Skip to main content

Editing. How important is it? #AmWriting #Blog

Publication Date: July 18, 2007
Date I downloaded: August 20, 2011

Let me start by saying, I loved Twilight. It was original, sweet, romantic, and a tad bit suspenseful. But I was surprised to see that a book that had been out for four years when I downloaded it still had an error in the first chapter.

Now, I normally won’t point out an error, as they don’t bother me too much and I never want to injure an author, but I don’t feel it’s possible to hurt Stephenie Meyer, so I’m going to point out this error, just so readers know I’m not making this up. J

The room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since I was born.

Unlike Indie books, which may not even have one editor other than the author, books like Twilight have three or more, if not ten, editors and proofreaders, so it always surprises me how often I find errors in mainstream books.

But the error is not what bothers me. As I said, I don’t care that an error slipped by the grammar authoritarians; it bothers me that it’s still there. Yes, I just checked. Six years later, the error is still there.

When I published my first book, a few errors slipped by that I didn’t realize were there until readers downloaded thirty thousand copies via a promotion.

I’ve since learned that errors happen! If you’ve ever used ‘track changes’, you’ll know this. Soit’s imperative to do a final proofread AFTER the book is available on Amazon, preferably before you announce it to the world. Not only will you catch tiny errors, you’ll catch formatting errors.

BUThere’s the important thing, I believe. I went back and fixed the errors. Yep, I feel that even though I offer my first romantic-suspense bestseller at a fraction of the price of other published books, usually more than fifty percent less than most big publishers' price of $8 to $14.99, I owe the reader the best experience they can get. After all, the reader isn’t just investing their money; they are investing TIME. And time is far more precious than a few bucks.

It seems that reviewers nick Indie authors more than mainstream books, even for small mistakes. I attribute this to the fact that many Indie authors themselves make up a large portion of the reading base of Indie books. I know I’m on that list. I read at least one Indie book for every mainstream book. One, because they are less expensive to feed my reading habit. Two, because I want to support my own. 

So readers and avid-reading authors, what say you?

Are a few errors in a hundred-thousand-word novel enough to make you give a one-star review? At what point does a book slide into the unreadable zone, deserving of a one-star review?

Or, do you care more about content and character development, thrive in figuring out whodunit or what happened, crave the suspense that keeps you biting your nails?

And, authors, do you re-upload a book if you hear about an error more than once?

As always, happy reading and writing!


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer.  If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book just for stopping by.

If it isn’t available free in your area, use…

Image credit: sonechka / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. I, for one, am appalled when I read my own writing (whether it's a blog post, an article, an email or a novel) and there's an error. And when I read a published book - indie or traditional - I'm even more appalled. I think indie authors owe it to themselves and the public to be even more diligent to raise the status of indie publishing.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Samantha. Even though I may be a bit biased being a copy editor, I strongly feel that taking pride in your work means doing all you can to make sure it is as error-free as possible. I am an avid reader and stumbling over errors not only yanks me out of the story, it lowers my respect for the writer and makes me hesitate to try more of their work.

    2. Thank you, Samantha. I'm glad to see that there are authors who are just as convicted as I am about having the best possible product out there. If I know there is an error, there is no way I could let it stay out there.

      One of the reason I self-pubbed my last book was so I could have complete control in my new series.

      However, I read a book from start to finish the other night by a NYT bestselling author, and yes, there was an error. I highlighted it, hoping she is one of the authors who cares and will check what her readers are highlighting, but I doubt it. Sadly, I do believe--even though we don't have as many resources--that Indie authors try harder.

      I'm glad to hear that you take pride in your work too. I'll make sure I check out your books tomorrow. :)

    3. Thank you, Josephine. And I agree; I do want to read a novel free from annoying errors.

      But...what's your cutt off? At what point do you throw in the towel? If I can get through a chapter without stumbling, I'm usually okay.

      But...I've seen reviews where readers gave a book a one-star review after reading only the first page because they didn't like 'how' the author wrote the scene. Of course, we all know that there are just as many false one-star reviews floating around as there are five-star reviews.

      Personally, I cannot fault an Indie author as easily as I can fault a NYT bestseller, but sadly, I don't believe that's the case with most reviewers.

      I also promote books, and I only promote 4+ rated books, so I have to read many reviews. I'm amazed at some of the trivial comments I read. Especially when it comes to Amazon errors, not the authors.

      Thank you for stopping by. If you have a moment, just because I know many Indie authors will read this, please give us your insight, and a link to your editing site is more than welcome.


  2. I find that I'm a lot more forgiving of other people's errors than my own. I've read a lot of books, professionally published ones that must have passed through several editors, that have grammar and spelling errors.

    I can deal with a strangely worded sentence, but if I think a paragraph is missing or I can tell where a cross edit happened, I put the book down. A couple typos are fine, but if they are happening all the time then I will put the book down.

    This applies to self published books, too. Oddly, I've been running into this more with the traditionally published stuff lately.

