Monday, January 23, 2012

Don’t Just Trust—An Edits Rant

As my writing network widens, I come across authors that find their books have gone to print with some very obvious editing or formatting errors.  When I ask them if they noticed the mistakes in their final galleys, some respond with, “I trusted the editors. I mean, that’s what they do, right? They edit for a living so they must know more about it than I do.”  Upon further questioning, some of those never even played an active part in the editing process.  They simply changed what the editor suggested and sent it back.  Or worse yet, was never given the opportunity to participate.

For those of you who
  • Have a publisher that tells you to just trust them concerning edits
  • Only send galleys for you to look over and no edit sessions
  • Never received your galleys
  • Are told your changes won’t be made once it goes to galley point
  • Are told all books have mistakes so no corrections will be made if found in galleys

Stay away—far, far, away from those publishers!  Check with Preditors and Editors before you ever submit to a publisher.  Red flags are noted there.  Listen to them.

You have a right to see that your book is the best it can possibly be.  I know we as writers want to trust our publishers and those assigned to help us polish our manuscripts and make them print ready.  But, my friends, our books are ours.  We spend hours, months, sometimes years preparing these works.  I won't mention names here, but it’s sad to say that there are some publishers out there that simply run a manuscript through a Word editor and call it edited…never even read the story. 

Now, I’m in no way putting down editors on the whole.  I simply want writers to realize that as authors of our books, we need to play an active part in the editing process—from creation to finalizing.  And that means carefully reading over each edit session, pointing out things you find, and working with your editor on it, right down to your last chance to make sure it’s as good as you know how to make it…the galleys.  Sometimes formatting gets messed up when it’s adapted for print.  Don't be shy.  Point it out.

Of course, some things might slip through, no matter how many eyes try to catch everything.  In my book Cornerstone Deep, instead of a “chill” running up Cole’s back, a “child” did.  Lol.  That manuscript had been read over countless times by critiques, betas, editors, and myself.  It took a friend that read the book, after it was in print several months, to point it out to me.  We had a big laugh at that one.  

Okay.  I think my edits rant is done. *big blush* I feel for those authors that put all that work into their stories and end up with a product that reflects badly on the publisher they went with and on them.  Being an author encompasses so much more than just writing a book. 

Have you run across books that stand out in such a way?  Have you run across authors that have had to learn the hard way that a close eye is needed in the production of their books?  Were you one of those authors?  What was your experience of the matter?



Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I found some errors in all my books after they went to print. I've also found mistakes in nearly every book I've read recently. It seems lots of novels are being hurried to press.

Anonymous said...

Charlene...very good points...all of them.

I'm an author and an editor, so play both sides of the fence. I've read some talented authors, popular authors whose books missed an opportunity with a good editor.

I bought a book from one of my favorite authors and ended up with a red pen in hand...I couldn't turn off the editor, I was so appalled. This author's favorite word 'as' peppered almost every sentence, and it totally wore me down.

Every book needs some kind of editing...another set of eyes to see it objectively. Don't kid yourself into thinking it's perfect (if you're the author), because there's always something left behind for an editor or another set of eyes to pick up or point out.

Unknown said...

Spot on! I agree totally. In the end it's put names that are accountable. I just had to do a reedit on Familial Witch. Luckily thanks to eBooks it was easy to reupload.

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

I think you're right, Susan. There are a lot of books that look like they're just rushed to print. Not just an occasional miss in edits, but those that look like the editor or author had the "Who really cares" attitude.

So right, Kay Dee. Every book needs that. Writing is so much more than just telling a story.

Yeah, Bri, ebooks are much easier to fix and reload...if your publisher will do that. Lol. That's where being self pubbed really helps. You have control over such things. The print books are another matter. It's pretty much set and out there. (self pubbed or not)

I've just learned to do everything I can to try and make my book right. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just see all the oops areas, fix them, and know it's all good. Lol.