Editors, Part 2

Anne here, with part two of my posts about editors, how they work, and how we writers work with them. The first part is here.

EditorThe Copyeditor 

Copyediting comes after the author has dealt with the comments the editor made during the structural edit (see previous post.) The editor reads the revised manuscript, and if she approves it, she passes it on to the copyediting department.  

In general, the copyeditor reads a manuscript looking for mistakes — typos, repetition of words or phrases, accidental English/Australian spelling (in my case), inconsistencies, mistakes such as a character's name or their eye color changing — I've done both of those. In the months it takes me to write a book, it's easy to forget tiny details, and sometimes I'll change my mind and miss changing it everywhere. Or change it back and forget.

Og-editingSome copyeditors are heavy on grammatical correctness which, for me, doesn't always work as people often think or talk in sentence fragments, and not always in perfect grammar.  But I've also read books in which an otherwise good author repeatedly makes a grammatical mistake that's never corrected. (eg You've got another thing coming, when they mean another think. Or, not in dialogue, John said he would take Julie and I to the movie, when it should be Julie and me.) That kind of thing frustrates me. (By the way, despite the photo above, most editing happens electronically these days, not with a pen and paper.)

Other copyeditors are big on history, and will query historical dates of words using an etymological dictionary that shows the origin and first printed use of a word. I use the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) and the copyeditors are generally using an American dictionary, and the dates are sometimes different. And sometimes the words they flag are dated several years after the setting of my book, but they would have been in spoken use long before they made it into print.

The problem with reliance on etymological dictionaries
As I said above, an etymological dictionary relies on the first known printed use of a word. But that's not generally the first use of a word. Words usually come into general usage through spoken language, long before they hit some kind of printed page. So slang, nursery language (like tummy), technical terms, and all sorts of everyday expressions might not make it into print until, say a novel, or a specialist printing or a magazine.  And those sources might not have been found by the dictionary researchers. The dates ascribed to various words are being altered all the time as older texts come to light.

As well, a copyeditor might flag a word, but if it isn't an obvious anachronism, I don't see the harm. I've had words like driveway flagged, because it's listed as an 1824 word in the OED, and my story was set in 1818. Apart from the likelihood that it would have been in general spoken use well before 1824, I doubt any modern reader would even notice it, let alone consider it an anachronism. Another one flagged my use of the word "nightgown" and suggested I change it to "night rail" throughout.

So some comments/corrections I "stet" — which means "let it stand" — ie leave as originally written — and others I accept. But I'm incredibly grateful to every copyeditor I've ever had, because their eagle eye has been invaluable.

The proof reader

The final editorial pass is the proof reader. Proofs are the final final final check of the manuscript. The manuscript has been laid out ready to print — each page looks just like the page in the paperback will. At this stage I can't make changes just because I want to — there's a strict limit, after which the publisher will charge me. 

FineToothedComb (1)As well as the professional proof-reader, I also go through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb, because it we don't catch a mistake now, it'll be there forever. (Actually, I don't use a fine tooth comb — which was used in the past to comb out lice. (The photo is from this site.)

I use a card that I hold against the computer screen (see below), making me read line by line, otherwise I will tend to skim read and miss tiny errors, because I've read the manuscript so many times before I imagine/remember what's there. Looking at it like this, line by line, forces me to concentrate.

ProofsImage

At this stage only a handful of small errors might be found, and they might be a missing word, or a double comma or a missing question mark. When I find an error, I print off the page, mark it with a pen, and take a photo of the page. I also send a list, stating the page no, the line no, what the error is, and what it should read as. In my latest manuscript, The Rake's Daughter, I found five errors. (There's one in the pic above. Can you spot the mistake?)

Despite all the care we take, mistakes can slip through. In The Scoundrel's Daughter, the editor, the copy editor and I all missed the fact that I'd given the nanny three different names — Nanny McBain, Nanny McCubbin and Nanny McBride. It was Mary Jo, who'd asked for an early read of the manuscript, who said, "By the way, do you realize you gave the nanny three different names? I expect you've fixed that by now." I checked. I shrieked! She was right. I hadn't even noticed. I whizzed off an email to my editor, who said the proof reader had spotted one of them but not the other. The book was to go to print the very next day, so phew, they were able to fix it in time, but it was a very close call.

ScoundrelsDaughter1MedSo that's how mistakes end up happening in a book. The author has read the manuscript so many times their brain reads words that aren't there. Or in the writing they have changed some small detail and missed fixing all of them — eye color, nanny names and so on. And copy editors and proof readers, despite their best intentions, can get caught up in a story and miss a small detail.

Editors and Indie Publishing

I mentioned indie publishing (self publishing) earlier. The most professional (and successful) indie authors I know pay for all three levels of professional editing — structural editing, copyediting and proofreading — the same as I get in traditional publishing. 

My indie friends generally have to book their structural editors and copyeditors months in advance, and if they miss their deadline, that's it — they lose their slot, and thus their release date. They also hire professional designers for their covers.  Of course not all indie authors do this: that's the thing about independent publishing — it's all in the hands of the author. 

What about you? Anything in this surprise you? Do you spot mistakes in books? Often? Occasionally? What kind of mistakes irritate you?

115 thoughts on “Editors, Part 2”

  1. Both these articles have been very intriguing and illuminating. It’s interesting to see the changes in the way editing is handled over the years.
    The error – is it a missing question mark? Sir Jasper has asked a question but the sentence ends with a period.
    I am awful at proofing my own writing, as anybody can tell from my posted comments 🙂 Why is it one spots something a nanosecond after having pushed the send button?

    Reply
  2. Both these articles have been very intriguing and illuminating. It’s interesting to see the changes in the way editing is handled over the years.
    The error – is it a missing question mark? Sir Jasper has asked a question but the sentence ends with a period.
    I am awful at proofing my own writing, as anybody can tell from my posted comments 🙂 Why is it one spots something a nanosecond after having pushed the send button?

    Reply
  3. Both these articles have been very intriguing and illuminating. It’s interesting to see the changes in the way editing is handled over the years.
    The error – is it a missing question mark? Sir Jasper has asked a question but the sentence ends with a period.
    I am awful at proofing my own writing, as anybody can tell from my posted comments 🙂 Why is it one spots something a nanosecond after having pushed the send button?

    Reply
  4. Both these articles have been very intriguing and illuminating. It’s interesting to see the changes in the way editing is handled over the years.
    The error – is it a missing question mark? Sir Jasper has asked a question but the sentence ends with a period.
    I am awful at proofing my own writing, as anybody can tell from my posted comments 🙂 Why is it one spots something a nanosecond after having pushed the send button?

    Reply
  5. Both these articles have been very intriguing and illuminating. It’s interesting to see the changes in the way editing is handled over the years.
    The error – is it a missing question mark? Sir Jasper has asked a question but the sentence ends with a period.
    I am awful at proofing my own writing, as anybody can tell from my posted comments 🙂 Why is it one spots something a nanosecond after having pushed the send button?

    Reply
  6. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to typos – unless there are too many of them. I’m more likely to notice something that is inconsistent with the mores of the times. For instance – a “good girl” who jumps into bed with a guy without giving a second thought to the consequences. I’m old enough to remember life before the Pill.
    Anne, these posts were so interesting. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  7. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to typos – unless there are too many of them. I’m more likely to notice something that is inconsistent with the mores of the times. For instance – a “good girl” who jumps into bed with a guy without giving a second thought to the consequences. I’m old enough to remember life before the Pill.
    Anne, these posts were so interesting. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  8. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to typos – unless there are too many of them. I’m more likely to notice something that is inconsistent with the mores of the times. For instance – a “good girl” who jumps into bed with a guy without giving a second thought to the consequences. I’m old enough to remember life before the Pill.
    Anne, these posts were so interesting. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  9. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to typos – unless there are too many of them. I’m more likely to notice something that is inconsistent with the mores of the times. For instance – a “good girl” who jumps into bed with a guy without giving a second thought to the consequences. I’m old enough to remember life before the Pill.
    Anne, these posts were so interesting. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  10. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to typos – unless there are too many of them. I’m more likely to notice something that is inconsistent with the mores of the times. For instance – a “good girl” who jumps into bed with a guy without giving a second thought to the consequences. I’m old enough to remember life before the Pill.
    Anne, these posts were so interesting. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  11. One of my biggest peeves and it is not to do with editing, is when an author kills off a major character who is much loved (in my opinion). I have stopped reading that author’s books because of it.
    Another thing that irritates me beyond belief is when characters do things that are utterly impossible. A fairly well known series that takes place in Victorian times, had the detective and his constable discover the body of a young murdered maid and they undressed her! (highly unlikely) and then re-dressed her! all in the matter of 10 minutes or so which in my opinion would be ridiculous! I have never read that author again. I figure if he could screw up that detail that was so obvious, what else is screwed up? And no editors caught it either.

