Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Are Bad Edits Discouraging Readers?
As a former teacher, book errors that are not corrected just seem to "jump out" at me and drive me crazy! I'm seeing more grammatical/tense/POV errors...and know this can't be good for authors who hope to gain a fan base.
More and more, I'm finding errors in blurbs and excerpts that I read from many sources: yahoo groups, author websites, publisher websites, etc. That makes me wonder how readers react to finding these mistakes.
Who's at fault? The author has to take most of the responsibility for this. Read your book many times before submitting. Then, check what an editor sends back to you in the form of edits.
Editors and publishers also possess responsibility for text mistakes. If it's your job to correct author errors, be careful and do a quality job.
It's not just self-pubbed books that present blurb/excerpt/book mistakes. I've seen text that has gone through agents and publisher editors...and glaring mistakes haven't been corrected.
I had one great editor who worked well with me. I had one who gave me a hard time, because she kept trying to correct "errors" that weren't errors. As the author intent on publishing my books, it was my job to make sure those correcting me were right! Everyone makes mistakes - spelling, POV, etc. - but it's my reputation that takes a nosedive if my book blurb or excerpt isn't presented as quality material. My complete book must be error-free, or else I lose readers.
As the main "poster" for the Romance Books '4' Us blog, I enter 8-10 extra posts a month to the blog...these are guest blogs and interviews. I've made suggestions to some authors about errors I find, but if it's in something that's already been published (blurb/excerpt), there's not much else I can do. Most have thanked me and made changes; some ignore my suggestions.
I make spelling/grammar/etc., changes in guest blogs or interviews, but won't make blurb/excerpt changes unless the author agrees with my suggestions.
I've told authors that I won't post excerpts with song lyrics. My understanding has always been (and the Authors Guild agrees) that authors can use song titles but not the lyrics. Editors/agents should know this. Why don't they "catch" this before publishing a book?
Is the quality of romance books declining because the quality of edits has slipped? Are we losing readers because of bad edits?
Photos:Flickr: Matt Hampel, Nick McPhee's photostreams.