Recently I excitedly purchased the third book in a series I was enjoying. It cost twice the first and second book, but I figured, why not? I started in, anxious to see what would happen next and found a typo. I know that sometimes that happens, so I “Reported Content Error” on my Kindle and continued. Then there was another error. Hmm. After the fourth error on the same page, I stopped editing. I wasn’t enjoying the book. The errors were not just small things, but missing text, incorrect words, limp biscuit punctuation and so on. It was like it was transcribed from a muffled recording.
That got me thinking. Perhaps the author did use a voice to text program. I’ve seen programs like Dragon Speech Recognition Solutions touted as life-savers in different writing groups. Without asking, I don’t know what this particular author used to create her book, but it got to the point when the errors interfered so much with my enjoyment that I abandoned it.
I started reflecting on my own books then. I admit to being somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to punctuation and grammar. Plus, I use Grammarly as a general spellchecker. I’ve also started using Hemingway a bit more when I have to pay attention to how difficult my sentences are structure-wise, like in a writing assignment for the online ESL platform I work for. I’d never turn in an article for my content writing client without checking it thoroughly. And yet, there’s the general consensus that ok is good enough when it comes to self-published books.
I know that I’ve found typos and awkwardly worded sentences in my own writing after publishing. And I go back and forth as to whether I’m being too critical as a reader when I focus on these errors. But, I fully believe that if we, as writers, can do better, we should and not just be content with just ok.
So when I find those typos that managed to slip past Grammarly and my own proofreading sessions, I make the changes. When I have discovered and fixed enough of them, I upload a new version of my book to the publishing platform. Should I judge this author for not giving me the quality of book I felt I deserved? The jury’s still out on that.
What do you do to make sure your writing is the best it can be?
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