Authors often pour more than their heart and soul into a book or an article. They may put their own money into a project too, especially if they self-publish or enter a partnership publishing arrangement. That’s why it’s so frustrating to see glaring and embarrassing typos, incorrect word use and clumsy sentence structures in published books. Using a good copy editor and proofreading thoroughly are sensible investments in an author’s work, and not optional extras.
Not all editing oversights are as catastrophic as Penguin’s 2010 proofing error which left a recipe calling for ‘salt and freshly ground black people’. The entire print run had to be pulped, at a cost of about $20,000.
And you thought spellcheck or editing software would do the job…
CBCA judges’ comments on editing
I read the judges’ comments on the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year for older readers. This is what they had to say:
‘… many of the books are flawed by the inclusion of the kinds of grammatical errors that are in common oral currency… There are also occasional misuses of words… all solecisms that could have been eliminated with more attentive editing.’
These are published works submitted for a prestigious award.
The judges also said, ‘… a few novels that were otherwise excellent lost their place on the Notables list through flaws in their internal logic and character consistency; these issues should be attended to by close editing…’
Use a comprehensive editing service
If you’re planning to submit your manuscript to a publisher, enter a competition or self-publish, it makes sense to use a professional editor. At the very least, use an experienced proofreader. If your budget can possibly extend to a copy editor, it’s a wise investment. Better still, use an editor who provides a comprehensive editing service so that your structure, content, language, style and presentation are the best they can be for your readers.