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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Tiny rant 
30th-Jun-2009 12:16 pm
Boondock/can't believe
I can't remember the last book I read that had more than a few consecutive pages without typos.

This vexes me. It vexes me very much. Because when I purchase a book, I expect it to be a professional product. I expect it to have been proofread and edited. I find lack of proofreading as unacceptable as, hell, substandard glue in the binding; a book with typo after typo is as unreadable to me as one with its pages falling out.

Just plain unprofessional.


And look, I want to support the publishing industry. If only because I'd like it to still be around when I get around to finishing and submitting *my* books. Right?

But publishers, please - why should I pay you if you're not doing your job?

And keep in mind that I want to pay you. For serious. But just like I'd be annoyed if I bought a necklace and had it come apart in my hands, I get annoyed when I buy a book and find that it's chock full of typos, continuity errors.... one book I read recently changed a character's name three times and had the clear editorial note [name of the ship] in one place instead of the name of the ship. I kid you not.




EDIT: And yes, I would probably be less tinyfistsofrage if I felt healthy, but I don't. So. This never fails to annoy me, mind.
30th-Jun-2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
"one book I read recently changed a character's name three times and had the clear editorial note [name of the ship] in one place instead of the name of the ship. I kid you not."

Small pressor lagre? Just curious. NOT that larger presses have been great about typos recently but the more horrific errors seem to be from smaller presses that simply don't want to spend the money on proofers.
30th-Jun-2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
*handwave* Medium press. Big enough that they should be hiring proofreaders.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Jun-2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Irks me to no end, too. I edited for Law Review and for a professor while in law school, so I tend to read with an eye for that stuff. It distracts me from the story, and makes me unwilling to suspend disbelief. There's no excuse for sloppy work like that.
30th-Jun-2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with this, and I've seen it in Big Name books by major publishers as well. I've been known to insert corrections with a black ink pen.
30th-Jun-2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Heh, I don't even allow DRAFTS to go out with typos.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Jun-2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
If you want to read it...library.
30th-Jun-2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
You're welcome to borrow my copy. I need to hook up with your wife, anywho.
30th-Jun-2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
what have I lost track of now...saffron?
30th-Jun-2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I generally ignore typos in books, because a lot of what I read is galleys - either for PW or because friends at publishing houses get them for me. I've had to train myself not to notice or I'd go nuts.

Besides, I do enough of that at work. As long as whatever I edit looks good, the rest of the world no longer matters. (One of our books actually went to publication with a web address that had clearly been typed out with the author's hands on the wrong keys. Thank god I don't work on the print products and didn't have to answer for that.)
30th-Jun-2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
I get ARCs sometimes, and I do my best to overlook it in them. It's when I've paid full price for something and gotten this sort of mess that I get all growly.

(I *wish* I could train myself to not notice...)
30th-Jun-2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
We try very hard to avoid that sort of problem at VN because it drives me mad too.
30th-Jun-2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
That last example is just surreal.

About actual proofreading . . . oh, I agree. But I keep having to remind myself that the general standard of spelling--and acceptance of stupid spellchecker substitutions--is now so low that very few people even notice. I fought a brave losing battle for many years as a freshman comp teacher, trying to get my students to realize how errors of spelling (and basic grammar) make them look bad.

But I am told book publishers don't even have proofreaders any more. Newspapers certainly don't. Quite apart from the evidence, I've looked into doing it a few times, and it just isn't something publishers want. So assume you're seeing the output from the author's spellchecker, or even the publisher's spellchecker.

30th-Jun-2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Argh - I'm in total agreement with you - typos and grammar errors in published books really bug me.
30th-Jun-2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
As a former/ex-editor, it vexes me to no end when I see typos as well. I understand how editors feel, when they have got through multiple drafts... but that's no excuse for slipshod work.

Edited at 2009-06-30 05:03 pm (UTC)
30th-Jun-2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
I think copyeditors are overworked and underpaid. I have found many, many things they over looked, even after multiple passes. I often feel like I should hire a freelance one of my own.
30th-Jun-2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
30th-Jun-2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
I will keep that in mind for the next mss!
30th-Jun-2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
*also volunteers*
30th-Jun-2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Rock! I feel better about the next book already!

Seriously, there was a typo in the first sentence of Palimpsest all the way through the ARC. In the end, I caught it.

Oh! And keep in mind a lot of typos come from an intern typing in handwritten changes. Because they insist on handwritten changes past a certain point.
1st-Jul-2009 12:10 am (UTC)
*further volunteers*
1st-Jul-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
*also thinks if they insist on handwritten changes, they need people to block print, like I do when I want to make 100% sure anyone can read it*
1st-Jul-2009 12:17 am (UTC)
Wow, you guys, thanks!
1st-Jul-2009 12:52 am (UTC)

It's your book that you teased us with at Wiscon, early. And I'm about to have unfettered online access to OED again, for all those words you use that I don't know. *rubs hands in glee* That's like you saying "I have too much cake. Whatever will I do with it? Who will help me eat this cake?"

