Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proofing and Editing

Recently, I have been immersing myself in reading indie eBooks. More often than not, I have been pleasantly surprised and, occasionally, blown away by the quality of the stories.

The quality of the editing has been spotty.  I know that typos are one of the most frequent criticisms of my eBooks. I have an eagle eye when it comes to spotting typos in other work of others. It is extremely hard for me to proof my own work. I let my stories lie fallow for months between when I finish a draft and when I proof it, and I do that two or three (or sometimes more) times before I publish it .... and there are still typos and formatting issues in my stories!  I can't tell you how much that frustrates me!!!

So, when I'm reading other indie authors' work, I try not to get too caught up with the formatting, punctuation and spelling.  I try. But, I don't succeed. I want to convert the document to a Word document and start redlining it. I can't help myself.

Most indie authors (myself included) don't make enough money at this to pay someone to edit our work. Editors are not going to do it for free. Proofreading is hard work. It's time consuming, and (if you're a writer) it takes time away from the thing you love most: creating new content.

On the one hand, I hate the fact that standards for accuracy in writing at all levels are being lowered. (I have even found myself using "Internet abbreviations" in my emails at work -- egads!!)  I've found typos in almost every p-book I've read for the last few years. I regularly find typos in business letters and  professional online content.

I'm an unapologetic grammar snob. I think that grammar, punctuation and spelling matter. When I have difficulty with a complicated sentence, I occasionally sit down and diagram it, in the old-fashioned way that my mother (but not my English teachers) taught me. I think that accuracy of expression is important.

But, sometimes a story is so compelling and so well-told, despite spelling, punctuation and other "technical" problems, I just can't put it down.

Does that make it less worthy a story?

I think not.

Give me a story that keeps me up all night reading  (even if I quibble about the spelling and formatting) over a story with perfect grammar and not one typo that bores me.


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