Recently, Sanctuary’s Finest asked the question:
Who’s responsible for typos, etc, in the novels we read and why does the standard seem so much lower for ePublishers than it does larger publishing houses.
I missed the cut-off for responses, so I’ll just ramble on about it here. I’ll break the question into two parts, though.
Who’s responsible for typos, etc?
Barring some unpleasant circumstance in which an editor goes in and inexplicably mucks things up after a final edit, the author is responsible for every single word on the page. Every typo, every grammatical error, every inconsistency or plot hole is the author’s fault. The buck stops with her.
Nothing—nothing—sets my teeth on edge like an author responding to having an error pointed out with, “I know! Can you believe my editor didn’t catch that? She’s awful!”
But that’s what editors are for.
Editors are not crutches for lazy or sloppy writers. Yes, it is their job to edit the book. And between the content editor and the final line editor, almost everything gets caught. Sometimes things slip through the crack—and those things still belong to the author. She’s still the bottom line.
In doing print galleys for Adrenaline, I found an error in 72 Hours. It looks like it might have been a copy & paste error and it’s fairly glaring. And I wonder how in the hell it got by multiple readings by three different people. But you know what? It did. I put those words there and I accept responsibility for that error. I’m thankful I caught it before it was immortalized in print—along with several other typos I’ve found.
Why does the standard seem so much lower for ePublishers than it does larger publishing houses?
Touchy, touchy subject. But I read a lot of loops and boards and excerpts and, quite frankly, some epublishers do have lower standards than larger publishing houses. There are a couple who seem to have no standards whatsoever. If you can write something that merits multiple naked men with fangs or fur groping one naked woman who’s bound and gagged as a cover, they don’t care if you have the writing ability of a drunken dyslexic baboon.
Now, taking those “publishers” off the table, I’ll just offer two points which are my personal opinions:
1. I think doing everything electronically plays a small part in catching errors. Not plot hole errors, but typos and such. I’m willing to bet if you took a manuscript that’s been through one editing pass, printed it out and had the editor read it on hard copy, she’d catch more mistakes. I could be totally blowing smoke, but I think the brain processes a computer screen and hardcopy differently.
2. Do NY editors edit on the screen with 3 open IM windows, multiple email notification bubbles popping up, the TV blaring cartoons and their kids running through the house chasing a terrified dog? I don’t know.
I think all we can do as authors and as readers is to research a publisher—whether NY OR digital—and judge the quality of their output for ourselves. If you’re proud to place your work with a publisher who puts out Debbie Duz A Dozen WereDonkeys, then I’m happy for you. If you’re happy reading it, then I’m happy for you, too.
Unless all of digital romance publishing is being painted with your brush. Then I’m not happy.
All I can say is that I am extremely satisfied with the editing my books have received. They’ve been professional and thorough, and my books have been better because of that. But those little typos and errors that get through no matter how many times a book is gone through? Blame the author.