clever dick – what about spelling mistakes in self-published books then? I am always finding them.

Not that old chestnut again!!!

Once again, just for you. Yes its true that spelling errors are held up by armchair critics as a reason why you should not buy a self-published book. But even mainstream produced books are hardly error free. I’m sorry to burst your bubble here, but I have news for you. There is no such thing as a perfect book. There isn’t one that doesn’t have the odd spelling error. The writer of the book you are reading cannot be held responsible for a copy or line editor missing the odd one or two. All he or she can do is hand over a manuscript as error free as is possible to his/her editor. Once the editor has placed it in the hands of a publisher, it is largely out of the writer’s control.

When it comes to works originally published as paperbacks or hard covers, in a lot of cases when they are converted by mainstream publishers to gain a foothold in the eBook market, they often contain larger than normal gaps between words as well as gaps between the letters making up a word, rendering them unreadable. This practice of churning out a cheap and nasty product, does nothing to enhance an author’s reputation. Sadly it is becoming more prevalent as the major publishing houses look to the growing eBook market.

As writers, once we have a story in our heads, its true that we do become obsessed up to a point with getting it onto paper and/or our computer screens. But in general that is as far as our brush with obsession goes. We don’t overly concern ourselves with whether or not it will become the next best seller, unlike the obsessive writers appear to do. What the next best seller will prove to be is in the lap of the gods. There is nothing any writer, publisher, agent or editor can do to influence that, no matter how hard they may try.

Irrespective of which format is used, the mark of a good book is whether or not it is still being bought several years after it was published. Four of my six are. How about you?



9 thoughts on “Obsessive Writers

  1. Oh boy, can traditionally published books have errors! I’ve recently read a mix of indie and traditional, all in e-book format. The worst offender was a YA book published by Random/Corgi in which boys became bogs and ways became wags. At the first instance, I thought it was Scottish dialect but it soon became apparent it was not.


  2. Oh, thank you for that post. I hate books with multiple errors, but I have read self-published books that did not have them. Then there was the vanity press that put more errors in my first novel than were there. They said they would edit. It was a lie.


  3. LOL – love the OCD. I’ve got three for this year, but they’ve been pretty much done for quite a long while now, and lurking gathering dust while life has been a bit bouncy. I don’t know how some of the guys manage to put out loads of books every year – although one I’ve seen seems to just tell the same story over and over again with a couple of tweaks and names and places changed. šŸ™‚


  4. I went to a Writer’s Conference in LA a couple of years ago, and there were displays set up in the main lobby. I picked up a brochure from a publishing press for self-publishers, and under the explanation of their editing services was a misspelled word (and this was from a well-known company). I went away shaking my head.

    Liked by 1 person

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