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Where Many Self-Published Books Go Wrong

Many self-published books go wrong and are trashed because of poor editing. The content may be fantastic and a real page-turner but none of that will prevent most readers stopping to read your book if full of errors. Self-publishing is big business as witnessed by the giant Barnes & Noble chain now lifting its embargo on stocking self-pub books.

I count myself lucky in finding my ‘back room team’ of beta readers, proofreaders and editors. They have all had a great impact on the final shape of my book. I’m grateful to them all. I have had to organize all that on a shoestring budget. I am (a) retired and (b ) not yet famous or rich enough to pay my editing team. And, almost certainly never will be. That isn’t my aim with writing; if it happens, then I won’t complain. But I write for sheer enjoyment and the thrill of story-telling.

Before I turn to focusing on some of my ‘team,’ I must make an apology. Liz, I am sorry I could not hire you for your editing skills at this time (ask my bank manager). Your rates were fine but it caught me at a bad time with all my other commitments. Liz is the wife of one of my writing ‘buddies,’  Nick. He is a damned fine writer so let me plug his book to you, Crossing the Whitewash. His author website is to be found here. More about his book at the foot of this post.

Now I turn to Carlene. She is one fantastic editor and has a wise head on young shoulders. I took on board and implemented all her advice. This is the testimonial I gave her which appears on her website

Carlene is not only a proficient, competent editor/proofreader, she offered invaluable insights into my manuscript. The editing suggestions were all taken on board. One in particular demonstrated not only an expertise in writing and editing, but also a wise head. I took note of this wise counsel and acted upon it. Carlene is thorough, knowledgeable and professional. Through her work, I was able to better understand the art of writing. I look forward to working with Carlene again. Stephen Bentley, former undercover detective and author of “Undercover: Operation Julie- The Inside Story.”
To view my editing for Stephen, click here to order “Undercover: Operation Julie- The Inside Story from Amazon”

Thank you Carlene for the link to my book on Amazon.

Next comes Lily. She also did one hell of a fantastic job. So much so, I changed the opening of the book at her suggestion. These are the two versions, with the original version last:

The Canadian could be an assassin. For sure, a big player dealing in vast quantities of heroin and cocaine. Bolivia is the source of the cocaine powder. It arrived into his control in an almost 100 percent form. By the time it reached the streets of London it became a changed beast. If lucky, you may have had a purity of 45 percent.

He did not control the chain of distribution all the way to street-level dealers. No need for that. Way too risky and more importantly, by the time he sold a one-pound ‘weight’ to me, Steve Jackson, he had made a handsome profit.

I am the British man talking to the Canadian in a Liverpool nightclub in 1976. Coke, charlie or snow, to use some of its names, remained the preserve of the wealthy in 1976. Expensive, but popular with rock stars. A massive market and a huge opportunity for profit existed in Britain.

The deal had been laid out on the table. The Canadian and I became parties to a conspiracy to import serious weights of cocaine into Britain.

The Canadian’s mood changed. Why? Not clear to me at all. Without him revealing too many details, the Canadian had impressed me with the plan.

Original Version Below



You, as readers, will always have the final say in style preferences. I agreed with Lily. I think the new opening draws in the reader, which is what you want as a writer. You want people to read on and turn the page and keep turning. That is especially important in this digital age. The first few pages of a book are often shown in eBook format on Amazon. Well done Lily! I love it 🙂 I must mention Tara as the third member of the team. She also did a great job.

While I mention eBooks, I prompt you to follow me on Gumroad [see the box in the sidebar]as that is where all my eBook promos will take place including future discount offers on the eBook format of my new book above.


I cannot over-emphasize just how important reviews are to writers. Please do consider leaving an Amazon review of my book after release on September 14, 2016. It doesn’t have to be long. Rate it according to Amazon’s star system and simply write ‘Great!’ or ‘Crap!’ whatever the case may be 🙂 Of course, if you feel like penning a helpful review (good or bad – “helpful” to other readers) involving a  few sentences or paragraphs, then all the better.

I again have been fortunate in that I have found some willing advance copy reviewers. Here is one that will be posted on Amazon after the release date:

This unflinching memoir by Stephen Bentley opens up a world of drugs, crime, passion, and fear in a way that no other book has ever been able to do: because it’s true. It’s fascinating to wander through his life, as though perched on his shoulder, and it’s astounding to believe that the events that unfold actually happened. Bentley’s sympathetic and yet tough view on those that he met and the people that both helped and hindered him is gripping, and his narrative sweep can sometimes make you forget that this is fact, not fiction. As a lover of crime drama, it’s astonishing to see just what is correct and completely missguided when it comes to the outside world, and I look forward to reading more from Bentley – surely there is more to come?

Here is the book’s “mini-movie” trailer once more. I love it!


As much as I enjoy writing, I do need the help of great editors and proofreaders. Tip! If you want to write and be published on Amazon then use editing software before you send off your manuscript to the editor. It will save you a small fortune. I use ProWritingAid.  It is an invaluable tool.

If you want to become a writer and published on Amazon in Kindle then I suggest you also check this out – Kindle Kash.

Here is a little more about Nick Rippington and his book:

AWARD-WINNING author Nick Rippington wrote his debut novel, the Urban gangland thriller Crossing The Whitewash, in response to becoming a silent victim of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. As the paper’s Welsh Sports Editor he was informed at 48-hours notice that it was closing, and had to collect the contents of his desk from a colleague in a Wapping car park. Publishing the book in August 2015, it was recently given an honourable mention in an EBook Awards competition run by prestigious American magazine Writer’s Digest. The judges described it as “evocative, unique, unfailingly precise and often humorous”. Nick lives with wife Liz in London and has two daughters, Olivia and Jemma. (to find a full video blog review of Crossing The Whitewash check out Allie Morgan’s on her YouTube channel
Evocative and original. Arnie Dolan is terrifying’ – What Writers’ Digest judges said about Crossing The Whitewash in the 2016 self-published eBook awards
‘Flows and rages like a Welsh mountain river to an end I never saw coming’ – 5-star review
YOUNG football prodigy Gary Marshall and his closest friend Arnie Dolan spend their teen lives battling adversity on the rundown estate where they live.
Torn apart by a series of life-shattering events, gang leader Arnie wants a reunion with his old partner-in-crime, keen to impart a secret he has kept all his life.
But where is Gary? And why is he so keen to let the past stay in the past.
The mysteries are about to unravel…

Disclosure: this post/page contains ethical affiliate links. I promote certain products and services that I have 100% confidence in. If you purchase as a result of clicking on my affiliate links, I receive a small commission. That commission is not added to the price you pay at checkout.


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