Honestly I can't say ONE just like I can't say one best book I like. I know many that I consider the worst books I've read and I know many I consider the best. It's too hard for me to choose one. I might be able to when I'm a little older. I feel I need to do at least about thirty years more reading to answer the question.
But I can say that I recently read a self-published book and it was unbelievably horrible! I've read about three self-published books in all and all of them were bad but this one was worse than all of them put together. At least with the other SP books I could tell the writers were really writers. This lady I just read is like she has no idea what writing is, let alone trying to do it.
Definitely the worst book I've read in years! It wouldn't have been so bad if it had been edited and if the writer had learned the techniques of writing before trying to. That's what happens when impatience of being published outweighs an author putting their best foot forward. It read like something worse than a first draft, like something a child wrote. The lady had no Grammar skills and I questioned if she'd ever went to school! That's how it was. She didn't even know what a correct paragraph was. I could name all that's wrong with that book but I'd be here until Thanksgiving.I won't dare mention the name or author and wouldn't be that disrespectful.
Self publishing can truly be a bad thing when someone uses it as a short cut. I don't think I've ever read any myself. However, I recently read a couple reviews of two books that were self published (same author) that were supposed to be fantastic. Both reviews listed the book as the best they had read that year! The author's name was K.M. Weiland. Have you heard of her? I also wonder if any of those books that you read would have been better if the author would have paid for a professional editor. Do you think that would have made any difference or were they just too far off?
I'm not published yet (self or otherwise). I'm still plugging, revising my manuscript. I just wondered from your comments and all the attention the WestBow announcement made... maybe the quality of self-published books could go up if those services were made available to them or if they paid for them. This is probably a discussion for another topic though. :o)
I can't think of one worst book either. I also hate to use any names because I wouldn't like to be on the other end of that. As a new author, I can easily picture myself there too. :o) I read one book just recently where it started out really well but in the middle of the book the two main characters both did things that went totally against their character and against logic... they didn't act in a way that was emotionally reasonable. It was as if the author needed them to do something so they did. She also rushed the ending - and gave out information that meant nothing --- little subplots that were never followed up on and had no meaning. She didn't give any real background or fleshing out of the secondary characters. So - this really promising book fell so flat that I felt like I had been promised something beautiful and was given something broken. I was kind of mad at her. lol
I just wanted to comment on the question you asked about if the folks had paid to have it edited, would it have made a difference? I definitely think so!
I recently read a book [I don't want to name the book because I wouldn't want to do anything to damage this boy's dreams of being a writer and he does have potential] published by Publish America. The plot was good, but the book was riddled with errors. I'm talking about on almost EVERY page. I wanted to cry for the kid. If ony an editor or even an English teacher had read the book first, most of those errors could have been fixed.
Now, for the worst book I've ever read...maybe Battlefield Earth.
I've recently been sent a self-published book to review on my blog. Worse, I suspect it's from someone with an ulterior motive: to influence my moral and religious views.
People self-publish for a variety of reasons. Non-fiction self publishing (i.e. family histories and genealogies) or highly specialist publications (such as local fauna or flora surveys), I can readily understand. These publications have small audiences and require only 50-100 copies.
However, when it's fiction it screams at me: I cannot write very well or I cannot write very well and I don't care. Or, as the book I've been to review appears to be, the author is pushing their religious/moral message and doesn't care about the art of writing, much less understanding readers' markets. A well known novelist friend (Jennifer Fallon), calls this practice 'vanity publishing'. I utterly agree with her.
Flipping through the book I was sent, I found the writing poor and story uninteresting. I can't comment on grammar as yet. However, the whole premise of sending me a book to review that is a) self-published and b) pushing the author's religious views when I am not a believer is offensive to me -especially when I have set out clearly on my blog the kinds of books I do not read and this falls into one of those categories.
Thus, I share your dislike and now -mistrust- of self-published fiction.
What made Karoline so horrid? I haven't heard of it (but that doesn't mean anything). I find a bad book hard to stick with, even if I'm bored and that is the only book I have. Just can't do it!
Made a link to your site (really comprehensive site you have) to mine. I have some other great links on there. Misfit Salon is awesome and so is OOH Books! http://www.onehundredbestnovels.blogspot.com/