    1. Thank you, Lyle. I feel the same way, and as Josephine wrote above, if it yanks me out of the story, I'm more inclined to move to another book. Forgetting a comma with a direct address is the one I see constantly, and it drives me crazy. If there is only a couple, I don't mind. But if I see it is a writing style, I can't accept it. Isn't that one of the first rules they teach us. And who can ever forget the meme "Let's eat Grandma." Yikes! Commas save lives. :)

  3. Carmen, this was such a helpful article. I've noticed that you never preach when giving helpful hints and this is so refreshing. I just had the novel that I'm working on edited, and right now, I need to make the suggested changes. I intend to self publish and think this would make a great interview to do. I would love to interview you on your thoughts about traditional vs. self-publishing.

    1. Thank you, Marie, for seeing through my clever disguise. LOL! I know my title implies that editing may not be important, but that's just to get people to look. :) However, I sill believe some readers are entirely too harsh on Indie writers who don't have a team at their behest.

      Yes, I may let a simple error go in my novel if it's not glaring, but if several readers came to me and complained, I'd fix it. I've always edited my own novels, but I'd like to think I've done my homework well and am able to produce a readable novel. I do, however, always recommend a proofreader, as it is near impossible to spot all your own snafus.

      Absolutely, I'll do an interview with you. Just let me know when.


    2. I'm working on three interviews right now and heading on a week long ghost investigation, but when I return, I'll you the questions. You're the best!!

  4. Hi Carmen,
    If I keep stumbling over errors (spelling, grammar, punctuation) in the same chapter, it is unlikely I will make it through the end of the book. However, I have come across some really great writers that have kept me hooked despite the errors. It pains me to see such potential so poorly shown. Makes me want to offer my services for free (almost)! It really depends on the plot. I rarely give one-star reviews just for a poorly-edited book. I do take away at least one star for editing.

    Here's my website for more information about me and my editing services:

    1. Wonderful! That's pretty much what I do. Unfortunately, I don't help future readers, as I just can't bring myself to finish a book with too many errors. My TBR list is literally three-years long, and I find 'must reads' to add to it daily. I confess that I've really come to appreciate Audible, as it's allowed me to add almost a book a week. Although, it is difficult to attest to proper grammar when listening, so I always swap back and forth between Audible and Kindle so I can write a review.

      Thank you for adding your link. I hope you'll pick up a few authors via this post. :)

    2. I will have to look into Audible; I've been hesitating to do so, because I've had disappointing voices ruin the book for me in the past. Maybe I'll try again...My TBR list is growing faster than I can ever hope to read.

      Thanks for letting me post my editing site link. :)

  5. Personally I'm less concerned with errors like these-which are obvious mistakes, and more with the use of incorrect words that sound similar (I.e. the wrong there/theyre/their, affect instead of effect, etc). Those errors seem more like someone who doesn't know what they're doing. I know we're all guilty of those too, but if a book is peppered with them, well... It doesn't bode well. And it throws me out of the read.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"As in any fairytale, everything good must come to an end." ENTANGLED DREAMS:

Now, if you’ve read any of my novels or excerpts, you know I don’t do happy-go-lucky beginnings; and as in any fairytale, a little rain must fall, or in the case of my stories, I prefer a monsoon. This week’s excerpt: But alas, as in any good fairytale, everything good and wonderful must come to an end. After the tragic accident that snatched her mother away from Alexandra, her father moved them away from the beaches of Destin to another beach in Florida. Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach was loud, the water murky, and there were no weekend adventures as there had been in Destin. Her father married her evil stepmother, Lilith, who Alexandra was certain was a witch with her long, black as midnight hair and pale-white skin as if she’d never seen sunlight. Her father had admitted he wasn’t in love with Cruella, as she had come to think of the witchy woman, but that he’d wanted Alexandra to have a mother and siblings. Well, she definitely got that. The k

To prologue or not to prologue, that is the question. Readers, please weigh in!

Personally, I love prologues. They get you right into the action whether it was in the past or something exciting that is to come. But that’s exactly why most agents’ blogs I’ve read say not to use them. Paraphrasing…“If you need a prologue, then your story must not be strong enough…” Hmm … well, I like them, and I use them. But I’m curious what readers think, and I’d love you to weigh in. AND, if you have some great examples, please leave the title in the comment section. Now … here’s what I’ve noticed. Plenty of bestselling books have used them, even though they aren’t always called prologues . Same diff in my opinion. My biggest example is ‘Twilight’. If that little blurb wasn’t in the beginning, I don’t think I would have made it through the first chapter. How about movies? I don’t watch a lot. But I’ve started to notice how many have “prologues”. I also don’t have cable, but I have NetFlix, and hubby has just started watching ‘Breaking Bad’. Okay … I

The rule of thirds: No matter what you do, someone will hate you. Get over it and Write On!

No matter what you do in life, a third of the people will love you, a third will hate you, and the rest will be indifferent. Get over it and Write On! Yes, I'm talking to myself. If you're listening, GREAT! It's good advice! Is it easy advice? Heck No! For some reason, even though that percentage is rather low on my books--the percentage of people who hate my books runs about 4.6%--it still hurts.  Note: I only averaged the 'firsts' in my books, the books I actively promote. Because if I go to the second, third, and fourth books in my series, those numbers drop drastically. Obviously, if readers don't like my first book, they don't go on to the rest of my books in a series, so those books receive little to zero one-star reviews. So...if the number of one-star reviews we receive is less than five percent--Thank God ALL of the 33 1/3% of the haters don't write reviews--why do we get so depressed when we receive a one-star review