About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

As I mentioned before, I am enjoying using my new Kindle to explore independent authors and self-published books. I’m really enjoying it, too, and am finding some great ways to find these books. It has, however, brought up the issue of quality again. I wrote on here before about the importance of editorial input, but it seems that there are plenty of books out there which haven’t had much if any of that kind of input.
Of the two that I am particularly thinking about, the first had some typos, grammatical errors, and problems with sentence structure which made the sense difficult to follow. All of these are mistakes that I regularly make in my writing, too, as does everyone I believe when they are in the flow of creation. I do try hard to eliminate them on editing, though, and my husband is especially good at spotting them too. I loved the story in this particular book and forgave it, but had to keep on doing so throughout the story, which I thought was a shame. When I reviewed the book, though, I couldn’t bring myself to mention it. Am I a coward, or just sensitive to how it feels to have negative aspects commented on so publicly?
The one I’m struggling with at the moment is a consistent mis-spelling of the word ‘prized’ meaning ‘held to be of great value’ as ‘prised’ which should mean ‘removed from a tight grip’. The same applies to ‘prise’ for ‘prize’ and so far it keeps cropping up in the book. It’s making me trip up every time I come across it. What I want is to be able to read smoothly without really thinking about the words individually, and things like this stop me in my tracks.
So I’m wondering how others feel. Do you mind errors in books? Does how much you pay for them make a difference to how you feel? Is it fair enough for a self-published book to have some errors as they do not have the resources of a publisher – and are traditional publishers immune to errors in books? Or should a self-published author not have the temerity to put out a book unless it has been checked over by someone else? I would love to hear what you think in the comments, and as I am still working on my self-publishing download what you think will benefit self-publishers of the future too. I’m going to add a little poll too, so that we can build up a balance of opinion.
Thanks.

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Comments on: "How Forgiving Are You As A Reader?" (9)

  1. I’m afraid I find it impossible to get through a book full of typos and errors. I try, but I can’t help noticing them, that stops the flow of the story, and I can’t enjoy the story. Mis-placed apostrophes are amongst the worst. Someone calling themselves a writer needs to know whether grammar etc is something they are good at or not, and if not then they need to get someone who is to check it through for them before publishing. Sorry it that’s harsh, but I expect a writer to be able to write.

    • I think that the flow of the story is very important. I read that the idea of the Kindle was that you should not notice the technology, just be able to enjoy the book, and I think it achieves that unless too many errors are there. I don’t think it is ever possible to catch every single one, but they should be a rarity. So writers had better take note, then!

  2. As a self-published author, I know how much effort goes into editing and writing the book, and I know that how difficult it is to catch every error in the book. So if it has a good story and a few smatterings of mistakes, I don’t mind. But if there’s a mistake on every page, I have to put my foot down.

    • Hi Zen, I agree it is impossible to catch every error. What I think myself is that some self-published authors are not getting anyone else to check their work, and I think it is much harder to find errors in your own writing. The survey results make interesting reading so far.

  3. […] Well, even I was surprised at how strongly readers feel! On Monday I posed the question as to whether readers mind errors in books – and how much they mind. Now it might be that those who mind were more inclined to answer the survey, but even in these early days the results show heavily that mistakes are just not ok. So far, over 70% of people have agreed that writers should not put out books with errors. From other comments I have had elsewhere, it seems that people feel it is insulting for an author to put a book out without it being checked thoroughly and errors removed. It seems the main problem is the one I found – that it gets in the way of taking in the contents of the book, causes frustration, and may even result in a book being abandoned. If you want to see the full results of the survey so far, or add your vote, you can find it here. […]

  4. John Russell said:

    Would it be overly pedantic of me to point out that all the commas in your poll choices should actually be semicolons?

    • Probably, John! But if it affected your enjoyment of the survey, then I will by all means stand corrected. It is of course further evidence of the need to have an editor for a book, though I’m not going to fall on my sword over errors on my blog; even if that makes me a bad writer. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂

    I voted ‘other’ because, while I absolutely loathe poor editing in a novel I’m reading (I’ll forgive lots as a beta reader/editor), there are varying degrees of my loathing dependent upon many factors.

    If a story is incredibly gripping, the characters intrigue me, the dialog is sharp, and there are only a few issues a good editor could correct, I can be quite forgiving. It depends predominantly on how good the story is, how frequent the errors are, and whether or not the errors yank me out of the story.

    There is a horror/romance author (she self publishes without the help of a professional editor) who routinely uses “unto” in the place of “onto” and suffers many a syntax error throughout her novellas. It drives me absolutely batty. I’ve read six of her novellas. I keep reading her because I like the story and the characters. I have also offered to edit for her, free of charge.

    Should there be errors in a published novel of any length? No.

    Am I willing to forgive a few? Absolutely.

    Am I willing to forgive chronic errors? Very, very occasionally.

    • Hi Paige, Thanks for your comments. Sounds like we have similar views. I’m sure the author you are referring to thinks that she is writing correctly, and I’m just as sure that I have plenty of habitual errors in my writing. I’m just asking writers to get editorial input and correct those errors before they go out, whilst still accepting that some are bound to get missed. But you can tell if you are forgiving an odd error that got missed or if there just hasn’t been any editing to speak of. Still wondering how I’m going to broach the subject on the day I meet one of the culprits face to face (which is likely because she lives in the same village as me), 🙂

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