Friday, April 8, 2011

Mistakes happen…and happen…and happen…

I will admit I have many faults (yes, it’s true!) and I make mistakes. Lots and lots of mistakes. But my friends and loved ones are always there to help me pick up the pieces and rectify the situation.

But when I read a book from a major publishing house I expect to see near perfection; and why? Because they expect it from us, the writers! Don’t believe me? Try submitting a manuscript with grammatical and spelling errors sometime and see what happens. If you manage to get more than a form letter back, they will rip into you about the number of mistakes and ask that you “please edit your manuscript before you submit.” It usually says as much in their submission requirements.

Well, I’d like to make some publishing requirements: Please read your manuscripts before you publish!

Now I know publishing houses are extremely busy and short on staff and I can understand a missed comma here, an extra hyphen there and even a misspelled word or two, but when it comes to grammatical and spelling errors on every other page, it gets to be downright irritating and if I’m standing there reading it in Barnes and Noble I may even decide to not buy it.

Case in point: I was reading a book written by a NY Times bestselling author, published by a major publishing house, and found so many errors I actually had to stop at times to figure out what the word was supposed to be! (I won’t say the name of the book because I love this author’s work and don’t want to embarrass him). The writing was top-notch, but the copy-editing was obviously non-existent.

I’m finding that the small presses are doing a much better job these days of turning out quality products while the stuff from major houses seems to be going downhill. My own publishing company, Nightbird Publishing, puts out high-quality trade paperbacks and hard covers and their editing process is meticulous. My book went back and forth with my publisher several times before it was deemed ready for print. That’s the way it should be, even for e-books.

I think that if major publishers demand the best from us, the writers, shouldn’t we get the best in return? After all, it’s only fair.

1 comment:

  1. Hear! Hear! Well said, Toby. I've had a couple of nightmares with the POD I was with. I knew going in that it was my money on the line, footing the bill to get my novels out there..anywhere. Mainstreet passed me by with the usual B.S... Not quite ready, try a smaller house..etc. So when I plunked down MY cash expecting perfection, I got crap back. I finally pulled everything back in house and have gone straight Epub with amazon kindle and smashwords. Errors now are on my shoulders. I'll just have me to blame if I misssspell or use the wrong punctuation mark?