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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reading glut, eye-strain alert, AKA why doesn’t an indie author’s spell check or punctuation check work any longer?

My new novella coming soon
with proper punctuation and spelling!

Yes, I am an addict. I read till my eyeballs scream, but ignore their protests and continue to read with my fingertips, anything to finish a good book.

So why do I allow some authors to abuse my precious time, my precious body and my pocketbook by posting books with BAD (really, really BAD) punctuation and horrible (OMG!) spelling? And why oh, why do these folks make it to the best seller lists?

I am stumped. Stupified. Flummoxed.

I am outraged at their sloppiness and disregard for my reading experience, which by all means should focus on their story NOT their hideous lack of professionalism! (And their rush to collect my money in their bank account for what is a sloppy product!)

Last week, I bought a book on the NYT list by an indie author.  (Really, she is a HYBRID author who has been pubbed by a traditional publisher. Therefore, her punctuation and spelling “feet” have been held to the proverbial fire and she should know better than to do this to her readers.) I was curious as to the reason for her success. (Topic? Plot? Unique conflict? What, what?) I had to know!

Dear Reader, I read this book, and cursed each page, sometimes 10 or more lines per page for the hideous punctuation and spelling! No, it was not that she failed to provide proper formatting for her indie book. She did not understand the use of any of the following:
comma
ellipses
M dash (and lack thereof)
N dash
Quotation marks (Please, shoot me.)
Scene breaks

Why did I endure this to THE END?

After 20 or so pages of this insult, l should have stopped. Shouldn’t I? I should have said, no more, you are killing me softly. I should have thrown it across the room (or deleted it from iPad) and asked why I take my precious time to turn in perfectly spelled and punctuated pieces (even those I have self-pubbed) and I read this???

But I will never do so again.

Why?

My iPad, darling creature, has so much on it that is luscious, transportive reading. Courtesy of all those wonderful authors, many of them good friends of mine, I have wonderful hours awaiting me. Furthermore, because pricing in the industry is so competitive lately, many of them were discounted. Most were not. But I bought each on that wonderful literate whim that comes to us when we see a novel we MUST read. I have stored many for that rainy day when my soul needs to be fed with divine tales that I have neither the time nor the proclivity to create myself.

So this author is no longer on my iPad. Her works—and I had 2 more of them on there—I eliminated.

I called up my best friend and screamed about the audacity to insult me as a consumer, a reader and an author!

I have written of my outrage here.

I feel better.

And the next time, I see this in a book, I hope to god I have the intelligence to end my torture sooner. And may you too end it so that somewhere in the universe, authors who don't learn or don't take time to do it right, hie themselves off to a place we cannot find their works for sale...anywhere.

6 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Sadly enough, it's my guess that the general public doesn't notice the mistakes. Ever read the comments section of the online news agencies (nbcnews.com, abcnews.com)? You almost need an interpreter to figure out what the person is trying to say. Instead of using proper spelling, many people spell phonetically. Some revert to 'text-speak' - 'u' for 'you'. God. The dumbing down of America continues. We should be proud. We still have our sports and music 'heroes', while learning English, science and math are for losers, also called nerds.

Fiona McGier said...

Cerise, I'm with you. I wonder why I have to go through 2-3 rounds of edits before I can be published when unedited and poorly-written crap is on the best-seller lists. Either the "average" reader is too dumb to know the difference, or the sales are to people who don't read much, so buying what everyone else is will convince them that all books are crap like that and they won't feel guilty about not reading.

My fear is that it's a combination of both. So hackneyed tortured prose can make a writer obscenely rich if it lands on the right desk and is given the proper amount of publicity. Meanwhile the rest of us labor in obscurity, honing our craft and painstakingly producing pearls to toss before swine. Sigh.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Tina, How I hate to think you are right about the general public's lack of knowledge of punctuation and their lack of knowledge of what a good book should be.
sigh.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Fiona, Yes, I am in your corner, slaving away, trying my best to get it all right before I send off to my editors.
Should we just give up and let the idiots win????

Kelli Scott said...

I'd be afraid to publish without a team of professionals in my corner.

jean hart stewart said...

I can't imagine writing wihtout making sure it's as perfect as I can make it.My EC editor is a bear,a perfectionist and I love it.
What the hell is the point of publishing junk just to say you wrote a book?