I’m going to be really blunt right now: A book is a professional literary product, and if a writer or publisher doesn’t respect the industry enough to uphold basic quality standards, they have no business publishing. It’s not only a matter of integrity, but also respect for the written word, for literacy, and for the commercial product that is a book.

Out of the last seven books I’ve read (mostly traditionally and a couple self-published), five were not even remotely publication-ready. And three had so much potential it breaks my fucking heart that author and/or publisher allowed them to go out into the world in that condition, bogged down with endless exposition and redundancy (not to mention errors in spelling, grammar, and usage).

I don’t know about you, but I’m reading to get lost in a story, and I can’t do that if I stall out every few pages on something I already know or just saw for myself or couldn’t care less about.

Obviously it’s frustrating to me as an editor to see something that could have been great fall short due to errors that should have been caught prior to publication. It also makes me really sad for the author, who has put this thing out into the world that doesn’t showcase what they’re really capable of. It especially pisses me off to see publishers bringing down the industry and devaluing the creative professionals involved in the book production process.

And while I get the impression from talking to people that a lot of readers are happy to overlook bad writing for a good story, especially in underserved niche genres (like LGBT+ fiction), as writers we need to have more professional integrity than that. As writers and as readers, as lovers of the written word, we have a responsibility to not just sustain but elevate the commercial literature industry, to hold ourselves and each other to higher standards.

That’s what Red Pen for Rent is here to do. To help serious writers launch their indie publishing careers and produce professional-quality books on their own terms. Who’s with me?


Alissa McGowan

Alissa McGowan

Alissa is the founder and owner of Red Pen for Rent. She is passionate about helping authors make their work fucking awesome.
Alissa McGowan

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A Rallying Cry for Lovers of the Written Word

by | Jan 6, 2017