Random Website Idea

I randomly came up with this idea whilst contemplating how hit-and-miss self-published books can be in terms of quality. The story can be fantastic, but if the editing is terrible, I won’t be able to get past the first couple of pages.

Which leads me to wonder … is there such a thing as a website that lists eBooks not in terms of reviews, but in terms of whether or not it’s actually been edited?

Here’s my idea (assuming it doesn’t exist already):

  • This website has nothing to do with reviews — it strictly deals with whether or not a book is edited to traditional publishing standards (“E” for edited, “NE” for needs editing)
  • You can type a book name into the search bar, and the result is an image of the book cover with either a big, green “E” stamped across it, or a big red “NE” stamped across it
  • It could be called something like SPEVNE (self-publishing edited vs. needs editing)
  • That’s a terrible name
  • We can come up with a better one later

The point of the site is that it would be the last stop for a reader before they decided to buy the book. We assume they’ve already read reviews for the book … but there are people out there who will overlook glaringly painful sentence structure issues and grammatical errors when writing a review. Hence the point of SPEVNE (goodness, but that is a bad name) — discerning readers can just type in the book name and get that final quality assurance check. SPEVNE doesn’t tell you if the book is good or bad — SPEVNE just tell you if it’s readable.

Examples of the big letter stamps:

speneImminent Danger, obviously, would get a nice big E. Also, notice how I worked in my book cover into this post in a subtle yet powerful bit of subliminal marketing? Granted, I probably just negated the subliminality (totally a word) by pointing that out, so … obliviate!

And thus, my idea presentation ends. SPEVNE (anyone got a better name?) should be a thing. MAKE IT SO, INTERNET!

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Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Random Website Idea

  1. I’ve certainly regretted some ebook purchases that weren’t edited as thoroughly as they should have been. Question I have is who decides what “edited” is? Professional and paid for edits? Writer’s crit group edits? Aunt Martha’s edits? Hmmm. 🙂

    • That’s why this is a random idea and not a fully formed business plan, lol. I guess it would have to be people with editing experience — not necessarily professional, but readers who can prove they understand basic grammer?

  2. I nearly reviewed someone’s novel once, but ended up just telling them that I was unable to because of its clear lack of editing. I might have sounded heartless to them, but if I had published a review, it would have been terrible for him and damaged his sales. I did promise to take another look once he proper editing, even in the most basic form, but it’s been quite a while and there still hasn’t been a response.

    Why am I telling you this story? To be honest, I’m not really sure why. Anyways, that sounds like a great idea. SPEVNE could use some work though. It sounds like a scary illness that barn animals get. 😛

    • Hahahaha right? Acronyms and I have on and off days. Today was an off day. It sucks when you have to decline a review. It makes you feel like the bad guy, when really it’s the writer who should be embarrassed that they published something so error-filled.

  3. Uh oh. My book is self-edited. 😉

    • Hey, self-editing is fine, so long as it’s good self-editing!!!

    • Professional editing isn’t that expensive, especially when you weigh the cost of lost sales. I wrote a blog post (http://wp.me/p2IvJd-1T) about using critique groups for self-editing–but if you can’t find a group, at least have friends and family read it.

      Not everyone has the budget for developmental editing and line editing, but at the very least you should seriously consider a professional proofreader before you send your masterpiece out into the world. Most professional proofreaders will give you a sample of their work; chances are you’ll see a lot you missed in your self-edit.

      I love Michelle’s idea of identifying an edited work; there isn’t enough time to read all the independently published books out there, so I want spend my time reading a great story that doesn’t distract me with poor grammar, misspelled words, and punctuation errors.

  4. Well, you got me thinking, Michelle, but I can’t decide whether or not I like this idea. It is good to know as much information about a book before you buy it, but maybe this is a “careful what you wish for” kind of thing. Next thing you know, you’d want ratings on the book’s plot development, its characters’ believability, descriptiveness, etc. All these can be addressed, I think, in a good review. But, what the hey, I don’t want to get involved in all this when I pick out a book. I just want to know if it seems to be aligned with my interests and taste and then it’s time to pay the money and take your chances. It’s not like you’re buying a car. Who’s to say the editor knew what he or she was doing anyway? Nah, this is all too complicated. I’d hate to think someone didn’t buy my book because it may not have been edited. “Was it?” you ask. Nah again, I’m not say’n. You either like it or not. I’ll settle for an “E” for effort or an “NT” for nice try.

