#SaystheEditor — What’s with the Commas?

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I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years. When I see an author’s name used in a book description, it’s surrounded by commas. Grammar be damned, that author’s gonna use a comma.

Don’t damn your grammar. Write it properly.

Which means… Instead of…
When sexy artist, Kerri Broadhead, meets ShapeShifter guitarist, Mitchell Voss, in a grocery store…

the only comma should be after the word store.

Or I’ve seen this lately, too:
Kerri Broadhurst, meets ShapeShifter guitarist, Mitchell Voss…

Still wrong! You’re not going to write
Dog, meets banana…,
Right?

Right?

So… don’t put a comma around character names.

NOW. There’s an exception to this rule, and that’s when you are singling out one person among a group of people. As in:
One of the guitarists, Mitchell Voss, stood out from the others.

Or
His sister, Sally, was the only one of the three who said the right thing.

This time, you’re telling us who the only sister was. You’re naming the person in question. Or… singling one out of a group.

Otherwise, lose the commas.

Are you unsure if your commas are in the right spots? Remember, we at West of Mars offer back cover copy services at varying levels. Starting at ten bucks, it’s money well spent if you care enough to look your very best.

And if you don’t care enough to look your very best to your reading public, why are you publishing? Show your reader some respect. Care. And have someone look over your ancillary materials — so you do look your very best.

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1 Comment

  1. Dana Griffin

    March 16, 2015 11:12 am

    This post is one of the reasons I’ll be continuing to use you for years to come. Not only do you make my stories better, but we can talk comma usage until the Shape Shifter guitarists are using walkers to get on stage and I still won’t get where to put those pesky little curved periods.

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