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.
In my forthcoming book, Be An Author, we looked at the rise of ePublishing, and the increase in free content. The consensus was that this would result in the buying public having to ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’. For me the problem has been that these books aren’t ‘chaff’, or at least they didn’t have to be. They are books that have value, with stories to tell, that I want to read. But my reading pleasure has been diminished by the lack of polishing of the finished product.
So I am now in a campaigning mood. As a self-published author, I want self-published books to be regarded just as highly as traditionally published ones. In order for that to happen, though, self-published authors have to be prepared to put in the work, or pay the price, to get their work to a professional standard. I will be making this clear in the self-publishing guide I will be making available on this blog shortly, but in the meantime writers please take note. Anything less than pretty-near-perfect is just not good enough. We could say that we are not just self-published, we are Professionally Self-Published. What do you think?
The other thing I have vowed to do is to review the books I find have this problem truthfully warts and all in the future. I will tell what I like about the book, but if errors have put me off in my reading I will demote the book by one star and say so. Otherwise, how can an author know they have not met the required standard? I know that this means I will also be held up to that standard, and you are all sure to let me know when I don’t meet it. I can live with that. At least I will learn something, too.