Wednesday, May 30, 2012

free kindle books: a rant

OK. So I know that awhile back I talked about the paranoia that comes over me sometimes when I blog about something negative and then worry that people are going to take it personally and feel insulted, but sometimes that is just a risk I have to take. When something is weighing this heavy on the heart and mind...well, I'm just gonna have to throw it out there.

Seriously, yall. WHAT IS WITH the low quality of the free Kindle books available these days??

(Here's the part where I'm hoping none of YOU have recently published a crappy book directly to Kindle...)

So I KNOW that since I'm getting the books for...ya know, free...that I shouldn't be so picky. Beggars and choosers and all that, I know. But SERIOUSLY?

The main issue is that apparently these people have never heard of proofreading. I understand that spelling may not be your personal strength. Grammar can be very tricky. Mine isn't always perfect, either. But if I were going to publish something? For all of the world to read? And then call myself an AUTHOR?? Well, I'd probably at LEAST scan through for typos. Maybe pay a friend a few bucks to skim it for spelling? (The difference between me allowing a certain margin of error for myself in this blog and not extending them that same grace for their 'books': I do not call myself an author. With great titles comes great responsibilities...)

So I've read a few books lately that certainly lacked in the grammar/proofreading/editing department, but still had good overall plots and story structure. But then Monday...oh, Monday.

I'm not going to share WHAT book it was, exactly, that got me so fired up. But here's the thing: I do a little research before I choose books. I read user reviews, okay? And if 40 people say "great book! so funny! loved it!" and only like 3 people say anything negative, then I just may give it a try, right??

What is wrong with you 40 people??? Did someone pay you to write these reviews? Did you actually READ the book?

I felt like I was reading text messages between 12 year old girls who were imagining what their grown-up lives would be like. Twelve-year olds who had the writing skills of a chimpanzee. And ended every sentence with an exclamation point!! Or two!! Like this!! And had no real sense of...writing? Voice? I don't even know what the terminology is that I'm looking for here (remember: NOT AN AUTHOR. NO DEGREE IN CREATIVE WRITING.), but as an average-to-well-read American, I can tell you-- this book ain't got it.

And instead of just deleting the book and moving on with life like a normal person would do, instead I got really angry and took it all personally, like this 'author' was actually screwing up my life or something. How dare you publish some ridiculous thing I could have written in 3rd grade and call yourself an author! HOW DARE YOU, WOMAN?!! I Googled you, and you don't even have a WEB PAGE!!! And YOU get to write "author" on your resume??!! OOHHHH THE MADNESS!!!! Because obviously I deal with things in the most rational manner. And I still haven't deleted the book because-- wait for it, here comes crazy!!!-- I like to go back and re-read the particularly crappy sections and get mad again slash pat myself on the back for being SUCH a superior writer/human being. You know, if I were to write stories, that is. I don't. But if I did...I know they would be way more awesome than that.

And do I go back and tell the (nice, unbiased, not catty like this blog) truth in the form of a legitimate user review on Amazon? No, I do not. Because I am too angry at the OTHER Amazon users who did not do this, and I figure-- if 40 people actually think this book is great, then I have nothing to say to a world that thinks THAT is great. I have nothing left for them. I need to kick the dust off my heels and go find somewhere else to spend my time. Ugh.

End rant.

And now, because I subscribe to the theory that you can cancel out a really bitchy rant by saying something nice, I will say that I DID read an EXCELLENT free Kindle book this weekend as well. Only now (after I recommended it to my SIL) it is no longer free. And I am sad because I want everyone to read it (but it's currently on loan to Amy). But if you're super rich and have $5.79, you could get it anyway. It's called Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann, and don't judge it by its cheesy cover (you can't see the covers on your Kindle, anyway). It was just a random "sure, whatever, I'll give this one a try" download (kind of like the other book that inspired my wrath) but I LOVED IT! And you know what? There were a few editing errors. But you know what? I FORGAVE THEM. Because overall the book was fantastic. I can overlook a few typos (Lord knows YOU do if you read my blog). No biggie. Know what else? Despite being a purely-for-pleasure, not-trying-to-be-high-literature book, homegirl (the author, obviously) did not shy away from using AP English words. I actually had to LOOK ONE UP!! I know, I got super excited using that little built-in dictionary thingy. How often do you find yourself needing to look up a word these days? Not often enough, in my opinion. So, overall review of Freefall: A+. Entertained me for like 3 days, couldn't put it down, cried when it ended (not because it was sad, but because I missed the characters), immediately lent it out so that someone else could enjoy it too, and can't wait to get it back to read it again.

With all of that said: any free Kindle books you want to recommend? Or lend me? (Note: obviously I'm aware that all the classics are available. I read those sometimes, when I'm in an AP English-kind-of-mood. But lately I'm just looking for pleasure fluff reading. But not so fluffy that I can accept poor grammar and writing. Because that is not pleasurable to me. Obviously.)


  1. I had no idea how fired up you were when we were chatting last night... glad I didn't accidentally recommend a crappy free book to you- ha!

  2. Sometimes I'm amazed at how people get real, actual books published on paper...some of them aren't that fantastic either!

    And I loved Freefall, too! It was recommended to me by my cousin several years ago, after I was unsure about the cover. Ha!

  3. A friend of ours wrote a book and gave us a copy... there was literally not one page in the book that did not have a glaringly obvious spelling/grammatical error. Afterwards, he and his wife jokingly asked if I had found any errors (because they know me well), but I had to laugh it off and not give them a straight answer so as not to offend. I really was amazed at the lack of proofreading! Seems anyone can write a book if they want to!

  4. I'm convinced that everyone thinks they can be an author because no one really seems to care about grammar and no one tells it like it really is. Just like how every player on a team gets a ridiculously big trophy just for participating. Because EVERYONE'S little Johnny is just THE BEST and the next major league star. /end rant!

  5. Hilarious post.
    Totally think about objectivity and kindly reviewing the poorly written book on Amazon. Consider it a good deed.

  6. THANK YOU! So glad I'm not alone:) I have a 'friend', I don't know if I can really call her that, because she only types in all lower case. all the time. even when she's typing people's names or using i. and sometimes she doesnt use punctuation she has told me its because shes too lazy to use the shift button while typing.


    Using the 'shift' button is not exactly TAXING work! It's another reason I'm mostly "off" facebook. It bugs me that much!

  7. As an author whose book will be on Kindle soon (not for free though, hopefully), I can say that I am super paranoid about editing. I do not have the best grammar and editing skills, so I have trusted that to TWO editors. However, I always worry that one or two errors have snuck in there....or that my book is a complete disaster and that my ten test readers don't have the gonzos to tell me.