You’ve seen a book everywhere. It’s been recommended to you multiple times. It seems everyone is raving about it. Then, you read it. And it’s poorly written, has tons of plot holes, and has grammatical errors.
You ask yourself how this book got published. Why did it get published? You’ve read a ton of other books that are much better written, but haven’t reached the wild success this poorly written one has.
The publishing industry is littered with bad books. However, what makes a book good or bad is subjective. People have different expectations and tastes. A book I may love, you may consider one of the worst books of all time. Or vice versa.
I tend to be more critical of works than many of my friends. A big part of that is because I’m a writer, as well as a reader. I notice grammatical errors, structural problems, and character development issues to a much greater extent than my friends. While I have a tendency to nitpick, they just want a good story.
It’s very similar to how a few of my friends are singers. They’ll finish a song and will frown, saying they sounded horrible. To me – someone who loves listening to singing, but only sings when I have the apartment to myself – they sounded great. I didn’t notice the nuances they did.
Something else to look at is how well a book sells. It could be completely shallow and clichéd, but if it’s hitting the top of the bestseller charts, then the quality of the writing doesn’t matter so much. (I know, tough pill to swallow.) I’m sure we can all think of at least a few books that were poorly written, but were wildly successful.
So, then what do we do as writers? Well, we write the best book we can. And we support our fellow writers. Being a reader is one thing. You can blast as many books as you like, but when you become a writer, you shouldn’t shoot down other authors. Now, I’m not saying lie and proclaim you love a book that you actually threw across your room and left to collect dust. Tell the truth, but watch how you phrase things. It’s like being in a critique group. You are giving criticism, but you’re doing so in such a way it’s constructive, and, at the same time, you’re saying what you liked about the novel as well as what you didn’t.
In today’s publishing world, it’s all about making estimations on which book will make the most money. As writers, we can only write what stories speak to us, so instead of tearing down other authors’ novels, let’s work hard and work together. Writing can be a lonely endeavor. Let’s make it a little less so.