    Reply
  12. One of my biggest peeves and it is not to do with editing, is when an author kills off a major character who is much loved (in my opinion). I have stopped reading that author’s books because of it.
    Another thing that irritates me beyond belief is when characters do things that are utterly impossible. A fairly well known series that takes place in Victorian times, had the detective and his constable discover the body of a young murdered maid and they undressed her! (highly unlikely) and then re-dressed her! all in the matter of 10 minutes or so which in my opinion would be ridiculous! I have never read that author again. I figure if he could screw up that detail that was so obvious, what else is screwed up? And no editors caught it either.

    Reply
  13. One of my biggest peeves and it is not to do with editing, is when an author kills off a major character who is much loved (in my opinion). I have stopped reading that author’s books because of it.
    Another thing that irritates me beyond belief is when characters do things that are utterly impossible. A fairly well known series that takes place in Victorian times, had the detective and his constable discover the body of a young murdered maid and they undressed her! (highly unlikely) and then re-dressed her! all in the matter of 10 minutes or so which in my opinion would be ridiculous! I have never read that author again. I figure if he could screw up that detail that was so obvious, what else is screwed up? And no editors caught it either.

    Reply
  14. One of my biggest peeves and it is not to do with editing, is when an author kills off a major character who is much loved (in my opinion). I have stopped reading that author’s books because of it.
    Another thing that irritates me beyond belief is when characters do things that are utterly impossible. A fairly well known series that takes place in Victorian times, had the detective and his constable discover the body of a young murdered maid and they undressed her! (highly unlikely) and then re-dressed her! all in the matter of 10 minutes or so which in my opinion would be ridiculous! I have never read that author again. I figure if he could screw up that detail that was so obvious, what else is screwed up? And no editors caught it either.

    Reply
  15. One of my biggest peeves and it is not to do with editing, is when an author kills off a major character who is much loved (in my opinion). I have stopped reading that author’s books because of it.
    Another thing that irritates me beyond belief is when characters do things that are utterly impossible. A fairly well known series that takes place in Victorian times, had the detective and his constable discover the body of a young murdered maid and they undressed her! (highly unlikely) and then re-dressed her! all in the matter of 10 minutes or so which in my opinion would be ridiculous! I have never read that author again. I figure if he could screw up that detail that was so obvious, what else is screwed up? And no editors caught it either.

    Reply
  16. I’m so glad you pointed out that all three editors are absolutely necessary, because they really are looking for entirely different things. And running spellcheck isn’t enough! I think spellcheck is to blame for things like “reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper” or all the innumerable misuses of lie/lay.
    Of course there will always be some mistakes that get through. My favorites are a book that attributed the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo and another that put Madison Avenue on the west side of Manhattan. As for all those people who manage to find a parking place right infront of the building they’re going to—well, romance does have an element of fantasy in it.

    Reply
  17. I’m so glad you pointed out that all three editors are absolutely necessary, because they really are looking for entirely different things. And running spellcheck isn’t enough! I think spellcheck is to blame for things like “reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper” or all the innumerable misuses of lie/lay.
    Of course there will always be some mistakes that get through. My favorites are a book that attributed the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo and another that put Madison Avenue on the west side of Manhattan. As for all those people who manage to find a parking place right infront of the building they’re going to—well, romance does have an element of fantasy in it.

    Reply
  18. I’m so glad you pointed out that all three editors are absolutely necessary, because they really are looking for entirely different things. And running spellcheck isn’t enough! I think spellcheck is to blame for things like “reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper” or all the innumerable misuses of lie/lay.
    Of course there will always be some mistakes that get through. My favorites are a book that attributed the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo and another that put Madison Avenue on the west side of Manhattan. As for all those people who manage to find a parking place right infront of the building they’re going to—well, romance does have an element of fantasy in it.

    Reply
  19. I’m so glad you pointed out that all three editors are absolutely necessary, because they really are looking for entirely different things. And running spellcheck isn’t enough! I think spellcheck is to blame for things like “reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper” or all the innumerable misuses of lie/lay.
    Of course there will always be some mistakes that get through. My favorites are a book that attributed the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo and another that put Madison Avenue on the west side of Manhattan. As for all those people who manage to find a parking place right infront of the building they’re going to—well, romance does have an element of fantasy in it.

    Reply
  20. I’m so glad you pointed out that all three editors are absolutely necessary, because they really are looking for entirely different things. And running spellcheck isn’t enough! I think spellcheck is to blame for things like “reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper” or all the innumerable misuses of lie/lay.
    Of course there will always be some mistakes that get through. My favorites are a book that attributed the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo and another that put Madison Avenue on the west side of Manhattan. As for all those people who manage to find a parking place right infront of the building they’re going to—well, romance does have an element of fantasy in it.

    Reply
  21. All so very, very true, Anne! One of my most remembered errors was in my one medieval, when I kept changing the name of an important secondary character from Cecily to Cicely and back again. The copy editor finally wrote an exasperated, “Make up your mind!”

    Reply
  22. All so very, very true, Anne! One of my most remembered errors was in my one medieval, when I kept changing the name of an important secondary character from Cecily to Cicely and back again. The copy editor finally wrote an exasperated, “Make up your mind!”

    Reply
  23. All so very, very true, Anne! One of my most remembered errors was in my one medieval, when I kept changing the name of an important secondary character from Cecily to Cicely and back again. The copy editor finally wrote an exasperated, “Make up your mind!”

    Reply
  24. All so very, very true, Anne! One of my most remembered errors was in my one medieval, when I kept changing the name of an important secondary character from Cecily to Cicely and back again. The copy editor finally wrote an exasperated, “Make up your mind!”

    Reply
  25. All so very, very true, Anne! One of my most remembered errors was in my one medieval, when I kept changing the name of an important secondary character from Cecily to Cicely and back again. The copy editor finally wrote an exasperated, “Make up your mind!”

    Reply
  26. This has been a wonderful series of essays, so thank you! I do copy editing for technical nursing papers, but it involves the same sorts of things; continuity of information, proper grammar and punctuation, and conclusions that follow logically. The error on the page is likely the missing comma on line 18 between days/she’d or the missing question mark on line 28 after dog ( although that could be read as a statement). I read a lot of books, usually one a day, over a wide variety of fiction genres, and unfortunately, see a lot of missed errors. The most common are misused your/you’re, to/too, peek/peak, all of which I assume are spell check proofreading misses. The worst are missing words, that’s just sloppy. Something that will cause me to not read a book is more than five grammatical or proofreading errors in the first two pages. I just can’t!

    Reply
  27. This has been a wonderful series of essays, so thank you! I do copy editing for technical nursing papers, but it involves the same sorts of things; continuity of information, proper grammar and punctuation, and conclusions that follow logically. The error on the page is likely the missing comma on line 18 between days/she’d or the missing question mark on line 28 after dog ( although that could be read as a statement). I read a lot of books, usually one a day, over a wide variety of fiction genres, and unfortunately, see a lot of missed errors. The most common are misused your/you’re, to/too, peek/peak, all of which I assume are spell check proofreading misses. The worst are missing words, that’s just sloppy. Something that will cause me to not read a book is more than five grammatical or proofreading errors in the first two pages. I just can’t!

    Reply
  28. This has been a wonderful series of essays, so thank you! I do copy editing for technical nursing papers, but it involves the same sorts of things; continuity of information, proper grammar and punctuation, and conclusions that follow logically. The error on the page is likely the missing comma on line 18 between days/she’d or the missing question mark on line 28 after dog ( although that could be read as a statement). I read a lot of books, usually one a day, over a wide variety of fiction genres, and unfortunately, see a lot of missed errors. The most common are misused your/you’re, to/too, peek/peak, all of which I assume are spell check proofreading misses. The worst are missing words, that’s just sloppy. Something that will cause me to not read a book is more than five grammatical or proofreading errors in the first two pages. I just can’t!