    • I definitely get what you’re saying. By “edited”, I don’t mean fancy, $10000 editing services purchased. I meant more along the lines of: Do they use punctuation? Do they spell things correctly? Do they stick to one tense? You know, basic writing stuff that any published novel should have.

      I do like your E for effort and NT for nice try! I don’t expect anyone to actually make this website, of course. I just stumbled upon something very poorly written online and had this thought — which, naturally, translated to a blog post 😀

  5. Ack! My books were edited by me. I would hate to have a big, red NE on my books. But nice way to show your book covers again. 😉

    • Hahaha thanks. And like I said in a previous comment … somewhere … self-editing isn’t necessarily bad. I just get irked when someone’s “self-edit” consists of them running a spell check and not even reading through the manuscript to catch glaring errors. And I’m sure you don’t do that, so problem solved 😀

  6. Yes, and who decides who’s a decent editor, even if one has paid for editing? There’s lots of so-called editors out there who aren’t worth a darn and a new writer might think they’re getting a good edit job and turns out….not. Just a thought.

    • Oh, definitely. Obviously I haven’t worked out the specifics – and never will, probably. I don’t have time to run a website, lol. But in my dream world where I run this website, I figured that books would be judged by a panel of people with editing backgrounds, so that they could balance each other out if they happen to excel at different areas of editing. The book wouldn’t have to be professionally edited or anything to earn an E — it just has to read like it’s been edited up to a professional level. So if the author can edit it themselves to that standard, then kudos to them!!!

  7. Papizilla

    I recently finished an e-book that was highly reviewed and had 4.5 stars with 100’s of ratings. It was so awful in terms of punctuation and grammar, that even I noticed.(I am awful at such things.) It was a very painful process to finish the book, but hey, I spent a whole $.99 and by the power of Greyskull I was going to get my moneys worth. 🙂

    I like the idea of the site, though I wouldn’t want my book(when it is finished) to be “rated”…. I would be NE, with an added oh please help this poor sap. But that is me.

    • Lol. See, that’s the thing, right? Most people don’t really notice grammar or whatever unless it’s a glaring error. So the point of my imaginary website would be to point out which books are SO BAD that pretty much anyone who picks it up can tell that it needs serious rework. And I’m sure your book wouldn’t get an NE 🙂

      Sorry about your awful eBook experience. Too bad there isn’t an ebook return program like there is for print books. Although I’m kind of glad for that — wouldn’t want people to try returning my book after I’ve suckered them into buying it, would I? MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

  8. Nice product placement! 😉 Seeing as this website will contain books in dire need of editing you should perhaps have used a real example for the NE stamp! 😉

    • But then I would have missed the opportunity to display my cover twice! You know what they say — once is good, but twice is gooder!

      Maybe I do deserve that NE … 😛

  9. Reblogged this on Robin Writes.

  10. I recently bought an ebook with a good story. That is the ONLY thing that kept me reading to the end. There was too much wrong with the grammar and punctuation to even begin a list here. Such a turnoff.

    For me, $1000 or so to pay for some professional editing is well worth saving the embarrassment later.

    • I agree! Or if you don’t have the cash, even just finding a friend with an English major and asking them to read through it can fix so many problems. Even just reading more books can help — you can gradually pick up on writing conventions as you read, and apply it to your own work. That’s why I get concerned when I read an interview with an author who says, “Oh, I don’t really read”.

  11. I have a problem with the whole self-publishing thing. It’s great that those who want to be a ‘writer’ can publish and let others see (read) it, but I’ve encountered a helluva lot of complete crap on Amazon, both free and paid for. A mark as to whether it’s been edited might be a start, but by whom? I’m not sure that an ‘English major’ is necessarily the best qualification – an enormous number of very good books would fall by the wayside or, worse, be turned into crap if they were edited by an “English major’.

    • Oh, I meant the English Majors would review the book to confirm that the novel had actually been edited. Obviously English Major isn’t a very good qualification — I mean, if someone were to actually make this site, they would probably want to hire professional editors to judge the “editing quality” of each book. The point of the site wouldn’t be to edit the books – it would just be to let people know whether or not a book they’re thinking of buying is up to traditional publisher editing standards.

