Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Authors: don't make stupid mistakes when you should be impressing readers

Errors in online text are the electronic equivalent of a piece of lettuce stuck between two front teeth, an open zipper, upside-down wristwatch, or toilet paper trailing from your ass. They are evidence of carelessness that distracts people from your message. Textual errors are especially bad for authors who want to sell their words.

On an online forum for writers, editors and publishers, someone was trying to attract attention to a new book and get advice for promoting it. He wrote, "My first novel . . . will soon be relaesed
to Amazon, B&N and e-books."

That typing error is not a big deal, but it stands out like a sore thumb and could have been easily fixed before the world saw it. Also, a novel is not released "to" e-books.

Sadly, these errors are part of a pattern of carelessness limiting the effectiveness of this new novelist who is trying to sell books in a very crowded field.
  • Some of the errors in one short blog post include "bias" instead of "biased," "wonderous" instead of "wondrous," "existance" instead of "existence," "Capitalism" instead of "capitalism," "was" instead of "were," "socio-economic" instead of "socioeconomic" and "hell bent" instead of "hell-bent."
  • In just a few paragraphs of his online book sample, he wrote "marines" instead of "Marines," "cake walk" instead of "cakewalk," "whaopping" instead of "whopping," "coffee-table" instead of "coffee table," "main-room" instead of "main room," "oak, dining table" instead of "oak dining table" and "table-lamp" instead of "table lamp." There is also improper punctuation.
The author is a good storyteller, but he's a careless author. Based on the online sample, the book—like the cast of Saturday Night Live—was "not ready for prime time."

Every word an author writes is part of an audition. An author is never "off-duty." No author (and no non-author) is perfect, but perfection must be your goal. Bad spelling, improper grammar, missing punctuation or wrong choice of words are intolerable in books and everywhere else. NEVER rush through a sentence or paragraph and excuse your errors by saying "it's only a blog post," "it's only a tweet," or "it's only a comment on Facebook."

image from Thanks.


  1. I had a friend who self published a novel. I thought the book was great, but it was full of spelling errors, tense errors, and her voice constantly changed throughout the narrative. As much as I liked the story, those errors distracted me. The book needed a proofreader as well as an editor. Sadly it didn't do well, and I have to believe those issues were part of the reason.

  2. An author may get pumped up catching wind of how powerful blogging is so he goes on the web and makes a blog and posts something a few times, and the before you know it, a half year not far off, you take a gander at his blog and it hasn't been refreshed in everything that time.children book author