    Reply
  29. This has been a wonderful series of essays, so thank you! I do copy editing for technical nursing papers, but it involves the same sorts of things; continuity of information, proper grammar and punctuation, and conclusions that follow logically. The error on the page is likely the missing comma on line 18 between days/she’d or the missing question mark on line 28 after dog ( although that could be read as a statement). I read a lot of books, usually one a day, over a wide variety of fiction genres, and unfortunately, see a lot of missed errors. The most common are misused your/you’re, to/too, peek/peak, all of which I assume are spell check proofreading misses. The worst are missing words, that’s just sloppy. Something that will cause me to not read a book is more than five grammatical or proofreading errors in the first two pages. I just can’t!

    Reply
  30. This has been a wonderful series of essays, so thank you! I do copy editing for technical nursing papers, but it involves the same sorts of things; continuity of information, proper grammar and punctuation, and conclusions that follow logically. The error on the page is likely the missing comma on line 18 between days/she’d or the missing question mark on line 28 after dog ( although that could be read as a statement). I read a lot of books, usually one a day, over a wide variety of fiction genres, and unfortunately, see a lot of missed errors. The most common are misused your/you’re, to/too, peek/peak, all of which I assume are spell check proofreading misses. The worst are missing words, that’s just sloppy. Something that will cause me to not read a book is more than five grammatical or proofreading errors in the first two pages. I just can’t!

    Reply
  31. What an informative article, Anne; thank you!
    I had the same answer as Janice as regards the error.
    I do spot errors in books and not infrequently. Like Lil, I often see reign/rein errors as well as apostrophe errors as in it’s/its. Given how quickly I read, it’s surprising that I see as many errors as I do. I was once on my fourth reread of a hardback before I realized that some twenty pages were missing from the book due to a printing error!

    Reply
  32. What an informative article, Anne; thank you!
    I had the same answer as Janice as regards the error.
    I do spot errors in books and not infrequently. Like Lil, I often see reign/rein errors as well as apostrophe errors as in it’s/its. Given how quickly I read, it’s surprising that I see as many errors as I do. I was once on my fourth reread of a hardback before I realized that some twenty pages were missing from the book due to a printing error!

    Reply
  33. What an informative article, Anne; thank you!
    I had the same answer as Janice as regards the error.
    I do spot errors in books and not infrequently. Like Lil, I often see reign/rein errors as well as apostrophe errors as in it’s/its. Given how quickly I read, it’s surprising that I see as many errors as I do. I was once on my fourth reread of a hardback before I realized that some twenty pages were missing from the book due to a printing error!

    Reply
  34. What an informative article, Anne; thank you!
    I had the same answer as Janice as regards the error.
    I do spot errors in books and not infrequently. Like Lil, I often see reign/rein errors as well as apostrophe errors as in it’s/its. Given how quickly I read, it’s surprising that I see as many errors as I do. I was once on my fourth reread of a hardback before I realized that some twenty pages were missing from the book due to a printing error!

    Reply
  35. What an informative article, Anne; thank you!
    I had the same answer as Janice as regards the error.
    I do spot errors in books and not infrequently. Like Lil, I often see reign/rein errors as well as apostrophe errors as in it’s/its. Given how quickly I read, it’s surprising that I see as many errors as I do. I was once on my fourth reread of a hardback before I realized that some twenty pages were missing from the book due to a printing error!

    Reply
  36. Thanks, Janice. Yes, gone are the days when I had to post off a heavy wad of printed paper to an editor and wait for it to be posted back, hand-corrected.
    As for the error, yes, it was the missing question mark.
    I chuckled at your comment about spotting the error as it disappears into the ether — happens all the time to me as well.

    Reply
  37. Thanks, Janice. Yes, gone are the days when I had to post off a heavy wad of printed paper to an editor and wait for it to be posted back, hand-corrected.
    As for the error, yes, it was the missing question mark.
    I chuckled at your comment about spotting the error as it disappears into the ether — happens all the time to me as well.

    Reply
  38. Thanks, Janice. Yes, gone are the days when I had to post off a heavy wad of printed paper to an editor and wait for it to be posted back, hand-corrected.
    As for the error, yes, it was the missing question mark.
    I chuckled at your comment about spotting the error as it disappears into the ether — happens all the time to me as well.

    Reply
  39. Thanks, Janice. Yes, gone are the days when I had to post off a heavy wad of printed paper to an editor and wait for it to be posted back, hand-corrected.
    As for the error, yes, it was the missing question mark.
    I chuckled at your comment about spotting the error as it disappears into the ether — happens all the time to me as well.

    Reply
  40. Thanks, Janice. Yes, gone are the days when I had to post off a heavy wad of printed paper to an editor and wait for it to be posted back, hand-corrected.
    As for the error, yes, it was the missing question mark.
    I chuckled at your comment about spotting the error as it disappears into the ether — happens all the time to me as well.

    Reply
  41. Thanks, Mary. Spelling can be an issue, I know. Some self-published Australian authors have trouble when US readers indignantly reporting their book to Amazon claiming the book is full of errors, when in fact they’re using the correct British English spelling(which is the same as Australian English.)
    But yes, I, too dislike the well-bred young woman happily jumping into bed with the hero, without a second thought as to possible consequences. But you’re right, a lot of younger readers (and writers) don’t see the issue at all.

    Reply
  42. Thanks, Mary. Spelling can be an issue, I know. Some self-published Australian authors have trouble when US readers indignantly reporting their book to Amazon claiming the book is full of errors, when in fact they’re using the correct British English spelling(which is the same as Australian English.)
    But yes, I, too dislike the well-bred young woman happily jumping into bed with the hero, without a second thought as to possible consequences. But you’re right, a lot of younger readers (and writers) don’t see the issue at all.

    Reply
  43. Thanks, Mary. Spelling can be an issue, I know. Some self-published Australian authors have trouble when US readers indignantly reporting their book to Amazon claiming the book is full of errors, when in fact they’re using the correct British English spelling(which is the same as Australian English.)
    But yes, I, too dislike the well-bred young woman happily jumping into bed with the hero, without a second thought as to possible consequences. But you’re right, a lot of younger readers (and writers) don’t see the issue at all.

    Reply
  44. Thanks, Mary. Spelling can be an issue, I know. Some self-published Australian authors have trouble when US readers indignantly reporting their book to Amazon claiming the book is full of errors, when in fact they’re using the correct British English spelling(which is the same as Australian English.)
    But yes, I, too dislike the well-bred young woman happily jumping into bed with the hero, without a second thought as to possible consequences. But you’re right, a lot of younger readers (and writers) don’t see the issue at all.

    Reply
  45. Thanks, Mary. Spelling can be an issue, I know. Some self-published Australian authors have trouble when US readers indignantly reporting their book to Amazon claiming the book is full of errors, when in fact they’re using the correct British English spelling(which is the same as Australian English.)
    But yes, I, too dislike the well-bred young woman happily jumping into bed with the hero, without a second thought as to possible consequences. But you’re right, a lot of younger readers (and writers) don’t see the issue at all.

    Reply
  46. Yes, Donna, I don’t like favorite characters being killed off as well. I sometimes think that the authors who do it are trying to be “literary” or something.
    I read somewhere that when Dickens was writing The Old Curiosity Shop, which he first wrote in episodes that were serialized. Little Nell, a beloved character, was getting more and more ill, and Dickens was undecided as whether to make her live or die. A writer friend convinced him to have her die, and I can’t imagine how many readers were devastated — needlessly in my opinion. People cared so much about Little Nell’s fate that on the morning the ship bearing the magazines containing the final episode arrived from England and docked at NY harbor, hundreds of people waited on the wharf, and called out to the sailors “Is Little Nell Alive or Dead?”

