As I started reading the book I was attracted to the idea of the story. It rang a little bit too close to Twilight in terms of plot, but the post-Twilight junkie in me found I had to keep reading just for a taste of the familiar. As a writer, though, something nagged at me the whole time I read it.
There were little mistakes my critique partners wouldn't have let me get away with. There was the closeness of the plot to Twilight. I couldn't understand how the editor had selected the book. I enjoyed it in a lot of ways, but there was a certain rawness I couldn't put my finger on.
That's when I realized the book was self published. I enjoyed it enough to read the entire series, but something about the whole series of books left me just short of satisfied. I suspect that something is the magic that editors and the publishing process bring. Polish is the best word I have to describe it.
I could see her growth as a writer through the books. It makes me think about what so many writers have shared with me about not getting published until their second, third, fourth or even fifth or more books they've written. There's a readiness and a polish that comes from the process. Right now, I can't imagine self publishing. I can't say I'll always feel this way but it seems like skipping too many important learning steps. Maybe it's just taking the steps a different way.
It certainly seems to have worked for Amanda Hocking, self-publishing put her on the map and now she's moving to St. Martin's with her next series. But, for now at least, I'm going to keep writing, rewriting and querying.