Please! Don’t call my dream-come-true “Sludge”

This year I self-published my first novel. Vows of Revenge. In 2011, Vows won two RWA contests in historical fiction. Both awards are framed and reside on my wall to remind me that I can do this. I can write a good story. No Vows is not perfect. I have never done anything perfect in my life. This journey with writing started fifteen years ago and has been filled with lots of rejections I well deserved. Lots of hours re-editing my stories. Lots of hours reading ‘how to write’ books. Lots of conferences to glean more about this profession. And lots of dreamers like me, hungry to only get better at what we do. Write

In the past, writers deemed editors and agents as our qualifier. If they liked it, we had arrived. Bless them for  their patience, but even they don’t get it perfect. I’ve caught lots of mistakes in the traditionally published books as, ‘He picked up the horse’s reigns.’ (Correction:reins.)Moreover, I’ve read many self-published books that have been polished and were pure joy reading. However, these books likely were not what the traditional publishers desired, so they were rejected and never reached you, dear reader.

So, many like myself have challenged these ‘traditional’ demands and have ‘gone for it.’ Instead of having ‘the system’ decide if we achieve something worth reading, we have chosen to self publish to let you, dear readers, decide. You know what you like. You know a good book. And, you know when it’s not.

Times are a changin’ in the publishing world. The traditional publishers in this world are flummoxed over being bumped from the driver’s seat. Their slush piles are diminishing. Some editors are free-lancing their skills to these self-pubbers now.

Frustration abounds and that comes out sometimes in not so nice ways. For example, at a recent writing conference, I heard repeatedly ‘there is so many self published books out there today i that are‘sludge’. However, it could be that these very publishers rejected many of these same books… without any recommendation for improvement. Or, they outright left it to… “If you don’t hear back from us, it wasn’t right for us.”

Some self-published books are not perfect and some authors do have more to learn about the art of writing. But, every book published is someone’s dream that has come true. So please, don’t call someone’s dream ‘sludge.’ We have all put their heart out there, knowing there is still much to learn about this craft and know we’ll never likely get it ‘perfect.’ But we keep trying.

Here’s what you can do. First: Check out the free sample on Amazon or B&N etc or read the first few pages in the bookstore before buying to see.  And if you want to help us  get it ‘better’, dear reader, send the author an email and tell her/him what was done well and what could be worked on. That’s more than we often get from publishers, editors, and or agents.

After all, it’s you, dear reader, who we really want to please.

Do you agree?  email me


Thank you Google Images for the pics.

6 responses to “Please! Don’t call my dream-come-true “Sludge”

  1. “Sludge” is horrible. I agree with you, Judy. If readers download a sample or read a page or two they will soon discover if the book is for them. Editing is important but just because a story is self-published doesn’t mean it hasn’t been edited. I’m both “traditionally” published with publishers and have self-published. I like both ways.


    • Thank You Lindsay, You get my point. Sludge does nothing to help an author. We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other get better trad or self pub


  2. interesting post. i generally won’t tell a writer if i didn’t like their book as often it’s just that it didn’t suit my taste. although typos and glaring grammatical errors do piss me off. i assume that an author’s craft will probably improve with time and if i enjoy their voice i will give them another chance later. good luck with the self pub.


    • Bless you Nora. Self pubbers must seek outside help to continue to improve their craft because we don’t have back up from an agent or publisher. However I have heard that isn’t necessarily so with trads unfortunately. But writing IS a journey not a destination. Sooo Tally HOOOO!


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