    Reply
  47. Yes, Donna, I don’t like favorite characters being killed off as well. I sometimes think that the authors who do it are trying to be “literary” or something.
    I read somewhere that when Dickens was writing The Old Curiosity Shop, which he first wrote in episodes that were serialized. Little Nell, a beloved character, was getting more and more ill, and Dickens was undecided as whether to make her live or die. A writer friend convinced him to have her die, and I can’t imagine how many readers were devastated — needlessly in my opinion. People cared so much about Little Nell’s fate that on the morning the ship bearing the magazines containing the final episode arrived from England and docked at NY harbor, hundreds of people waited on the wharf, and called out to the sailors “Is Little Nell Alive or Dead?”

    Reply
  48. Yes, Donna, I don’t like favorite characters being killed off as well. I sometimes think that the authors who do it are trying to be “literary” or something.
    I read somewhere that when Dickens was writing The Old Curiosity Shop, which he first wrote in episodes that were serialized. Little Nell, a beloved character, was getting more and more ill, and Dickens was undecided as whether to make her live or die. A writer friend convinced him to have her die, and I can’t imagine how many readers were devastated — needlessly in my opinion. People cared so much about Little Nell’s fate that on the morning the ship bearing the magazines containing the final episode arrived from England and docked at NY harbor, hundreds of people waited on the wharf, and called out to the sailors “Is Little Nell Alive or Dead?”

    Reply
  49. Yes, Donna, I don’t like favorite characters being killed off as well. I sometimes think that the authors who do it are trying to be “literary” or something.
    I read somewhere that when Dickens was writing The Old Curiosity Shop, which he first wrote in episodes that were serialized. Little Nell, a beloved character, was getting more and more ill, and Dickens was undecided as whether to make her live or die. A writer friend convinced him to have her die, and I can’t imagine how many readers were devastated — needlessly in my opinion. People cared so much about Little Nell’s fate that on the morning the ship bearing the magazines containing the final episode arrived from England and docked at NY harbor, hundreds of people waited on the wharf, and called out to the sailors “Is Little Nell Alive or Dead?”

    Reply
  50. Yes, Donna, I don’t like favorite characters being killed off as well. I sometimes think that the authors who do it are trying to be “literary” or something.
    I read somewhere that when Dickens was writing The Old Curiosity Shop, which he first wrote in episodes that were serialized. Little Nell, a beloved character, was getting more and more ill, and Dickens was undecided as whether to make her live or die. A writer friend convinced him to have her die, and I can’t imagine how many readers were devastated — needlessly in my opinion. People cared so much about Little Nell’s fate that on the morning the ship bearing the magazines containing the final episode arrived from England and docked at NY harbor, hundreds of people waited on the wharf, and called out to the sailors “Is Little Nell Alive or Dead?”

    Reply
  51. Yes, Lil, they different editors complement each other. And relying on spellcheck is certainly too simplistic. I read a lot of republished books, where the author or her heirs have got the rights back and published it again. I see all kinds of errors and they’ve obviously used optical character recognition software to reproduce the book, then run spellcheck. As you say, it’s not nearly good enough.
    But editors are not all equally skilled. I spotted this very error —”reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper — in a book recently, and I knew the author had paid for a professional copyeditor.
    I confess, I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my time — usually some hasty research that I meant to come back to, and forgot — and nobody ever picks it up until the book is out. Editors in general aren’t historical experts or fact checkers — though I’ve had some copy editors who checked facts.

    Reply
  52. Yes, Lil, they different editors complement each other. And relying on spellcheck is certainly too simplistic. I read a lot of republished books, where the author or her heirs have got the rights back and published it again. I see all kinds of errors and they’ve obviously used optical character recognition software to reproduce the book, then run spellcheck. As you say, it’s not nearly good enough.
    But editors are not all equally skilled. I spotted this very error —”reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper — in a book recently, and I knew the author had paid for a professional copyeditor.
    I confess, I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my time — usually some hasty research that I meant to come back to, and forgot — and nobody ever picks it up until the book is out. Editors in general aren’t historical experts or fact checkers — though I’ve had some copy editors who checked facts.

    Reply
  53. Yes, Lil, they different editors complement each other. And relying on spellcheck is certainly too simplistic. I read a lot of republished books, where the author or her heirs have got the rights back and published it again. I see all kinds of errors and they’ve obviously used optical character recognition software to reproduce the book, then run spellcheck. As you say, it’s not nearly good enough.
    But editors are not all equally skilled. I spotted this very error —”reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper — in a book recently, and I knew the author had paid for a professional copyeditor.
    I confess, I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my time — usually some hasty research that I meant to come back to, and forgot — and nobody ever picks it up until the book is out. Editors in general aren’t historical experts or fact checkers — though I’ve had some copy editors who checked facts.

    Reply
  54. Yes, Lil, they different editors complement each other. And relying on spellcheck is certainly too simplistic. I read a lot of republished books, where the author or her heirs have got the rights back and published it again. I see all kinds of errors and they’ve obviously used optical character recognition software to reproduce the book, then run spellcheck. As you say, it’s not nearly good enough.
    But editors are not all equally skilled. I spotted this very error —”reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper — in a book recently, and I knew the author had paid for a professional copyeditor.
    I confess, I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my time — usually some hasty research that I meant to come back to, and forgot — and nobody ever picks it up until the book is out. Editors in general aren’t historical experts or fact checkers — though I’ve had some copy editors who checked facts.

    Reply
  55. Yes, Lil, they different editors complement each other. And relying on spellcheck is certainly too simplistic. I read a lot of republished books, where the author or her heirs have got the rights back and published it again. I see all kinds of errors and they’ve obviously used optical character recognition software to reproduce the book, then run spellcheck. As you say, it’s not nearly good enough.
    But editors are not all equally skilled. I spotted this very error —”reign in his temper” instead of “rein in his temper — in a book recently, and I knew the author had paid for a professional copyeditor.
    I confess, I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my time — usually some hasty research that I meant to come back to, and forgot — and nobody ever picks it up until the book is out. Editors in general aren’t historical experts or fact checkers — though I’ve had some copy editors who checked facts.

    Reply
  56. Thank you Blue Mom, I’m very glad you enjoyed them. The comma error you spotted is not the one I was thinking of. It was the question mark.
    I often think that the use of commas is more of an art than a hard and fast set of rules, and authors use them differently. It’s part of voice.
    I think reliance on spellcheck is the source of a lot of the errors that bug us. But missing words — they’re easy to miss if you’re a fast reader like me. Which is why we need copyeditors.

    Reply
  57. Thank you Blue Mom, I’m very glad you enjoyed them. The comma error you spotted is not the one I was thinking of. It was the question mark.
    I often think that the use of commas is more of an art than a hard and fast set of rules, and authors use them differently. It’s part of voice.
    I think reliance on spellcheck is the source of a lot of the errors that bug us. But missing words — they’re easy to miss if you’re a fast reader like me. Which is why we need copyeditors.

    Reply
  58. Thank you Blue Mom, I’m very glad you enjoyed them. The comma error you spotted is not the one I was thinking of. It was the question mark.
    I often think that the use of commas is more of an art than a hard and fast set of rules, and authors use them differently. It’s part of voice.
    I think reliance on spellcheck is the source of a lot of the errors that bug us. But missing words — they’re easy to miss if you’re a fast reader like me. Which is why we need copyeditors.

    Reply
  59. Thank you Blue Mom, I’m very glad you enjoyed them. The comma error you spotted is not the one I was thinking of. It was the question mark.
    I often think that the use of commas is more of an art than a hard and fast set of rules, and authors use them differently. It’s part of voice.
    I think reliance on spellcheck is the source of a lot of the errors that bug us. But missing words — they’re easy to miss if you’re a fast reader like me. Which is why we need copyeditors.

    Reply
  60. Thank you Blue Mom, I’m very glad you enjoyed them. The comma error you spotted is not the one I was thinking of. It was the question mark.
    I often think that the use of commas is more of an art than a hard and fast set of rules, and authors use them differently. It’s part of voice.
    I think reliance on spellcheck is the source of a lot of the errors that bug us. But missing words — they’re easy to miss if you’re a fast reader like me. Which is why we need copyeditors.

