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How To Spot An Amateur (If You Must):

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After making dozens of critiques on poorly written books, I began to notice a repeated pattern among the plethora of responses I get from these authors. Even though I specifically explain to them why I would not want to promote their books or how these books are not readable, I still get the same old replies where I began to realize they can fall into one of the following claims:

  • You can’t make a review like that; you didn’t read the entire book!
  • I don’t agree; novel styles are subjective.
  • Don’t you realize that I’m on a limited budget here?
  • I’m a critically acclaimed author; I don’t have to listen to you!
  • Oh yeah, what credentials do you have under your belt?

 And my personal favorite:

  • What book copies have you sold lately?

Although this does not account for all authors who I have critiqued, the responses are more or less your stereotypical ones received that come in one variation or another. Before I continue to respond to these claims one by one, I want to make a point:

Amateur authors are easy to spot.

You want to know how easy it is to find them; all you have to do is look, and by that I mean look at the ways these authors carry themselves. The images they carry can tell you a lot about the kinds of books you’re about to read. Some will have websites that look like pieces of crap—that usually tells you how desperate they are to get their book out to the public. Others will show their goofy sides through various venues like author photos and book covers. If these authors haven’t managed to throw you off with these, then perhaps you need to actually read the incredible things they say in the books they write and the load of junk that’s in them.

Some books have too many pauses, alliterations, redundant words, and dialogues. Others will format their books in such a poor shape that you would think that you would either be reading a fine print contract or a poorly written high school research paper (especially those that forget to add page numbers). Others will overload the book with useless details that come in block paragraphs. If the authors do not do anything like that, then you’re bound to find a book with plotline so obvious that you could probably guess the ending of the book by the end of page two.

But you know what the easiest way to spot an amateur? All you need to look at are the responses to criticism, especially when they come from people who are not your friends. It is here where you will find my responses to these common charges.

Claim: “You can’t make a review like that; you didn’t read the entire book!”

Response: I don’t have to; from the first 2,000 words, there are enough repeated mistakes and errors that I can safely assume these appear everywhere throughout your book.

Claim: “I don’t agree; novel styles are subjective.”

Response: Nonsense. You would have to throw out all the rules of English grammar and prose out the door if you were to do something like that. I would highly suggest you take the craft of writing a little more seriously and involve yourself with people who do have writing in their backgrounds.

Claim: “Don’t you realize that I’m on a limited budget here?”

Response: So? Nobody is going to read your book if the cover doesn’t look catchy. That’s a rule in the publishing business—you can judge a book by its cover.

Claim: “I’m a critically acclaimed author; I don’t have to listen to you!”

Response: You’re right; no one has to listen to anything I say. However, I am willing to bet that if you were to send the book to ten different strangers who could care less about your book, they all would say something similar to what I have said to you. Besides, if you are so critically acclaimed, why haven’t you made it on the New York Times Bestseller list?

Claim: “Oh yeah, what credentials do you have under your belt?”

Response: Uhmmm…let’s see. I graduated with a B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing. I have a large library of books on the topic of writing, largely written by professionals who would be more apt to repeat the same things I have said to y’all except perhaps in a more vicious way than you can imagine.

Claim: “What book copies have you sold lately?”

Response: Do the number of books sold outweigh the quality of writing each author exhibits? I don’t think so.

While some of these statements are the repeated feedbacks I receive, I can assure you that making these kinds of claims and contests against my responses all point to one thing:

 You are an amateur and criticism isn’t your thing.

Parker

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