      This is all moot, of course, because there’s no such site and I have no plans of actually making it. That being said, you’re absolutely right that there are tons of terrible self-published books out there. I’m hoping someone will stumble across this idea and take off running with it 🙂

  12. A way to create a marketable site that will attract investors would be to offer editing services… first chapter free (or 3000 words in the case of run-on chapters…lol) I’m all for this idea; I have been on the end of poorly edited books and I feel my fingers itching to “fix” them (and I have enuff trubble with me own stuffs… LOL) I do agree the name is a mouthful… *grin*.. keep workin’ at it Darth Proulx! *hugs* …khrys

    • Oooh I like it. But then, if we offered editing services, the inevitable criticism would be “Website is forcing authors to purchase editorial services in order to get a good rating.” And it wouldn’t be true, but the internet would turn on us, threats would be uttered, accounts would be hacked, and soon our lives would come crashing down on our heads. There would be total chaos, and the world would implode. So … we should probably think this idea through a bit more before committing.

  13. Reblogged this on khrystleraineduste and commented:
    Make it so….

  14. Sounds like a great idea. I’m surprised someone hasn’t done it already.

  15. An author who doesn’t read is like an artist who says, “Oh, I don’t really have any inspiration. I don’t really admire art that much.” Or a game designer who says, “I don’t really play games.” Then how in the heck do you expect to get any better?

    As far as editing stamps go, I agree – the content of a book should matter beyond the story. Everyone has some typos, grammatical errors and so on. Even the freshest pair of eyes can miss those, even in professional manuscripts. And factual errors and ‘Hollywoodized’ scenes exist as well (Even Stephen King’s book ‘Cell’ suggested you could explode a tanker full of fuel with a hand gun…I think not). But a truly unedited book with multiple errors per paragraph needs to be visited by an editor, even if its a self-editor or just a couple good betas.

    But then again, if its bad enough, you could have the next Eye of Argon on your hands. (It’s so bad, I actually bought a copy. 😀 )

    • Oooh fun, a terrible book I’ve never heard of! Let me Google it …” It has been described as “one of the genre’s most beloved pieces of appalling prose”[1] and “the apotheosis of bad writing””. Okay, now I have to read it. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it! Shaaaaame.

      I counter with what is widely considered to be the worst Harry Potter fanfiction ever read: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6200297/1/My-Immortal

  16. Perhaps rather than creating a dedicated website, it might be more prudent to encourage future reviewers to tag books with NE or E (or even E1, E2, E3 etc) to alert potential buyers to the edited condition of the work in question. This could be spread across Amazon, Smashwords, Scribd, PubIt, etc. So rather than worry about English Majors policing the literary eOutput, ordinary readers (wearing big specs but with superhero costumes below their shirts) could advise us where we ought to spend or save our hard earned cent / penny.
    The scale could be named the System Originally Conceived by Darth Proulx Rating System for Edited or Non-edited Literature System – or SOCDPRSENLS. 😀

  17. LOL, Michelle. We call it “The Writing Apocalypse,” which is the website we created at http://www.writingapocalypse.com Go to the tab marked “Writing Apocalypse survivors,” and there is a list of books our team has read. We review them for editing in grammar and content. Why? Because I was tired of paying up to $4.99 an ebook to find them without editing and some cocky author on the other end who says the book was just so important for others to read that they bypassed the editing process all together. Arrogance is ugly and has cost me a pretty penny. So we developed the site to publicize quality indie books. The site went up only 25 days ago, but we have been met with so much great responses and our FB pages jumped in numbers. I think many people have been looking for something like this. You should be one of our readers, since-well- you’re kinda already doing that. (By the way, we aren’t sticklers, we over look some minor errors because nobody is perfect … just gotta be close)

    • That IS what your website does! I feel very silly. I think that, because I read the Writing Apocalypse ebook before seeing the website, for some reason in my head I keep thinking of it as a writing guide and not a very complex website. Sigh.

      • Oh that’s okay, Michelle. My website is as complex as my thoughts. Yes, the website features the book, but it also showcases quality indie/self-pub and micropress publications as well as author resources. A one-stop-shop so to speak.

        • Well, I will have to check it out more thoroughly, clearly. Now to get some free time with which to do so …

          • Exactly! Most my free time is while driving, but the police don’t look to kindly on driving while keeping up with my reading list, social media, and friends. LOL. If you read any truly great quality books let us know, we’d love to feature them.

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