    Reply
  61. Thanks, Kareni — and yes, you’re right. It was the missing question mark. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that despite your fast reading (and mine) mistakes will still jump out at us?
    Twenty pages missing! Wow. I hope you were able to get a replacement. But I can see how you might not notice that. You probably assumed that the jump between scenes was some odd decision made by the author, and you were eager to get on with the story, so kept reading. That’s what I might have done. *g*

    Reply
  62. Thanks, Kareni — and yes, you’re right. It was the missing question mark. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that despite your fast reading (and mine) mistakes will still jump out at us?
    Twenty pages missing! Wow. I hope you were able to get a replacement. But I can see how you might not notice that. You probably assumed that the jump between scenes was some odd decision made by the author, and you were eager to get on with the story, so kept reading. That’s what I might have done. *g*

    Reply
  63. Thanks, Kareni — and yes, you’re right. It was the missing question mark. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that despite your fast reading (and mine) mistakes will still jump out at us?
    Twenty pages missing! Wow. I hope you were able to get a replacement. But I can see how you might not notice that. You probably assumed that the jump between scenes was some odd decision made by the author, and you were eager to get on with the story, so kept reading. That’s what I might have done. *g*

    Reply
  64. Thanks, Kareni — and yes, you’re right. It was the missing question mark. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that despite your fast reading (and mine) mistakes will still jump out at us?
    Twenty pages missing! Wow. I hope you were able to get a replacement. But I can see how you might not notice that. You probably assumed that the jump between scenes was some odd decision made by the author, and you were eager to get on with the story, so kept reading. That’s what I might have done. *g*

    Reply
  65. Thanks, Kareni — and yes, you’re right. It was the missing question mark. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that despite your fast reading (and mine) mistakes will still jump out at us?
    Twenty pages missing! Wow. I hope you were able to get a replacement. But I can see how you might not notice that. You probably assumed that the jump between scenes was some odd decision made by the author, and you were eager to get on with the story, so kept reading. That’s what I might have done. *g*

    Reply
  66. In my favorite Old Los Angeles TV series, Perry Mason with Raymond Burr, Perry parks his classy convertible right in front of the County Courthouse and casually trots up the steps with his briefcase under his arm.
    Didn’t work that way, even in 1959. Not only could Perry not park in front of the courthouse (and they didn’t have valet parking there either), the street should have been busy and he wouldn’t have left his car unprotected with the top down. Not even for a ten minute appearance 🙂
    Funniest of all is how they used the same clip for nearly ten years, so towards the end Perry lost 80 pounds every time he went up those steps. Now that’s an effective exercise program!

    Reply
  67. In my favorite Old Los Angeles TV series, Perry Mason with Raymond Burr, Perry parks his classy convertible right in front of the County Courthouse and casually trots up the steps with his briefcase under his arm.
    Didn’t work that way, even in 1959. Not only could Perry not park in front of the courthouse (and they didn’t have valet parking there either), the street should have been busy and he wouldn’t have left his car unprotected with the top down. Not even for a ten minute appearance 🙂
    Funniest of all is how they used the same clip for nearly ten years, so towards the end Perry lost 80 pounds every time he went up those steps. Now that’s an effective exercise program!

    Reply
  68. In my favorite Old Los Angeles TV series, Perry Mason with Raymond Burr, Perry parks his classy convertible right in front of the County Courthouse and casually trots up the steps with his briefcase under his arm.
    Didn’t work that way, even in 1959. Not only could Perry not park in front of the courthouse (and they didn’t have valet parking there either), the street should have been busy and he wouldn’t have left his car unprotected with the top down. Not even for a ten minute appearance 🙂
    Funniest of all is how they used the same clip for nearly ten years, so towards the end Perry lost 80 pounds every time he went up those steps. Now that’s an effective exercise program!

    Reply
  69. In my favorite Old Los Angeles TV series, Perry Mason with Raymond Burr, Perry parks his classy convertible right in front of the County Courthouse and casually trots up the steps with his briefcase under his arm.
    Didn’t work that way, even in 1959. Not only could Perry not park in front of the courthouse (and they didn’t have valet parking there either), the street should have been busy and he wouldn’t have left his car unprotected with the top down. Not even for a ten minute appearance 🙂
    Funniest of all is how they used the same clip for nearly ten years, so towards the end Perry lost 80 pounds every time he went up those steps. Now that’s an effective exercise program!

    Reply
  70. In my favorite Old Los Angeles TV series, Perry Mason with Raymond Burr, Perry parks his classy convertible right in front of the County Courthouse and casually trots up the steps with his briefcase under his arm.
    Didn’t work that way, even in 1959. Not only could Perry not park in front of the courthouse (and they didn’t have valet parking there either), the street should have been busy and he wouldn’t have left his car unprotected with the top down. Not even for a ten minute appearance 🙂
    Funniest of all is how they used the same clip for nearly ten years, so towards the end Perry lost 80 pounds every time he went up those steps. Now that’s an effective exercise program!

    Reply
  71. Thanks for this great set of posts! I have at least 2 books going at once, an ebook and a print. It is such a relief to me to read the print books as they have so many fewer errors in them that I can just ignore them as typos. However, the ebooks are often so littered with errors that are not typos that they become distracting. In the most recent series I read on Kindle, the author constantly used “that” instead of “than” when making a character choose between things. AND THEN she used “than” when she should have used “that”. At first I thought it was just a typo, but when it occurred throughout the book and series, I wondered who edited these. However, the stories were so good, I couldn’t stop reading. Question for you: when you do hear from readers about errors, typos, etc., how do you react? Do these observations help you?

    Reply
  72. Thanks for this great set of posts! I have at least 2 books going at once, an ebook and a print. It is such a relief to me to read the print books as they have so many fewer errors in them that I can just ignore them as typos. However, the ebooks are often so littered with errors that are not typos that they become distracting. In the most recent series I read on Kindle, the author constantly used “that” instead of “than” when making a character choose between things. AND THEN she used “than” when she should have used “that”. At first I thought it was just a typo, but when it occurred throughout the book and series, I wondered who edited these. However, the stories were so good, I couldn’t stop reading. Question for you: when you do hear from readers about errors, typos, etc., how do you react? Do these observations help you?

    Reply
  73. Thanks for this great set of posts! I have at least 2 books going at once, an ebook and a print. It is such a relief to me to read the print books as they have so many fewer errors in them that I can just ignore them as typos. However, the ebooks are often so littered with errors that are not typos that they become distracting. In the most recent series I read on Kindle, the author constantly used “that” instead of “than” when making a character choose between things. AND THEN she used “than” when she should have used “that”. At first I thought it was just a typo, but when it occurred throughout the book and series, I wondered who edited these. However, the stories were so good, I couldn’t stop reading. Question for you: when you do hear from readers about errors, typos, etc., how do you react? Do these observations help you?

    Reply
  74. Thanks for this great set of posts! I have at least 2 books going at once, an ebook and a print. It is such a relief to me to read the print books as they have so many fewer errors in them that I can just ignore them as typos. However, the ebooks are often so littered with errors that are not typos that they become distracting. In the most recent series I read on Kindle, the author constantly used “that” instead of “than” when making a character choose between things. AND THEN she used “than” when she should have used “that”. At first I thought it was just a typo, but when it occurred throughout the book and series, I wondered who edited these. However, the stories were so good, I couldn’t stop reading. Question for you: when you do hear from readers about errors, typos, etc., how do you react? Do these observations help you?

    Reply
  75. Thanks for this great set of posts! I have at least 2 books going at once, an ebook and a print. It is such a relief to me to read the print books as they have so many fewer errors in them that I can just ignore them as typos. However, the ebooks are often so littered with errors that are not typos that they become distracting. In the most recent series I read on Kindle, the author constantly used “that” instead of “than” when making a character choose between things. AND THEN she used “than” when she should have used “that”. At first I thought it was just a typo, but when it occurred throughout the book and series, I wondered who edited these. However, the stories were so good, I couldn’t stop reading. Question for you: when you do hear from readers about errors, typos, etc., how do you react? Do these observations help you?

