Tag: self publishing

Writers and readers hate errors in books

Writers and readers hate errors in books

Editing drives writers to distraction. Writing is fun when the inspiration and words flow but then going over it all is so tedious, often de-motivating and just boring. That is why we prefer to farm this activity out to the publishers who promise painstaking editing and proof reading. This is how it has always been. But I suspect these editors and proofreaders also find these tasks tedious and possibly fall asleep on the job. Or do they now just computerise the task, claim they proofread it but didn’t really? Writers and readers hate errors in books.

Readers find errors

It is bad enough reading over your own work and fixing it but imagine reading someone else’s and staying interested and awake. Well, this is my theory why every time I have a book released, it is my readers who find errors. Though I read the manuscript oh so many times and the editor supposedly did too during one, two, three four rounds of editing and then a final proofread, there are still errors. ARGH!

Types of errors

Now these errors can be punctuation; missed capitals, commas, apostrophes or full stops or they can be spelling errors. Maybe these are the most forgivable errors that we can blame on a printer. lol. My book The Last Hotel contained a few of these in its first edition because the writer, me, wrote it or rather tapped it out with one hand. I had lost the use of my right upper body to CRPS at the time so was a writing cripple for about two years. I really relied on the editor. But they let me down.

Reviewers also find errors

However, the reader did not know this, so had no sympathy for these errors and besides shouldn’t the editor have found these errors before publication? I had to make a fuss after an Onlinebookclub.org reviewer rated the novel one star down because of the punctuation though they said it was ‘the best book they had read that year.’ The publisher ultimately edited the book again for me for free and now the new version is all good. Yeah!

Historical errors

In my first book, Whispers through Time, there is a date error in the chapter about Lisbon that has a king living for over a century and a half. Oops. That one is a typo of the date. In Colour comes to Tangles, Josie drives a VW at the start of the book but has a Peugeot by the end. This sort of error is an inconsistency one. When I wrote it over the period of a year, I did not notice that I assigned a different car to her and neither did the editor.

In my newly released novel, Time Heal my Heart, I am disheartened to be informed again by a reader that there is an inconsistency as to who named Manly. It is the beachside suburb of Sydney where my characters honeymoon. In the beginning of the book, Sebastian tells his new wife that the suburb is so called because a first settler thought the original native people looked ‘manly.’ This is true. But at the end of the book, another character mentions a different first settler being the origin of the name.

No, it wasn’t Captain Cook!

Now how did this happen? I have the research that tells me the first guy Captain Arthur Phillip named the suburb so how did I attribute this later to Captain Cook who never really settled on Australian soil? A blonde moment? Dementia setting in? Brain fatigue after hours of rereading? Captain Cook was a sailor and voyager who mapped the coastline and died in Tahiti. But his name is more well known than Phillip’s so maybe it popped into my head at this point later in the book. Oh, dear and sorry!

Editors are meant to save us

Now this is embarrassing but there is no recourse to fix this error once the book is published as it is not a self-published book wherein you can just reload the file to Amazon. So, it has to stay there now and shame me forever. Sigh Editors are meant to save writers from this. Writers and readers hate errors in books.

Editors are meant to catch my mistakes, but they don’t seem to be up to the task as well as editors in the old days before digital. You never see many errors in the old classics or books before around 2000 but errors have multiplied in modern books. Do editors now just run our work through Grammarly or ProWriting Aid? Do they even proofread with their own eyes not a computer program? Because they are often young are they distracted by their phones or just can’t spell?

Should we self-publish?

I have no answer to this. In frustration, I am going to ask a reader to proofread my next novel. They seem to be the best proofreaders. And they do it for free! Thank you, darlings! Writers and readers hate errors in books!

It’s tough enough writing 120, 000 words into a story without having to edit, proofread and then market the book. No, publishers are slack there as well. They get all the money and don’t hold their weight which is why so many of us are turning to self-publishing. You have control over the rights to the book, can fix the errors and earn more royalties.

I am sure there are some excellent editors out there and I wish you writers luck finding one who does your work justice.

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Joni Scott is an Australian author with four published novels: Whispers through Time, The Last Hotel Colour Comes to Tangles and her latest historical WWI drama, Time Heal my Heart. Joni has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.


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