I’ve read quite number of self-published books—books with genuine merit—over the past year or so, and have been appalled by how poorly most of them are edited. And each one, without exception, has listed the name of the editor in question. I’ve run across misspelled words, misused words, malapropisms, misplaced apostrophes, and loads of typos.
I confess that, being a bit of a grammar/spelling/punctuation Nazi, this kind of thing kind of freaks me out.
It’s one thing to say “Her and me went out,” if it’s in an actual conversation, but as part of the narrative…no, no, no. I can remember the days when you never found even the tiniest error in a printed book, but those days are long gone, I’m sorry to say.
And who are these editors? If the authors themselves were doing the editing it would be bad enough, but when the job is done by a person who actually calls him/herself an editor and then lets a string of egregious errors slip by? OK, I know how hard it is to edit and proofread—I’ve been doing it for years. And I can’t say I’ve never overlooked something, but from what I’ve seen of the books I’ve read lately, the overall editing of self-published books looks pretty dismal.
I would think that if you’ve written a book of your own, you’d want it to be perfect—or at least as perfect as possible. Wouldn’t you go through it with a fine-toothed comb several times to make sure everything was exactly the way you wanted it? Or maybe I’m kidding myself and neither the authors nor the writers has sufficient knowledge of spelling, punctuation, and grammar to get it right?
I just want to make it clear that I’m not in favor of perfect texts just for the sake of being perfect, with no thought to cultural context, etc. I like conversational writing—in fact, you may have noticed that I’m a conversational writer myself. We can take certain liberties. We don’t have to write in a strait jacket (and please stop spelling it “straight!”), but we do have to write intelligently and not let mistakes slip by that we should have learned in grammar school.
OK, sorry for the grumpy rant—I think I’ve been holding it in for too long!