The Romance Reviews

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What Am I Missing?

What am I missing? I’m on a lot of writer groups on FB (okay, more like share your buy links groups) and I’ve been keeping track for the last week or so of what’s posted in these groups. The preponderance of these books are self-published, self-proclaimed erotica.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there’s some really great erotica out there. I’ve found a few good ones…but those are truly in the minority. I can’t begin to tell you the books I’ve downloaded and returned via Kindle, and they were free to start with! The ones I’ve returned were so full of grammatical errors I felt as if my eye balls were bleeding and that I was reading more freshman comp papers in the developmental college comp classes I taught. (Yes, these “published” books were that bad.) And, please, don’t get me started on the plot—because there wasn’t one in any of the books I returned. No character development. No plot. Most definitely not even an attempt at proof reading the manuscript at least once before the “publish” button was hit. I could overlook the horrible covers, for the most part, because at least on my Kindle, when I open a book, the book opens to the first line of the “story.” I don’t have to deal with the front matter if I don’t want to. There’s zero romance in these horrible things, either, but I guess that goes along with cardboard characters and a lack of plot. It’s just a lot of sex. And, in a lot of them, a whole lot of dialogue. In several of them, I felt as if I was reading a screen play, rather than a novel. Except in a screen play or script, there is some stage direction. Two I returned didn’t even have that. And, honey, if you’re busy telling the guy what he’s doing to you—something ain’t right!

So, what am I missing? Is this the 50 Shades of Gray effect? Is this the natural progression of romance novels back to the days of the “bodice ripper” covers and the “hero” who forces the heroine to have sex with him and she still ends up falling in love him? I HOPE NOT! I’d like to think I’m not a prude. I write historical western romances, for heaven’s sake, and I’m not shy about leaving the bedroom door open for “THE” scene.

Or, is this the result of the instant gratification produced by Create Space, Smash Words, and several other self-publishing platforms? Don’t have to know the rules because in this electronic universe where everyone is a published author rules don’t apply. Most certainly the rules of grammar, character development, plotting, creating tension (and that includes SEXUAL tension, ladies and gentlemen, and hopping into bed by page two does not count!), and every other rule applying to writing apparently don’t apply.

Or is this phenomena stemming from a backlash against those guarded, protected ivory towers of traditional publishers? Suddenly, with the ability to self-publish, those last bastions of the old guard, “those people” who prevented all these self-published erotica authors from landing a contract can be circumvented. Just upload a document into Create Space and hit publish.

And, once it’s published, apparently these people have a lot of friends who are willing to write (again with little regard to grammar) 5 star reviews, just singing the praises of how “hot” the book was, how wonderful the story line was and how much they cared for the characters. On several of them, before I returned the book, I just wanted to put up a review asking if I had read the same book the other reviewers had. I refrained, though. If I can’t leave at least a 4 star review, I won’t leave a review at all.

So, I’m back to my original question. What am I missing?

1 comment :

  1. Wish I could tell you. I like to think of myself as a writer and I use the term VERY loosely. I write for me and if a few friends want to read, bonus but I won't push it. I know I'm not good enough to publish and I wouldn't inflict it on to people out there, even friends. I too have read some stuff and as non fantastical (I know, not a real word lol) as I am, I think even perhaps my stuff could pass muster.

    It's the way of the world now I think. A lot of people are all about the NOW, which means the sooner they have something the better. For me this means a lot of things fall by the way side, and in this instance, it sounds like spell check and editors are the first casualty. I was talking only just today about the price of stamps and then we got in to how it's probably because everything is electronic these days and very few people still send mail the old fashioned way (ie that would be me).

    This is true and you only have to look at all the sites set up for the funny text messages that are sent. People rush to get their messages out that few seconds quicker and can't be bothered to read what they send. Assuming they don't already abbreviate the stuffing out of words.

    Not sure I stayed on point here Lynda, just wanted to say I agree with you and I too don't know what is missing. It fills me with dread to think it's only going to get worse, not better.


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