So, Who Is Really To Blame For Bad Books? The Author? The Editor? Or The Publisher?
Angie had an interesting Romancing The Blog column up yesterday. It was all about the the pre-conceived notion that e-book publishers produce sub-standard work, in comparison to the big New York houses.
As an industry, epublishing has gotten a reputation for poor editing. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m not saying my company is better than yours, I’m saying as a whole, we’ve gotten a bad reputation for typos, misspelled or misused words, wrong or missing punctuation, missing words and other technical issues.
That’s not even touching the other editing things people are more than happy to point out: awkward phrasing, bad dialogue, poor choreography and plot holes/character inconsistencies/bad pacing. We’ve earned that reputation and now we’re fighting to overcome it.
The thing is, those things happen in NY published books too. But I believe that readers are more hyper-aware of it in epublished books, because they’ve come to expect it based on past experience. So epublishers are, in essence, held almost to higher standards because of that bias.
I see it in the posts, like the ones above, that target epublishers. I see it in the emails we get from readers, telling us they found “a lot” of typos in one of our books and then listing the two or three they found in the 80,000 word book.
I can honestly say that I've never started reading an ebook expecting to find errors. It never occurs to me that I'll find errors in any of the books I read, period. Seriously.
I was reading Nora’s Born In Death a few weeks ago, when I came across a minor typo. I noticed it, but it didn’t bother me in the least. Why? Because the book was bigger than that one error.
I can forgive typos, imperfect grammar etc, if the story pulls me in enough. The problem is, these things become a lot more noticeable if the book sucks ass.
I remember reading an e-book a few years ago that had spelling mistakes virtually on every page, bad punctuation, bad grammar, the works. You name a publishing no-no, and it was there.
I found out later that the author was dyslexic, so I let it go, but surely, her editor should have spotted these mistakes? There were so many mistakes in that one book, that I found myself wondering if the book had been edited in the first place.
It seems to me that editors should probably be held up to closer scrutiny, than they currently are.
Like I intimated in that now infamous review, as far as I was concerned, the problems in the book should have been picked up by the editor. She should have understood the distinction between porn and erotic romance. The authors of ER have been arguing about the distinction for long enough, but let’s face it, all it takes is one poor editor, to blow holes in the “It’s not porn, it’s erotic romance” mantra.
But then, there's the argument that the publishing company should be more discerning about who they hire as editors, so in the end the buck should probably stop with them.
Why? Because the publishers are the ones who hire the crap editors who take on the crap authors, who write the sucky books. Seems simple enough to me.
What say you?
Labels: Who's to blame for bad books?