Oh, if I only had a nickel for all of the authors over the years who have told me they didn’t think their readers would mind a few typos in their books…
At BookLocker, we recently received a manuscript that was riddled with incorrect punctuation. The writing was good and the subject was very interesting. But, the author clearly wasn’t paying attention in school when they were learning punctuation.
When I see these types of ongoing errors in a manuscript, I know that the author is not capable of editing his or her own work. I always recommend they hire an experienced editor. Professional authors will do that. Unprofessional ones will not.
Case in point: The author of the manuscript I mentioned above responded with this –
“I believe most readers knowledge of punctuation is worse than my own.”
(Did you notice the punctuation error in his response?)
Rather than argue with him, I simply rejected his manuscript, and explained that putting a book on the market with numerous errors will harm the author’s and publisher’s reputations.
Some authors offer up an idea that they think is entirely unique (it is not). They ask me to go ahead and publish their book, saying they’ll put a note in it, offering a contest of sorts for readers who tell the author where the errors appear in the book. One author wanted to insert a statement in her book that said, “Errors are intentional to make sure my readers are paying attention.”
I am still floored about that one.
Here are the facts:
- Publishing a book with dozens or hundreds of errors makes an author look uneducated, and a publisher look like an author meat market.
- Offering a find-the-typo contest in your OWN book is extremely unprofessional.
- Publishing an apology in your book for errors appearing IN YOUR BOOK is insulting to readers.
- Claiming the content in your book is valid and true, and that typos don’t take away from that (yes, I’ve seen that many times, too), is amateurish.
- And, assuming your readers are stupid is just plain STUPID!
If you aren’t willing to put a book on the market with correct spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation, you shouldn’t be putting a book on the market at all.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
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