Tag Archives: typos

#SaysTheEditor My Typos are Better Than Your Typos


It’s finally happened. And so, it’s time to change the mindset of many many authors, readers, and publishing professionals.

For years and years — and remember, I put the first Demo Tapes anthology for sale in 2008, and this attitude pre-dates even that — the general wisdom was simple: self-published books didn’t have nearly the quality of books from the major publishers. Now, some of that referred directly to production quality, and that’s been fixed many years on now.

What’s lingered has been the stigma about the writing and editing.

No more, I say.

I’ve ranted here before about finding significant numbers of typos in books published by the big houses. I’ve ranted about bad writing.

It’s not only in self-published books anymore, boys and girls.

So no more. No more putting down the indie writers as a whole. A number of them won’t stand for excessive typos and lazy writing any more than you or I would. Many of them are my clients, but even more aren’t (simply because I can’t work for everyone. I’m only one person, after all!).

And a very very large number of them would be mortified if I nodded my head in agreement showed up in a book with their name on the cover.

That’s because I have yet to find another body part that you nod. Oh, a body can nod off to sleep, but that’s entirely different. And a character or a person can certainly nod to show they are paying attention, or nod to show interest, but it’s pretty widely assumed that a nod means assent of some sort — even assent that attention is being paid or that the subject at hand remains interesting. So there’s no need for that in agreement phrase that’s thrown in. The reader will assume it’s there unless they are specifically told why the nod isn’t one of agreement.

This falls into the “Shit!” he swore school of bad writing.

Come to think of it, I found that in a book from one of the big publishing houses, too. Recently.

So. Enough. Enough denigrating an entire publishing model — one that works for a number of authors and readers — based on a lack of polish that the other, more highly regarded (although more and more, I do not know why this is so) model increasingly unleashes on the public.

Stick to the books that are well written and well edited. Period. It no longer matters which publishing model you follow or who published the book in your hands.

A lot are good. A lot are bad.

Publisher simply doesn’t matter anymore.


#SaystheEditor Does it Smell, or Did Destruction Happen?


I was reading a book review a few weeks back, and at the end, the reviewer had included the author’s bio.

“My kids reek havoc on my house,” it said.


Pardon me, but I didn’t realize havoc had a scent. I suppose it can, depending on what’s going on, but take a look at what Webster’s says about the definition of havoc:

Full Definition of HAVOC

:  wide and general destruction :  devastation
:  great confusion and disorder <the blackout caused havoc in the city>

Okay… so …

Depending on the destruction, confusion, or disorder, yeah, I can see something in there reeking. Remember, Webster’s defines reek as

Definition of REEK

chiefly dialect :  smoke
:  vapor, fog
:  a strong or disagreeable fume or odor

Somehow, I don’t think this is what the author meant. In fact, I’d wager money that she meant wreak, which is defined as

Full Definition of WREAK

transitive verb
a archaic :  avenge b :  to cause the infliction of (vengeance or punishment)
:  to give free play or course to (malevolent feeling)
:  bring about, cause <wreak havoc>

This is a common error, I’ve come to realize. A lot of my authors confuse reek and wreak, so many that I no longer believe it’s a typo. It’s a confusion.

The way I see it, confusions aren’t acceptable. They show a lack of command over language, and as an author, that’s a weakness you can’t be showing. This sort of thing makes you look like an idiot, an illiterate, lazy, or sloppy — none of which are traits most authors want the general (not to mention the book-buying) public to see.

But, as I’ve said in the past: it’s worth hiring a proofreader for your bios, your newsletters, your blog posts … anything you write…  It’s worth the money to make sure your words shine. Telling me your kids have reeked havoc in your house isn’t only TMI (do you want to know what someone else’s house smells like?), it’s bad craft, and bad craft signals a poor writer.

As the market grows increasingly crowded, you want to stand out for your ability to not only craft a great story, but to communicate in a way that invokes authority and trust from your writers.

(Naturally, we at West of Mars can save you this embarrassment, and we can and will do it without pressuring you to use us exclusively.)