Good Books with Bad Editors

“The gallant hero prepared to mount his house,” Wait, what? House? Oh, his horse. It should say horse.

And just like that, the spell is broken and you are dropped out of the world you imagined so vividly up until that point. Cruel reality greets you and it will take some time to escape once again.

If you’re lucky, you will find this experience rare and the book so captivating that when it does happen, you can quickly slip back into place as if you had never left. The fact is, typos happen. We’re all human, mistakes escape us no matter how carefully we search them out. As a writer, you can miss the most obvious typos until someone else points them out. That is why there are four different kind of editors meant to catch those mistakes.

As a reader, it is incredibly frustrating to find a typo in a book you are enjoying. It means precious time going back and making sure you understand what’s going on before continuing. This is by no means the author’s fault. This comes down to the team of editors employed to make sure it doesn’t happen. When a typo is found, several things happen to you as you read. First, you’re annoyed by the interruption. You might then make note of the publisher and avoid works they release in the future. If the problem persists, you may take it out on the author, even if they move to a different publisher altogether. The author is then punished for what is out of their control.

There are times, however, when the author is also at fault. Not all publishers have the staff to support the many different kinds of editing that goes into a manuscript before it is released to the public. The author is just as responsible, if not more so, for basic editing (punctuation, grammar, and sense). When these elements go without correction, the book is unreadable. Somehow, it is still released and the book’s sales suffer.

I was once asked to review an eBook by an author. The premise sounded interesting so I agreed with thanks. Unfortunately, this eBook was released without editing. No punctuation, barely any structure, and very little sense was to be had while reading this book. I had to decline. No one deserved all of the horrible things I would say in association with the title. Luckily, the author understood my stance and promised that she had acquired an editor that would help her clean up the book and republish it. I eagerly await the day when I can post an honest review of this title free of the eyesore mistakes made in the original publication.

Sometimes these mistakes can be fascinating, changing the meaning of a sentence or sharpening our awareness of what we read. Some of the best/worst typos I’ve ever heard of were covered by Huffington Post about a year ago. Click here to see what I mean. If you have a strange fascination with typos, you may want to check out Book Typos.


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