    Reply
  76. Thanks for such an interesting post.
    Yes, I find spelling and grammatical errors. But, I realize I have OCD and I simply cannot help myself. Yes, I saw the error in the page you have shared with us.
    I read early versions of books. So, if I see errors, I will notify the author as quickly as I can.
    With books that have already been published, I do not rub salt in any wounds I might find. That would just be ugly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  77. Thanks for such an interesting post.
    Yes, I find spelling and grammatical errors. But, I realize I have OCD and I simply cannot help myself. Yes, I saw the error in the page you have shared with us.
    I read early versions of books. So, if I see errors, I will notify the author as quickly as I can.
    With books that have already been published, I do not rub salt in any wounds I might find. That would just be ugly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  78. Thanks for such an interesting post.
    Yes, I find spelling and grammatical errors. But, I realize I have OCD and I simply cannot help myself. Yes, I saw the error in the page you have shared with us.
    I read early versions of books. So, if I see errors, I will notify the author as quickly as I can.
    With books that have already been published, I do not rub salt in any wounds I might find. That would just be ugly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  79. Thanks for such an interesting post.
    Yes, I find spelling and grammatical errors. But, I realize I have OCD and I simply cannot help myself. Yes, I saw the error in the page you have shared with us.
    I read early versions of books. So, if I see errors, I will notify the author as quickly as I can.
    With books that have already been published, I do not rub salt in any wounds I might find. That would just be ugly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  80. Thanks for such an interesting post.
    Yes, I find spelling and grammatical errors. But, I realize I have OCD and I simply cannot help myself. Yes, I saw the error in the page you have shared with us.
    I read early versions of books. So, if I see errors, I will notify the author as quickly as I can.
    With books that have already been published, I do not rub salt in any wounds I might find. That would just be ugly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  81. Wow, Anne, poked a pimple here you did! (That’s intended Klingon style, not a grammatical error, folks.) Both the missing comma and the missing question mark are debatable, but what I caught was, “There was nothing in the slightest bit serious about it.” I’d lose the “in”. (it.” -> American style, “in”. -> British style, btw, the latter because of the quoted quotation, ifyouseewhatImean.) Yes this is the kind of conversation I actually have with myself while reading Regencies. And I realize my opinion is also debatable. I know, I need to get a life. Or, I know I need to get a life. Aaargh!
    A lot can be discovered by reading out loud. Ideally, someone would read the whole manuscript out loud, finding a lot of iffy little things that are easily missed in a silent read. I realize time and money don’t always permit, but if a friend or writing buddy happens to be available …
    In the question mark instance, the speaker is being facetious and (read it aloud) would likely close his statement on a downward note, hence the period. Or he might be snarky and act like it’s a real question, with an upward twist. Either works, but I read it as written, so not an error.
    I would add the comma (again based on reading out loud), but I’m comma-happy for clarity’s sake. Lots of people seem to think commas and dashes are detritus. So be it. Then there are the ones who combine them, starting with a dash (or a single hyphen) and ending with a comma.
    Oh, stop. I’m a recovering grammar politza and I want to stay that way. This was fun, though!

    Reply
  82. Wow, Anne, poked a pimple here you did! (That’s intended Klingon style, not a grammatical error, folks.) Both the missing comma and the missing question mark are debatable, but what I caught was, “There was nothing in the slightest bit serious about it.” I’d lose the “in”. (it.” -> American style, “in”. -> British style, btw, the latter because of the quoted quotation, ifyouseewhatImean.) Yes this is the kind of conversation I actually have with myself while reading Regencies. And I realize my opinion is also debatable. I know, I need to get a life. Or, I know I need to get a life. Aaargh!
    A lot can be discovered by reading out loud. Ideally, someone would read the whole manuscript out loud, finding a lot of iffy little things that are easily missed in a silent read. I realize time and money don’t always permit, but if a friend or writing buddy happens to be available …
    In the question mark instance, the speaker is being facetious and (read it aloud) would likely close his statement on a downward note, hence the period. Or he might be snarky and act like it’s a real question, with an upward twist. Either works, but I read it as written, so not an error.
    I would add the comma (again based on reading out loud), but I’m comma-happy for clarity’s sake. Lots of people seem to think commas and dashes are detritus. So be it. Then there are the ones who combine them, starting with a dash (or a single hyphen) and ending with a comma.
    Oh, stop. I’m a recovering grammar politza and I want to stay that way. This was fun, though!

    Reply
  83. Wow, Anne, poked a pimple here you did! (That’s intended Klingon style, not a grammatical error, folks.) Both the missing comma and the missing question mark are debatable, but what I caught was, “There was nothing in the slightest bit serious about it.” I’d lose the “in”. (it.” -> American style, “in”. -> British style, btw, the latter because of the quoted quotation, ifyouseewhatImean.) Yes this is the kind of conversation I actually have with myself while reading Regencies. And I realize my opinion is also debatable. I know, I need to get a life. Or, I know I need to get a life. Aaargh!
    A lot can be discovered by reading out loud. Ideally, someone would read the whole manuscript out loud, finding a lot of iffy little things that are easily missed in a silent read. I realize time and money don’t always permit, but if a friend or writing buddy happens to be available …
    In the question mark instance, the speaker is being facetious and (read it aloud) would likely close his statement on a downward note, hence the period. Or he might be snarky and act like it’s a real question, with an upward twist. Either works, but I read it as written, so not an error.
    I would add the comma (again based on reading out loud), but I’m comma-happy for clarity’s sake. Lots of people seem to think commas and dashes are detritus. So be it. Then there are the ones who combine them, starting with a dash (or a single hyphen) and ending with a comma.
    Oh, stop. I’m a recovering grammar politza and I want to stay that way. This was fun, though!

    Reply
  84. Wow, Anne, poked a pimple here you did! (That’s intended Klingon style, not a grammatical error, folks.) Both the missing comma and the missing question mark are debatable, but what I caught was, “There was nothing in the slightest bit serious about it.” I’d lose the “in”. (it.” -> American style, “in”. -> British style, btw, the latter because of the quoted quotation, ifyouseewhatImean.) Yes this is the kind of conversation I actually have with myself while reading Regencies. And I realize my opinion is also debatable. I know, I need to get a life. Or, I know I need to get a life. Aaargh!
    A lot can be discovered by reading out loud. Ideally, someone would read the whole manuscript out loud, finding a lot of iffy little things that are easily missed in a silent read. I realize time and money don’t always permit, but if a friend or writing buddy happens to be available …
    In the question mark instance, the speaker is being facetious and (read it aloud) would likely close his statement on a downward note, hence the period. Or he might be snarky and act like it’s a real question, with an upward twist. Either works, but I read it as written, so not an error.
    I would add the comma (again based on reading out loud), but I’m comma-happy for clarity’s sake. Lots of people seem to think commas and dashes are detritus. So be it. Then there are the ones who combine them, starting with a dash (or a single hyphen) and ending with a comma.
    Oh, stop. I’m a recovering grammar politza and I want to stay that way. This was fun, though!

    Reply
  85. Wow, Anne, poked a pimple here you did! (That’s intended Klingon style, not a grammatical error, folks.) Both the missing comma and the missing question mark are debatable, but what I caught was, “There was nothing in the slightest bit serious about it.” I’d lose the “in”. (it.” -> American style, “in”. -> British style, btw, the latter because of the quoted quotation, ifyouseewhatImean.) Yes this is the kind of conversation I actually have with myself while reading Regencies. And I realize my opinion is also debatable. I know, I need to get a life. Or, I know I need to get a life. Aaargh!
    A lot can be discovered by reading out loud. Ideally, someone would read the whole manuscript out loud, finding a lot of iffy little things that are easily missed in a silent read. I realize time and money don’t always permit, but if a friend or writing buddy happens to be available …
    In the question mark instance, the speaker is being facetious and (read it aloud) would likely close his statement on a downward note, hence the period. Or he might be snarky and act like it’s a real question, with an upward twist. Either works, but I read it as written, so not an error.
    I would add the comma (again based on reading out loud), but I’m comma-happy for clarity’s sake. Lots of people seem to think commas and dashes are detritus. So be it. Then there are the ones who combine them, starting with a dash (or a single hyphen) and ending with a comma.
    Oh, stop. I’m a recovering grammar politza and I want to stay that way. This was fun, though!

