Send In The Bitch (Or Why We Rejected Your Shitty Book)

By Tee Tyson

In which the very lovely Miss Tyson vents on the quality of books submitted to our sister site, The Pankhearst Review.

Start a review site, she said. This will be great, I thought. The plan was there. We were only going to review the books we want to recommend! Books we loved and cherished, that made us laugh. We wanted adventure, love, lust and stories that broke out of the box and scored major originality points. It will be marvelous, I said, to help the lowly Indie writers and give them some free publicity. We wanted to help those struggling authors trying to sell their spectacular novels on their own all because the Big Six were too afraid to take a chance on the unknown kid.

And we sat back and waited for the buried treasures to pour in, those literary masterpieces hidden at the back of the virtual closet, dying to be read and cherished.

Let me make this clear, I wanted to be blown out of the water. I wanted my socks knocked off. Truth be told, I had so many clichéd expectations.

The reality is so much bleaker.

Because we decided only to promote and review those books we considered worth sharing with the world, my snark and bite has been put on hold. Sort of. Of the lucky thirteen books we have received thus far, two of them have been reviewed, five are under assessment and six have been rejected. SIX. Yep, almost half. And it isn’t looking promising for a couple of the others.

What can I say? This endeavor has kicked a hole in my optimism.

Even worse, Amazon lied. Shocking, I know. According to their star rankings, at least three of the six rejected books should have been drop-your-pants-spank-you-on-the-ass amazing. No, really. One of these horrific gems had nineteen five star reviews – and nothing but five star reviews! I put the exclamation point in for emphasis. Here’s the thing, all these nineteen reviews were glowing recommendations, talking about how talented the author is and how they were enthralled with the novel from the very beginning. Clearly, I read a different book altogether. Of course, ninety-five percent of the people who gave the five stars hadn’t actually reviewed any other books. Now, I’m not one to call people out, but these were clearly biased reviews. Mothers, fathers, best friends and distant cousins coming out of the woodwork to support Little Jimmy who always wanted to be a writer and now finally has a book out there in the world. In the future, I will see this red flag and heed its warning.

Somehow I’ve gone way off course. What I meant to write about is the reasons these books were rejected. And so it begins, Ventfest 2013.

Ventfest 2013
Ventfest 2013

First up, a 476 page beauty that has a ‘freelance writer’ as one of the main characters. This book wasn’t rejected because one of the MCs has the most cliched career ever to be penned. (Yes, Stephen King can make his characters writers, but you can’t). We gave it the old college try, but in the end, the terrible dialogue and incestuous scenes caused us to throw the towel in.

And don’t go thinking we are close-minded assholes who are afraid to confront the horrifying reality that is child abuse. No, we just don’t think it should read like bad porn. And we also think it should make some sort of sense and hold a context. If you’re going to tackle such a serious subject, make sure you do it correctly, with a little tact, and minimal use of the word todger, or you’re going to be booted out of the boat, so to speak.

The second book we handed a pink slip to was another one packing a serious punch on Amazon. To say we are astonished over the reception this political satire novel has received is basically the understatement of the decade, no…century. Thankfully, there were a couple one star reviews, so we didn’t feel as baffled when we admitted defeat.

To be fair to the author, we did press on and made it 20% of the way through before stamping this puppy with a big fat R. Again, this one suffered a huge downfall when it came to the dialogue, lackluster is the only word coming to mind to describe how we feel about this. On top of that, sloppy writing, POV and verb tense mistakes, and a first person voice we found repetitive and dull, concreted our decision to stop reading and instead clean our bathtub. Let’s not even get into the overabundance of exclamation points in this beauty. This, of course, wasn’t reason enough to reject the book, but it certainly didn’t help the cause.

Two of the six novels suffered from overwriting.

Another two of the six were ailed with an excess of the word ‘that’. This happens to be my pet peeve, so I pick up on it instantaneously. It’s to the point I actually skim the first couple of pages before getting into a novel. This is most disappointing because it is such a rookie issue and so easily avoided.

One of the books had a meandering plot line, so disjointed, the reviewer hadn’t a clue what was happening. This in itself was reason to reject it but the tense flipping and lack of characterization only made the decision easier.

We all know a good book when we read it. The same goes for the bad ones.

We aren’t as picky as I’m making us sound. Out of the six rejected, two of them had a lot of promise and the authors showed talent when it came to weaving a story, but overwriting, improper grammar and missing words sunk them. The most frustrating part is so much of what we rejected could have been avoided with a proper edit.

Make sure you understand the basics of writing. Tossing a book to the side over a rookie issue like not knowing where to put a comma or period is frustrating, but how can we recommend a book when someone doesn’t know you’re supposed to capitalize after a period! In some cases, it felt as though these ‘writers’ didn’t give a good God damn about their books. It’s If they invested the same amount of time and energy into their actual work as they did padding their stats or querying review sites, then these rejections might not have happened. Indie does not mean crap. Not to me, but at least four of these novels are fit only for the garburator. This is a shame. A damn shame. And not what I wanted to see.

In the end, all I want is for you to put some love into your work. We all know how hard it is to write a book. Well, it’s 100 times harder to publish one. And evidentially, a 100 times harder to get Pankhearst to review it. I’m hoping our track record turns around.

Until then, run a search on the word ‘that’ and axe those motherfuckers.

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3 thoughts on “Send In The Bitch (Or Why We Rejected Your Shitty Book)

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