I recently read a novel – I’ll refrain from naming it – that shocked me with its content. Random acts of sex and violence? No. Lack of basic research? No. Considering the author had a reputable agent and a division of Random House published the book, I was horrified by the amount of typographical errors within its pages. Furthermore, it was endorsed on its cover by a best-selling writer whose work I enjoy. In hindsight, I find myself wondering if he had, in fact, bothered to read it.
One or two errors, you can forgive, but these were, to be honest, far too plentiful and even an amateur editor/proof reader should have easily spotted them.
This angers me for three reasons. Firstly, whoever is responsible is letting the author down. No one can spot all their own mistakes, no matter how hard they try. Writers need to trust the people proofing their book. This is shoddy workmanship.
Secondly, it reflects badly both on the agent and the publisher. It certainly doesn’t instil faith in the publishing industry. It’s hardly any wonder authors are taking to self-publishing online. In fact, it has helped me make that decision.
Thirdly, I am angry because it’s letting down the reader. I do not enjoy tripping over poor punctuation, bad grammar and duplicated words. If I have paid good money for a book, I expect it to be fully proofed. It is an insult to expect the reader to put up with it.
Am I over-reacting? Possibly, but I’d certainly not rush out and buy another book by the same author.