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Friday, December 1, 2017

How Many Is Too Many?

Scrolling Facebook posts today, I came upon an exchange where an author asks, "How many errors are too many?" The author was concerned over his publisher's cavalier attitude about allowing a manuscript to be published with errors. My immediate reaction was to advise him to take his manuscript and run. 

We Indie book producers have been fighting an uphill battle to be acknowledged by the public and book publishing industry as producing bona fida 'real books.' Those writers I'm acquainted with strive to make their manuscripts as error free as humanly possible. We go to great lengths, sometimes sending the finished work to two and three editors in our attempt to produce the best work we possibly can.

I just finished reading "The Devil Wears Pravda", a best-seller a few years back which eventually became a popular movie. No, this is not a book review. It was produced by Doubleday, a division of Random House, one of the major American publishing houses. Granted what I was reading is what's known as an Advance Reading Copy, but really?

I lost count of how many times miss-spelled words, missing words, miss-used words and even absent complete phrases jolted me out of the story. My understanding of the publishing process--and experience--is that all editing and proof-reading happens BEFORE a single word is printed on the paper. 

The ease of digital printing has opened the door for anyone to produce a book; there are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. Quantity does not always mean quality. And quality is what keeps readers waiting in anticipation of your next book.

Anyone agree with me? I'd love your reaction to errors in a book you've read.


  1. I have come to understand that some errors are inevitable but some of the mistakes I run across seem terribly obvious. It often leaves me questioning the quality of the story overall. Might I ask, Do you believe in the possibility of creating and entirely errorless piece?

    1. Ironically enough I caught my own mistake too late. My phone betrayed me.