    Reply
  86. Deb, my guess is that the e-books you read that are full of errors are by indie authors and have probably not been professionally copyedited. As I said, it’s all the author’s choice. Plenty of writers are great storytellers, but not good on grammar conventions and so on, but readers keep reading and buying them for the stories.
    As for your question about writing to the author and letting them know — that’s really up to you. If the mistake is in a traditionally published book, it can’t be corrected — it’s out of the author’s hands. If it’s an indie e-book, it can be corrected — if the author thinks the error is sufficiently bad to warrant going in and changing it. I had a lovely reader write to me and point out two small inconsistencies in my indie published Christmas Bride, but I hadn’t done the layout myself, and I decided the errors were so small it wasn’t worth the effort of changing it. But I was very grateful to the reader.
    I have been told by other readers in the past of errors I have made — one was a point of grammar I was unaware of. I grew up with grammar pedant parents — “You can leave the table but you may not”— so my spoken grammar is pretty good. But the formal teaching of grammar had been thrown out by the time I went through school, and I never picked up the finer points.
    As I said, I can’t change my already published books, but I don’t think I’ve made that particular error since that reader wrote to me. I, too, wonder about writing to a favorite author who regularly writes ‘John and I’ in sentences where it should be ‘John and me.’

    Reply
  87. Deb, my guess is that the e-books you read that are full of errors are by indie authors and have probably not been professionally copyedited. As I said, it’s all the author’s choice. Plenty of writers are great storytellers, but not good on grammar conventions and so on, but readers keep reading and buying them for the stories.
    As for your question about writing to the author and letting them know — that’s really up to you. If the mistake is in a traditionally published book, it can’t be corrected — it’s out of the author’s hands. If it’s an indie e-book, it can be corrected — if the author thinks the error is sufficiently bad to warrant going in and changing it. I had a lovely reader write to me and point out two small inconsistencies in my indie published Christmas Bride, but I hadn’t done the layout myself, and I decided the errors were so small it wasn’t worth the effort of changing it. But I was very grateful to the reader.
    I have been told by other readers in the past of errors I have made — one was a point of grammar I was unaware of. I grew up with grammar pedant parents — “You can leave the table but you may not”— so my spoken grammar is pretty good. But the formal teaching of grammar had been thrown out by the time I went through school, and I never picked up the finer points.
    As I said, I can’t change my already published books, but I don’t think I’ve made that particular error since that reader wrote to me. I, too, wonder about writing to a favorite author who regularly writes ‘John and I’ in sentences where it should be ‘John and me.’

    Reply
  88. Deb, my guess is that the e-books you read that are full of errors are by indie authors and have probably not been professionally copyedited. As I said, it’s all the author’s choice. Plenty of writers are great storytellers, but not good on grammar conventions and so on, but readers keep reading and buying them for the stories.
    As for your question about writing to the author and letting them know — that’s really up to you. If the mistake is in a traditionally published book, it can’t be corrected — it’s out of the author’s hands. If it’s an indie e-book, it can be corrected — if the author thinks the error is sufficiently bad to warrant going in and changing it. I had a lovely reader write to me and point out two small inconsistencies in my indie published Christmas Bride, but I hadn’t done the layout myself, and I decided the errors were so small it wasn’t worth the effort of changing it. But I was very grateful to the reader.
    I have been told by other readers in the past of errors I have made — one was a point of grammar I was unaware of. I grew up with grammar pedant parents — “You can leave the table but you may not”— so my spoken grammar is pretty good. But the formal teaching of grammar had been thrown out by the time I went through school, and I never picked up the finer points.
    As I said, I can’t change my already published books, but I don’t think I’ve made that particular error since that reader wrote to me. I, too, wonder about writing to a favorite author who regularly writes ‘John and I’ in sentences where it should be ‘John and me.’

    Reply
  89. Deb, my guess is that the e-books you read that are full of errors are by indie authors and have probably not been professionally copyedited. As I said, it’s all the author’s choice. Plenty of writers are great storytellers, but not good on grammar conventions and so on, but readers keep reading and buying them for the stories.
    As for your question about writing to the author and letting them know — that’s really up to you. If the mistake is in a traditionally published book, it can’t be corrected — it’s out of the author’s hands. If it’s an indie e-book, it can be corrected — if the author thinks the error is sufficiently bad to warrant going in and changing it. I had a lovely reader write to me and point out two small inconsistencies in my indie published Christmas Bride, but I hadn’t done the layout myself, and I decided the errors were so small it wasn’t worth the effort of changing it. But I was very grateful to the reader.
    I have been told by other readers in the past of errors I have made — one was a point of grammar I was unaware of. I grew up with grammar pedant parents — “You can leave the table but you may not”— so my spoken grammar is pretty good. But the formal teaching of grammar had been thrown out by the time I went through school, and I never picked up the finer points.
    As I said, I can’t change my already published books, but I don’t think I’ve made that particular error since that reader wrote to me. I, too, wonder about writing to a favorite author who regularly writes ‘John and I’ in sentences where it should be ‘John and me.’

    Reply
  90. Deb, my guess is that the e-books you read that are full of errors are by indie authors and have probably not been professionally copyedited. As I said, it’s all the author’s choice. Plenty of writers are great storytellers, but not good on grammar conventions and so on, but readers keep reading and buying them for the stories.
    As for your question about writing to the author and letting them know — that’s really up to you. If the mistake is in a traditionally published book, it can’t be corrected — it’s out of the author’s hands. If it’s an indie e-book, it can be corrected — if the author thinks the error is sufficiently bad to warrant going in and changing it. I had a lovely reader write to me and point out two small inconsistencies in my indie published Christmas Bride, but I hadn’t done the layout myself, and I decided the errors were so small it wasn’t worth the effort of changing it. But I was very grateful to the reader.
    I have been told by other readers in the past of errors I have made — one was a point of grammar I was unaware of. I grew up with grammar pedant parents — “You can leave the table but you may not”— so my spoken grammar is pretty good. But the formal teaching of grammar had been thrown out by the time I went through school, and I never picked up the finer points.
    As I said, I can’t change my already published books, but I don’t think I’ve made that particular error since that reader wrote to me. I, too, wonder about writing to a favorite author who regularly writes ‘John and I’ in sentences where it should be ‘John and me.’

    Reply
  91. Thanks, Annette. Yes, it’s good to pick up errors in pre-published manuscripts, but as I said, often it’s only Indie authors who can easily correct them.
    And very nice of you not to rub salt in the wounds when it’s too late! *g*

    Reply
  92. Thanks, Annette. Yes, it’s good to pick up errors in pre-published manuscripts, but as I said, often it’s only Indie authors who can easily correct them.
    And very nice of you not to rub salt in the wounds when it’s too late! *g*

    Reply
  93. Thanks, Annette. Yes, it’s good to pick up errors in pre-published manuscripts, but as I said, often it’s only Indie authors who can easily correct them.
    And very nice of you not to rub salt in the wounds when it’s too late! *g*

    Reply
  94. Thanks, Annette. Yes, it’s good to pick up errors in pre-published manuscripts, but as I said, often it’s only Indie authors who can easily correct them.
    And very nice of you not to rub salt in the wounds when it’s too late! *g*

    Reply
  95. Thanks, Annette. Yes, it’s good to pick up errors in pre-published manuscripts, but as I said, often it’s only Indie authors who can easily correct them.
    And very nice of you not to rub salt in the wounds when it’s too late! *g*

    Reply
  96. Thanks, Mary M, and I love your discussion of the finer points of grammar and expression. Your examples are the sort of thing authors debate internally all the time.
    Your example of the difference between American English and British English is one that I often come up against. For me, British English conventions and expressions always come up trumps, because my characters are English. So often a copy-editor will suggest a change and I’ll nix it. But in any case, I’m Australian, and as you say, it’s all debatable.
    Re the question mark, I originally left it off because it was a snarky rhetorical question, and in some schools of thought they don’t need question marks, but then in the proofs, I decided to put it back in.
    The same thing goes with commas. I’m a bit comma-happy, too — and dash-happy — but in more modern conventions they’re regarded as unnecessary. So I put ’em in and take ’em out. It’s not quite like Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” That’s a wee bit pretentious, but all the same, there’s truth in it.
    As for reading a manuscript out loud, I do agree with you. I generally have my computer read scenes aloud once I’ve written them. ( I write a scenes first, then when I’m reasonably satisfied, I paste it into the main document.) But then I might change those scenes later, once they’re in the manuscript, and I’m too impatient to have the computer read a whole novel aloud.

