Monday, November 24, 2014

Why proofreading and editing matters...

This is a screencap from the Amazon description page for a book blurb, a bestselling author. An NYT author. From a traditional, New York publishing house.


(Note: If you Google this, please do NOT out the author/title in the comments. I will delete comments that out the author and title.)

I did contact both the author and the publisher via Facebook.

Somewhere, in a New York publishing house, there is an editor who should get their ass publicly handed to them in a very vocal way.

FYI: In case you don't see what's wrong with that sentence, the book is about a motorcycle gang, not a bunch of cooks in a Chinese restaurant. (Does that help?)

This is why PROOFREADING and EDITING matters. I'm the first to admit I need an editor.

(Extra hint: WONTON is not a substitution for the word WANTON, which is what I suspect was intended.)

If New York trad pub think it's okay to let this kind of error slip through on a COVER BLURB, that is one of your SELLING TOOLS for your book, then they have no right to call themselves "gatekeepers" any longer, sorry.

I get it, I'm not perfect, either. Stuff slips through.

But...on your farking BLURB??? That's just...that's the ONE thing that should be absolutely PERFECT. How could no one have caught something THAT glaring?

EDIT: I just looked at the other books in the series...OMG, it's on ALL the books in the series! They basically repeated the SAME copy. OMG...

12 comments:

  1. It's not funny, but I'm laughing. If I bang my head on my desk one more time, I'll end up with a concussion...

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    1. IKR? It's like, seriously, I wonder if it's some sort of secret editing test the publisher is using to get new hires or something. "Hey, you found the secret error, you get to be a proofreader!" *head/desk*

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  2. Gah. That is HORRIBLE. And they haven't fixed it, ever????? *sob*

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    1. @Fedora - NO. I saw it come through the ARe newsletter and I thought whoops, someone in their layout must have goofed. So I went to the 'Zon and saw it THERE. Then when I picked up my jaw, I screencapped it, contacted the author and publisher, and then blogged about it. THEN I looked at the other blurbs in the series and realized they ALL have the SAME error. They recycled the blurb copy for each book. THE SAME ERROR.

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  3. On a now defunct blog, a very popular author wrote an article that was very good, except for one glaring error. She used right instead of the correct write, i.e. I write for a living. She did this in two different places in the article. I thought surely she'll notice this or someone will let her know of her error. After several days, the error was still there so I notified the blog owner who then notified the author who then corrected it. Needless to say, I have never read anything by this author.

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  4. Maybe I am more OCD then the average reader but that kind of thing drives me insane. I admit I make grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos when I am using Twitter or the comment section of a blog but I don't pretend to be anything but an avid reader. There is just no excuse for that sort of mistake. As a reader it rips me right out of the immersive process and if it keeps happening I will rapidly lose interest in the plot and bin the book. I can't tell you the number of times I have removed an author from my auto buy list because of poor editing. I am slightly more forgiving of a self-published work but errors abound in the world of big publishing as well. Why am I paying usually twice as much for a traditionally published story if it is riddled with errors?

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  5. Oh, BTW I bought the first book in that series and read about 20 pages before giving up.

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  6. Okay there are several issues with that mistake of editing - the initial unnoticed mistake and then the laziness to repeat it - again and again and again ... I find this is something which happens with increasing regularly as people rely on "spell check" and a grammar mistake (one underlined in red one underlined in blue - was there another which underlines in green? ... I forget :-) ) I don't know how it works but is the author paying them to set that up for her? If so, it makes it even worse IMHO.
    I find spelling errors really irritating when I read and I too have given up on a couple of authors because of numerous spelling errors in their books. I have been taken to task saying if I really liked the author/book/story line then I would not allow a small thing like spelling mistakes to cause me to stop reading. I just shrug at that and say "I obviously have not been invested enough". I am not an author but I have noticed about myself - there was a time I was an exceptional writer and speller but in recent years with the arrival of fibro issues and my "forgettery" overtaking my memory - then those things not so much, much to my frustration I add!

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  7. Oh yes! It matters! And not just in the grammar, spelling, and added/missing words area, but also in continuity. I recently read a story where there was the heading "three years later." In this three years the h went from 10 weeks pregnant to now celebrating her child's fourth birthday. Now math isn't my strong suit, but that just doesn't add up to me. Totally ruined the story for me.

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  8. I understand the occasional error - we all make them! But I do hold authors to a higher standard - after all, they are making their living off of the written word. If there are errors in the blurb I won't buy the book. If someone can't make sure the blurb is correct, then I can only imagine what might be found in the actual book! When there are spelling errors, missing words, bad punctuation, etc., it takes me out of the story. If an author isn't the best speller, than make sure you hire someone to proof your work. I was in a chat room recently where readers were talking to a bestselling author, and one of the participants said she hadn't written anything yet, but was an "inspiring writer." I was wondering what kind of material she was writing, then it occurred to me she meant "aspiring." Sigh.......

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    1. See - I made a misspelling myself...."then make sure...."

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  9. "...but once she’s had a taste of" the wonton, she can't go back. Deep fried delicacies--I can't say I blame her.

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