Something We All Wonder About On Occasion…

Print Friendly

Hello Angela,

I don’t know if you have time to ponder this question, and I understand if you don’t, but here goes.

I enjoyed reading your excerpts from the world’s worst book proposals and it brings up again for me the question of why writers who write badly think they write well. As I’ve participated in writer’s conferences and workshops, I’ve encountered a number of people who fit this category, and it boggles my mind how people can write for years and produce any number of book-length manuscripts without a clue as to their lack of ability. Agents, editors and self-publishing services such as yours must be constantly inundated with queries from people like this. What gives?

Thanks for your time.

Dallas Walter
Adrian, MI

Unfortunately, yes, we are inundated with really bad manuscripts. What’s scary is that most of the self-publishing companies are publishing these manuscripts and putting them on the market. Doing this hurts our entire industry.

That said, I’d have to wager two guesses to answer your questions:

1. Like the singers on American Idol….some people really think they can write well when they can’t. And, since family members will rarely tell them the truth, they just don’t know how bad their writing is.

2. They may know their writing is poor, but they hope the editor at their future publisher’s office will fix their errors.

One way to get an honest assessment of your writing it to join an online writing group and honestly ask for one. If you tell fellow writers online that you can take the criticism, they’re going to be honest with you.