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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.
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 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 05:21 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.
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