12 February 2013

To Edit Or Not To Edit

That is the question. Well...kind of. See, I just finished reading a book. An eBook to be precise. (Unless you avoid me like the plague *grin* you probably have a fair idea as to which book I'm referring to...but in the interests of fairness I won't mention it by name. And for the purposes of this post it doesn't matter - this is one of those generic posts :) Anyway, this book had me asking myself that very question almost the whole way through. I'm sure the book was edited...but just not in the manner to which I have become accustomed...

There were misspelt words - 'a heard of alpacas' was my personal favourite - and missing words (although I've come to realize that it must be a North American trait to say 'a couple days' rather than 'a couple of days', so I'm not counting that :) and extra words. Not everywhere, but there were far more examples than I would usually expect from any published book. And it was very distracting. Because I found myself correcting the editing in my head rather than just enjoying the story.

So, I'm curious, what are your thoughts on editing issues? Do they drive you nuts or do you just ignore them? And...if you rate your books at GoodReads or LibraryThing or another similar site, do you grade down a book for editing issues? In the case above I didn't.


  1. I'm sure you know this about me already, but editing issues drive me nuts and I grade down accordingly. Usually I'll mention something in my reviewette, if the errors were particularly maddening.

  2. I don't automatically grade down, unless it is sooooo obvious and overwhelming I was completely distracted by it. There have been several books that I've read where the editing was so poorly done I couldn't finish, or just started skimming and not really reading. I can, mostly, ignore it if the story is very good.

  3. I don't grade down if there are a few editing problems. It happens to presses (if it's print) and it happens in ebooks too.

    BUT, if the book is a TOTAL mess and the editing problems distract me from the story? Most of the time I don't bother to finish it. That's an automatic DNF for me, I don't have the time for that! Why? I wouldn't be able to say that the story is good or great if I'm too darn distracted to enjoy it.

  4. Yes, yes, and yes. :) Editing is a part of writing and making a manuscript polished. I don't think every writer needs an editor per se, but if you do you should hire one, or don't expect readers to pay for your book.

  5. Editing issues distract me from the story, at least nine times out of ten. Enough typos and the like (say, every other paragraph), and I'm completely out of the story.

    Makes me a good beta reader/copy editor, but can wreck havoc on the actual reading experience.

    It's rarely a problem, though, because most of my reading is still print, and so far my experiences has been that the editing on print/print first books is more thorough than in digital only.

    However, when reading ARCs, either digital or print, I make allowances for typos and formatting errors, though I may mention them if/when I review.

  6. I actually have no clue what book you are talking about and I don't avoid you, like the plague or otherwise. Editing issues, while annoying, don't bother me nearly as much as other book issues, so while I might mention it in a review, I would not rate it differently if it were a book I enjoyed.

  7. I used to think this was an ebook thing when ebooks first started out but I find more and more editing issues in books from big publishing houses and it's scary. Unless there are SO very many editing issues I normally don't downgrade for them but I will usually mention them in a review or quick blurb on the blog.

  8. I think there's really NO excuse for poor editing. Spelling, grammar and punctuation should be 100% correct in a published work--whether print or digital. However, we're all human and do make mistakes or miss editing corrections, so I do let it slide if there are only a couple of errors. One is an oopsie. Two is uh oh. Three is wtf. Seriously.. there shouldn't be more than that many.

    I would definitely mention it in a review if there were more than 2-3 errors. More than three and I probably WOULD down-grade a book because of it. Or DNF it.

    ARCs are an exception, of course, because they are not final copy edited, but I don't read those anymore, anyway.

  9. I have the same problem with re-editing in my head as I read. I'm not even the best at grammar and how a things should be phrased but I've noticed more and more ebooks lately that come from either authors or publishers that I have previously not had such issues with having more and more errors in them. It is very distracting and unless the story is very good it does detract from the enjoyment especially if it is a continuity error from a previously mentioned happening either occuring again or happenin out of order. For example, I was reading a new book last night and the author states that the person is in the bath then in the next paragraph mentions that he was undressing without making it a past event. I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing this and thanks for letting me vent.

  10. @Chris - I appreciate the warning as I definitely like to know in advance if there are lots of errors :)

    @Mariana - I could mostly ignore these errors as I was enjoying the story, but some of them had me in stitches!

    @Hilcia - it does happen...the author and (copy)editor are only human :) I guess it's the number of them...when there starts to be quite a few it becomes as issue...

    @Tasha - I agree - good editing is definitely needed for polish :)

    @azteclady - I don't read ARCs, but, yes, I'd expect more of them in there. And I've found eBooks to be getting better WRT editing, so this one threw me a little!

  11. @Ivan - I know you don't avoid me...and I'm very happy you don't as your presence is always lovely to have :) Editing issues throw me out of the story as my perfectionist brain has to re-word the sentence so it makes sense...I keep telling it it doesn't need to do that :)

    @Tracy - I've been noticing more errors in print books too. Maybe it's a sign of the economic downturn - less checks in place?

    @Christine - it's definitely a matter of degrees, isn't it?

    Nichole - vent away :) And yes, I've never had this issue to such a degree with this particular author's books before, which almost made it worse, because I wasn't expecting it!