Over the spring and summer this year, I read quite a few books. Most of them brilliant, I have decided that if I get too bored I don’t continue right away. I still give the book a second chance later on, because sometimes it’s not the book but my mindset, the weather, distractions or not being keen on the genre or style at a given moment. I read in my three languages from traditional as well as self-published authors, and I stumbled across mistakes of all nature.

A character being named by the wrong name, a typo, a paragraph being written twice, a character’s age varying greatly, sentences left unfinished at the end of a page etc.

The paragraph written twice was actually in a traditional-published book. I won’t give any names now, but I am sure seen the level of fame the author (not an author by profession) has should warrant an army of high profile editors.

Now, these are books, not articles in an online newspaper or blog posts. How many times do I come across articles where in the comments someone is pointing out that there has been a miss hyphenation, a comma used incorrectly, a spelling mistake, a bad declination? I just hope that they don’t read books, because mistakes are often times not detected by the most concise editors… Thank God those negative commenters (often putting a mistake or two into their comment) tend to stay away from blog posts, bloggers don’t have editors, posts are written on a whim, not necessarily reread.

My question is, should I note down the mistakes I see in a book? I feel the need to protect good works from all those people who scream “horrible author”, “incompetent editor” when coming across them instead of enjoying the story, and then approach the writer about them?

So dear authors, how would you feel if someone who loved your book tells you that they came across a few errors?

While you are here check out this year’s advent calendar plans.


© Solveig Werner 2017. All rights reserved. 

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7 thoughts on “A question for authors

  1. Boy, you ask some tough questions. I don’t like hurting people’s feelings so I prefer not saying anything. However, if the author is traditionally published, it would be nice to have a great editor, but sadly, at the best of times, we all make mistakes.

    I have a more difficult time reading self-published books as they tend to have more mistakes. Also, as I age my eyes don’t always cooperate with me and I don’t see the print clearly. Another issue I have is that I don’t necessarily agree with the mind-set of authors of self-published books, but as I mentioned I don’t say anything. I try to be positive rather than negative. Some people come across as very rude with their comments. I don’t think that is appropriate to feel that it is necessary to hurt someone.

    Whether I like the book or not, I know the author has worked hard. Keep comments appropriate as no one likes to have their feelings hurt.

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  2. I guess it depends on how bad the mistakes are…. A few typos here and there, if not overwhelming, maybe not. A major mistake or something that really detracts from the book? Yes.

    I had two people help me proof my last book, and I went over it many times, yet I am still finding mistakes. In fact, somebody pointed one out that over a dozen people have seen since 2014, yet nobody caught… If you want to provide free, or cheap, proofing services for my next book, let me know 😉😂😎

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  3. I like to know when I have made mistakes, but I can understand why people don’t often share that sort of feedback. What I don’t like is when someone sends a writer a message to say they loved the book, then post a negative review elsewhere. I’ve actually seen this happen!

    When feedback is given, self-published authors (using Createspace) can make amends very easily so it can more helpful for them. Whenever I have (only a few times) been told about errors in my self-published works, I have immediately edited and resubmitted.

    As a reader, I’ve read a lot of books – indie and traditional – with mistakes, but I’ve never contacted an author to say so because, like you say, they have worked hard to create the book. With so many internet trolls around these days, I’d hate my helpful critique to be taken the wrong way—upsetting somebody unnecessarily.

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  4. Personally, I don’t mind – I don’t have an army of fact-checkers or editors, but I plan to revise my books on a yearly basis to deal with these sorts of things (as well as changing situations, as happens with the travel books). If I don’t know there is a mistake, it will just continue on. I would rather fix it and improve the next version of the book for future readers!

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  5. It’s an interesting question, because on one hand, one typo became something of a godsend. The typo made a poem better though people still don’t get it simply because it’s not what it was meant. But for me, I’m grateful for anyone who points out specific error, i.e. sends me a screenshot and actually helps me out. Some people say there’s a mistake but don’t tell you where and some are even fellow authors, some of which have their own typo moments, but I do as I would like to have done to me. Send a pic, tell them what I saw and focus on the good.

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