More Ways to Slaughter Your Career

Creative Commons: @daniel_nelson

The human race is capable of mighty deeds and also some pretty stupid ones. We already saw the editor who blew her career (and Food Source’s site) to kingdom come with her arrogance and ignorance in regards to editing and publishing.

Now here’s another end to the writing and publishing world. Writer’s who self-publish may have great works or really humdrum pieces or even gobbledy-gook that is completely unreadable. Some writers who decide to self-publish their works have the unassailable attitude that they are geniuses, their works are brilliant and anyone who doesn’t agree is a misanthrope or worse.

It would almost seem that people should know and understand this but many don’t. Some people have an idea and write it, without having any expertise as a writer. Expertise comes from practice and learning the techniques, and from what I can tell it’s a lifelong process. Publishing houses have editors and copyeditors and proofreaders who all work to make sure the manuscript is shipshape and will sell. If someone is going to self-publish, then they can serve themselves best by hiring a copyeditor, someone to at least go through and fix the grammatical issues.

So, it’s of interest when one Ms Jacqueline Howett was reviewed for her book The Greek Seaman on a blog titled Big Al’s Books and Pals and she did not react well. How badly did she react? Well, I read the review and the sample of her writing and as I read her responses I thought, “This can’t be real. Surely it’s a gimmick to get more hype.” But as I looked a little further and then found her own webpage I realized in fact this woman was real but had no clue. At first I thought she must be only about 12 years of age with the way she responded.

The reviewer says the story is quite interesting but the writing lags, and has numerous grammatical issues and typos, which garnered Howett only two stars. She responded that he didn’t download the correct version (why have the wrong version up). Al responded with posting just two passages of her writing:

“She carried her stocky build carefully back down the stairs.”

“Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance.”

WTF? I mean seriously, I would not have been as generous in giving two stars. Talk about Frankenstein sentences. How about this for a rewrite:

She carefully walked back down the stairs. (Frankly, it’s difficult to make this one very good at all and would need the context of the scene to rework it. It separates the person from their body in awkward phrasing and would have been better to describe her shape/size elsewhere.)

Don and Katy watched as Gino hypnotically set more coffees at another table. (I’m leaving out the “supreme balance” because I can’t tell if Gino is balancing himself or the coffees, and if he’s balancing them in his hands, on the tray or on the table.)

You can read the full interaction at Big Al’s but here are a few of her responses:

Look AL, I’m not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their there were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i I insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying, why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails? My comments in italics, red for corrections. Wow! She’s accusatory and demanding. What the hell is “playing snake?” She can’t see any errors in her writing. She can’t capitalize “i”, she doesn’t use commas.

And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting disgusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don’t fool me, AL Al. Hmm, discusting?  Al is in all caps, maybe for emphasis; again no use of comma. How can I believe she knows how to write if her comments here are an example of her writing style? Let’s not even get into the highly inflammatory and juvenile language.

Who are you any way anyway? Really, who are you?
What do we know about you? And no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. I wonder if she’s forgotten to take some medications as this has nothing to do with a review.

You never downloaded another copy, you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail I’m not even through all her subsequent curses but I started to think she was a teenager at about this point, though many of them talk way more maturely.

Besides, if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors. Hooboy, yet another example of how people don’t understand a process. Reviewers review. They don’t need permission, and yes everyone is entitled to an opinion but Ms. Howett exhibits arrogance and that she just thinks she’s entitled. What’s debated or discussed more amongst authors is the self-righteous self-publisher and some of the crap that is published. No one debates the right of someone to review anything.

Your You’re the target not me!
Now get this review off here! Demanding, and the wrong use of “your.” Try “you’re”, Jacqueline.

I skimmed through the some 300 comments (before comments were closed) and Jacqueline’s tone gets worse until she’s just saying “F–k off!” At least she spelled that correctly. Although she’s gaining notoriety (can we say viral) and maybe even a few sales from this, I doubt that many people will bother to read her book because it’s not edited and because of her rant that paints her as someone lacking any nobility and just a temper tantrum waiting to get uglier. If you’re thinking of publishing anything, even if it’s self-publishing, please don’t even walk beside Howett’s footsteps, let alone in them. And get a proofreader.

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Filed under Culture, entertainment, people, Publishing, Writing

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