I will always help you eat your cake, and I will proof anything you set in front of me.
30th-Jun-2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Also volunteers
30th-Jun-2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
I ruined my career over a typo.

Well, over two hundred=plus typos. This was way back in the '90s, a book that they had promised to promote with a cheap price-point and advertising and the whole nine yards. Aaaand there had been a take-over which meant that they no longer typeset from my disks, they had to use a rekeying agency; and so there were all these errors at proof stage, which I diligently corrected, and the editorial assistant whose job it was to integrate my corrections with the professional proofreader's just didn't bother, she filed my set and sent the professional's to the printer as was; and the pro was crap, and so the book was printed with all these errors. And I screamed blue murder until they agreed to pulp the run and reprint - with the new print-run a third of the old, and the price hiked, and no advertising, and...

Like that. The book barely sold copy one, and there went my brilliant career.

But I was still right, damn it. I don't (often) regret it.
30th-Jun-2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'm not sick and it annoys me, too. More than annoys. Totally irritates. Keep on keeping on, 'song!
30th-Jun-2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Strangely enough, I have this odd habit. I look for a typo in a book. I have never not found one. i don't look for more than one but I am oddly excited until I do find it and then it is AHA! I then enjoy the story better. :)

I know, I am weird.
30th-Jun-2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
What books are these? Because I want to hit them up and see if they need proofreaders. :P
30th-Jun-2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
I'm sure they NEED proofreaders like you and me, but I'm not sure they're willing to PAY or can AFFORD proofreeaders like you and me.
30th-Jun-2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Incorrect, easily checkable facts in non-fiction books bother me more. A recent example.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Jun-2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
I've actually come to accept this in my White Wolf RPG books. It's just standard fare, it seems.
30th-Jun-2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
I'm still livid, years later, at the Keith Hartman novel that Meisha Merlin not only failed to copyedit, but actually let hit the market with things like font changes and formatting errors still intact. It pretty much stopped me from buying anything published by them, as it was clear that they didn't value the books (so why should I?).
30th-Jun-2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear!
30th-Jun-2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Also Also Annoyed at such things.

Really gets to me with advertisments, too. I've come to call them "Badvertisements."
30th-Jun-2009 08:41 pm (UTC) - Uh, that's not their job
Their job is to publish and sell books. Typos and the like don't affect sales. Copyeditors cost money and slow down the publication process.

You do the math.
30th-Jun-2009 10:33 pm (UTC) - Re: Uh, that's not their job
Only to a point. Eventually, if the name of a publisher becomes synonymous with, "shoddy editing that makes the book unreadable," the typos do hurt the sales (of the future books, if not the current ones).
1st-Jul-2009 12:20 am (UTC) - Re: Uh, that's not their job
As someone who cares about language and its use I'd like to think that was the case. But generally if people remember anything they remember the author, not the publisher. And having BEEN a copyeditor I know how little control most authors have over how their books get edited.
30th-Jun-2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
I used to email publishers whenever I'd find an error in a final, published book (fact-checking [Dana Stabenow], continuity [Jeffrey Deaver], etc.). :)
30th-Jun-2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
Yesssssss. The former editor in me gets tripped up every time there's an error in something I'm reading. It is so difficult to keep your flow and imagination going when you're mental correcting something every third page.
30th-Jun-2009 10:07 pm (UTC)

problem is, 'editor' is now a position that has more in common with 'nanny' or 'marketing specialist' than it does with actually editing books for spelling/grammar/continuity.
30th-Jun-2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
*shares entirely in your vexation*
1st-Jul-2009 12:46 am (UTC)
I hate this too, and all the more when I'm sick. I want to take a red pen to some of those books.

Have you read Jo Walton's Lifelode, by any chance? It's the Boskone 46 GoH book, and I'm saving it for the next time I get sick. The book looks lovely, feels lovely, and as far as I can tell it's too small and careful a publication for typos. And the story sounds both yummy and unusual.

1st-Jul-2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
I haven't read this one, but in my experience, the NESFA/Boskone books are all treated with an incredible amount of care, so I'd expect this one to be lovely, too.
1st-Jul-2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
Gah. Yes, this! To the point that sometimes I have pen in hand as I read, because if I don't correct the multiple, horrible errors, I cannot enjoy the story at that moment.

Mostly, I mentally correct and move on, but that takes me out of the story for however long it takes to figure out what the bloody thing is supposed to say. Getting back into story can sometimes take quite a bit.

Stupid lack of real editing. *kicks publishers & their anxiety to publishpublishpublish for moneymoneymoney regardless of quality*
2nd-Jul-2009 05:23 am (UTC)
I am so so so annoyed by that stuff, too. In the last couple years I've also noticed massive typos, all over the place, on professional websites (like sites for CNN, the New York Times, etc.) and on TV news crawlers (again CNN, and NBC, and some of the others). It seems so simple to me to find and correct them. I wish I could contact them and get them to hire me to fix these things before they get shown to the public.
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