    Reply
  97. Thanks, Mary M, and I love your discussion of the finer points of grammar and expression. Your examples are the sort of thing authors debate internally all the time.
    Your example of the difference between American English and British English is one that I often come up against. For me, British English conventions and expressions always come up trumps, because my characters are English. So often a copy-editor will suggest a change and I’ll nix it. But in any case, I’m Australian, and as you say, it’s all debatable.
    Re the question mark, I originally left it off because it was a snarky rhetorical question, and in some schools of thought they don’t need question marks, but then in the proofs, I decided to put it back in.
    The same thing goes with commas. I’m a bit comma-happy, too — and dash-happy — but in more modern conventions they’re regarded as unnecessary. So I put ’em in and take ’em out. It’s not quite like Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” That’s a wee bit pretentious, but all the same, there’s truth in it.
    As for reading a manuscript out loud, I do agree with you. I generally have my computer read scenes aloud once I’ve written them. ( I write a scenes first, then when I’m reasonably satisfied, I paste it into the main document.) But then I might change those scenes later, once they’re in the manuscript, and I’m too impatient to have the computer read a whole novel aloud.

    Reply
  98. Thanks, Mary M, and I love your discussion of the finer points of grammar and expression. Your examples are the sort of thing authors debate internally all the time.
    Your example of the difference between American English and British English is one that I often come up against. For me, British English conventions and expressions always come up trumps, because my characters are English. So often a copy-editor will suggest a change and I’ll nix it. But in any case, I’m Australian, and as you say, it’s all debatable.
    Re the question mark, I originally left it off because it was a snarky rhetorical question, and in some schools of thought they don’t need question marks, but then in the proofs, I decided to put it back in.
    The same thing goes with commas. I’m a bit comma-happy, too — and dash-happy — but in more modern conventions they’re regarded as unnecessary. So I put ’em in and take ’em out. It’s not quite like Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” That’s a wee bit pretentious, but all the same, there’s truth in it.
    As for reading a manuscript out loud, I do agree with you. I generally have my computer read scenes aloud once I’ve written them. ( I write a scenes first, then when I’m reasonably satisfied, I paste it into the main document.) But then I might change those scenes later, once they’re in the manuscript, and I’m too impatient to have the computer read a whole novel aloud.

    Reply
  99. Thanks, Mary M, and I love your discussion of the finer points of grammar and expression. Your examples are the sort of thing authors debate internally all the time.
    Your example of the difference between American English and British English is one that I often come up against. For me, British English conventions and expressions always come up trumps, because my characters are English. So often a copy-editor will suggest a change and I’ll nix it. But in any case, I’m Australian, and as you say, it’s all debatable.
    Re the question mark, I originally left it off because it was a snarky rhetorical question, and in some schools of thought they don’t need question marks, but then in the proofs, I decided to put it back in.
    The same thing goes with commas. I’m a bit comma-happy, too — and dash-happy — but in more modern conventions they’re regarded as unnecessary. So I put ’em in and take ’em out. It’s not quite like Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” That’s a wee bit pretentious, but all the same, there’s truth in it.
    As for reading a manuscript out loud, I do agree with you. I generally have my computer read scenes aloud once I’ve written them. ( I write a scenes first, then when I’m reasonably satisfied, I paste it into the main document.) But then I might change those scenes later, once they’re in the manuscript, and I’m too impatient to have the computer read a whole novel aloud.

    Reply
  100. Thanks, Mary M, and I love your discussion of the finer points of grammar and expression. Your examples are the sort of thing authors debate internally all the time.
    Your example of the difference between American English and British English is one that I often come up against. For me, British English conventions and expressions always come up trumps, because my characters are English. So often a copy-editor will suggest a change and I’ll nix it. But in any case, I’m Australian, and as you say, it’s all debatable.
    Re the question mark, I originally left it off because it was a snarky rhetorical question, and in some schools of thought they don’t need question marks, but then in the proofs, I decided to put it back in.
    The same thing goes with commas. I’m a bit comma-happy, too — and dash-happy — but in more modern conventions they’re regarded as unnecessary. So I put ’em in and take ’em out. It’s not quite like Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” That’s a wee bit pretentious, but all the same, there’s truth in it.
    As for reading a manuscript out loud, I do agree with you. I generally have my computer read scenes aloud once I’ve written them. ( I write a scenes first, then when I’m reasonably satisfied, I paste it into the main document.) But then I might change those scenes later, once they’re in the manuscript, and I’m too impatient to have the computer read a whole novel aloud.

    Reply
  101. I so enjoyed these two editing posts. I am a slow reader and hear the words in my head as I go. This causes me to catch errors. When I come across an error, I stop and have to re-read and figure out if I just misheard myself or something is wrong. As mentioned by another (above) that e-books seem to have more mistakes which I have also noticed.
    I also had wondered if an author would want to know of the little mistakes. Thanks for answering that above. I did read one author’s complaint that when the publisher of an e-book was notified of a minor and incorrect mistake, the book was put on hold even after release.
    Thank you for going into the editing process as now I understand the various stages and can appreciate all the work that goes into the books I read.

    Reply
  102. I so enjoyed these two editing posts. I am a slow reader and hear the words in my head as I go. This causes me to catch errors. When I come across an error, I stop and have to re-read and figure out if I just misheard myself or something is wrong. As mentioned by another (above) that e-books seem to have more mistakes which I have also noticed.
    I also had wondered if an author would want to know of the little mistakes. Thanks for answering that above. I did read one author’s complaint that when the publisher of an e-book was notified of a minor and incorrect mistake, the book was put on hold even after release.
    Thank you for going into the editing process as now I understand the various stages and can appreciate all the work that goes into the books I read.

    Reply
  103. I so enjoyed these two editing posts. I am a slow reader and hear the words in my head as I go. This causes me to catch errors. When I come across an error, I stop and have to re-read and figure out if I just misheard myself or something is wrong. As mentioned by another (above) that e-books seem to have more mistakes which I have also noticed.
    I also had wondered if an author would want to know of the little mistakes. Thanks for answering that above. I did read one author’s complaint that when the publisher of an e-book was notified of a minor and incorrect mistake, the book was put on hold even after release.
    Thank you for going into the editing process as now I understand the various stages and can appreciate all the work that goes into the books I read.

    Reply
  104. I so enjoyed these two editing posts. I am a slow reader and hear the words in my head as I go. This causes me to catch errors. When I come across an error, I stop and have to re-read and figure out if I just misheard myself or something is wrong. As mentioned by another (above) that e-books seem to have more mistakes which I have also noticed.
    I also had wondered if an author would want to know of the little mistakes. Thanks for answering that above. I did read one author’s complaint that when the publisher of an e-book was notified of a minor and incorrect mistake, the book was put on hold even after release.
    Thank you for going into the editing process as now I understand the various stages and can appreciate all the work that goes into the books I read.

    Reply
  105. I so enjoyed these two editing posts. I am a slow reader and hear the words in my head as I go. This causes me to catch errors. When I come across an error, I stop and have to re-read and figure out if I just misheard myself or something is wrong. As mentioned by another (above) that e-books seem to have more mistakes which I have also noticed.
    I also had wondered if an author would want to know of the little mistakes. Thanks for answering that above. I did read one author’s complaint that when the publisher of an e-book was notified of a minor and incorrect mistake, the book was put on hold even after release.
    Thank you for going into the editing process as now I understand the various stages and can appreciate all the work that goes into the books I read.

    Reply
  106. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Margot. I should say, not all authors would appreciate getting told about their errors, but if you do want to, please contact the author directly instead of reporting the errors to amazon or some publisher. That way you leave the correction in the author’s hands.

    Reply
  107. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Margot. I should say, not all authors would appreciate getting told about their errors, but if you do want to, please contact the author directly instead of reporting the errors to amazon or some publisher. That way you leave the correction in the author’s hands.

    Reply
  108. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Margot. I should say, not all authors would appreciate getting told about their errors, but if you do want to, please contact the author directly instead of reporting the errors to amazon or some publisher. That way you leave the correction in the author’s hands.

    Reply
  109. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Margot. I should say, not all authors would appreciate getting told about their errors, but if you do want to, please contact the author directly instead of reporting the errors to amazon or some publisher. That way you leave the correction in the author’s hands.

    Reply
  110. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Margot. I should say, not all authors would appreciate getting told about their errors, but if you do want to, please contact the author directly instead of reporting the errors to amazon or some publisher. That way you leave the correction in the author’s hands.

    Reply

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