Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ePublishing: Can A Good Story Make Up for Bad Editing?

A few weeks ago I read a book with a great story, but the editing was horrible. There were so many omitted words that it was distracting and it took me out of the story. I went to the author's blog and was shocked to see that she'd posted a list of people that she wanted to thank for being her proofreaders. There were about five of them. How could that many people miss so many errors?

This brings up a couple of points. First, just because someone can read doesn't mean they can proofread.
Second, can a good story make up for bad editing?

I'm torn. I've found typos in traditionally published books and I'm sure there are a couple in my own book. I'm not happy about it, but I'm realistic. Where I think the line needs to be drawn is when the amount of typos is so significant that the reader is no longer engaged in the story but is busy thinking "who the hell proofread this?"

What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Should readers overlook typos, especially in books that only cost $2.99 (or less). Does a low price give a writer the right to put out a book that needs better editing?

Or, do we all need to up our game a little bit?


  1. Eek! No, you're not being too harsh. I can't overlook typos when they're so numerous that I'm tempted to set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of them. I have the same issue when I go to a poorly produced/directed theater event. Rather than getting lost in the story unfolding before me, I'm shaking my head over the wobbly - or missing - spotlight, the errant stagehand in his/her jeans and black shirt in the middle of a Victorian salon holding a late-arriving prop, and the shoddy sound.

    Game-upping, for the win! :-)

  2. Glad I'm not the only one. I know I have a tendency to be critical, but when the little things are so constant that they detract from the experience, then it's too much.

    Now I wonder if I should go back through all my posts to make sure I don't have any typos.


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