Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pet Peeve of the Week: A Great Editor Makes a GREAT Book

As the indie publishing market grows, it seems there are more and more self-published and small market publishers flooding the market, both in print and in e-books.

But is the path these new authors taking really better?

In many ways it can be. By self-publishing and using a smaller imprint publisher, the author has more control creatively about how a book is perceived by the public, as well as taking advantage of word of mouth advertising that some of the BIG PUBLISHERS don’t have access to.

One thing I have noticed as of late is that in the author’s rush to get out a new book, the editing suffers. I’m not talking about how a plotline advances or character and story development, but instead I'm referring to the little things; missing words in a sentence, misplaced quotation marks, not continuing character dialogue correctly, and YES (!) even misspellings!

This post is in no way calling out particular authors, just a random (or not so random, I guess) observation.

Here’s one instance:

In a passage in a book I read recently, the author describes the clothes of the characters. She is wearing sweats and he is wearing jeans. As they start to undress, he says that her jeans need to come off.


She is wearing sweats and he is wearing jeans. Remember?

As sexy times start heating up between the two, she notices his *ahem* bulge growing beneath his sweatpants.

She is wearing sweats and he is wearing jeans. Remember?

Another instance occurred using a quotation mark in the wrong place; three appeared altogether in the same sentence. One before the dialogue tag, one at the beginning of the dialogue itself, then at the closing.

I know it sounds like I’m the BIG BAD BOOK NAZI, but I’m really not.

It just disappoints me that it seems some authors tend to skip on paying for good editors. I get it. It’s an expense that you don’t think you need, but you do. It really ruins the enjoyment of a story you love as a reader when you’re suddenly interrupted by something so simple to start reading critically instead of with enjoyment.

I also think a lot of editors are just running these manuscripts through a spell and grammar check and not taking the time to comb through in detail. These authors deserve the type of editing they are paying you for; authors do not need to be robbed by a scam-artist.

I’ve discussed this at length with my book club. I tend to read more indie or lesser-known books than they do, so I tend see these things frequently.

Author friends, do yourself a favor: pay for a GOOD editor.

Editors, do yourself a favor: EDIT THE MANUSCRIPT.

Now I realize I’m probably going to get a lot of shit for this, but it needs to be said. At least by me.

I know I’m not perfect; I know I make a ton of mistakes myself, especially here on this blog. But let’s be real; wouldn’t you rather sit down with a  yummy drink and a deliciously fantastic novel and read with abandon, rather than have to stop and start and get frustrated at a story that’s great, but needs work?

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