Let me get this out of the way; I gave up on reading Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland. I stopped reading because I wasn’t enjoying it. I found the plot pedestrian, the characters flat and forgettable, and the story entirely lacking in heart. But that’s okay. I don’t have to be a Hocking fan.
Having said that, and based on my experience of Hollowland, I think Hocking is very harmful for self-publishing.
I’m a tyrant when it comes to spelling and grammar. I can’t overemphasise how important they are. And, as tyrannical as I am, I am even more embarrassed and mortified if I make a mistake in my own writing. I think this reaction is completely justified. Writing, after all, is what I do. Hell, I’m paid to do it, and so I expect myself to do it well. How can I be taken seriously as a writer if my writing contains simple spelling or grammatical errors?
See where I’m going with this?
Self-publishing is still new and readers are asking themselves why they should take an indie author seriously. Why should they read a book that wasn’t good enough for a publisher? Indie authors are still having to prove that their worth is as good as their traditionally published cousins.
Amanda Hocking is touted as the self-publishing success story. She is the cream of the crop, a big name. And yet Hollowland is riddled with spelling errors. Not just one or two, but dozens.
That is unacceptable from someone who makes their living from writing. And if Hollowland is a reader’s first experience of self-publishing, what will they think? That indie authors can’t take the time, or don’t have the care or professionalism, to check their work before publishing it? Instant turn-off. Indie authors lose a reader.
Hocking doesn’t have to write the kind of books I like to read, and I wish her all the success in the world with her career. But I will not sugarcoat the truth; she needs to proofread her work. Because it hurts the burgeoning industry that she, however unwillingly, has become a figurehead to.