Although I wrote a blog a few years ago about the typographical errors in books and their unintentional entertainment value, I (sadly) feel the need to revisit this subject. Since I wrote that blog back in early 2010, I’ve been reading a lot more self-published stuff – in the form of books as well as ebooks – and the frequency of grammatical errors in some of these works is just mind-boggling at times.
Punctuation errors and misspelled words are more than just annoying – it can absolutely ruin a reading experience for me. How is it that a writer can devote so much time – and in most cases, money – to self-publish a book but then not bother to make sure the punctuation, spelling, and grammar are correct?
Here is some advice to all of you self-published and aspiring writers out there: hire a proofreader or an editor – the money that you use for this service will be well spent and could mean the difference between a positive review and a negative one.
The monumental significance of writers understanding the basic rules of grammar and knowing how to spell got me to thinking – one misspelled word can change, well, everything!
Can you imagine downloading these paranormal fantasy novels on your nook?
• Bed-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
• Liver Reborn by J.R. Ward
• Cerulean Shins by Laurell K. Hamilton
• A Rash of Wings by Adrian Phoenix
• Dead until Dork by Charlaine Harris
• Halfway to the Grape by Jeaniene Frost
• City of Bongs by Cassandra Clare
• Breaking Down by Stephenie Meyer
• The Queen of the Darned by Anne Rice
• Trucking with the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
And let’s not forget science fiction/fantasy!
• The Wise Man's Rear by Patrick Rothfuss
• Breadline by Mira Grant
• A Discovery of Watches by Deborah Harkness
• The Massage by Justin Cronin
• A Game of Thongs by George R.R. Martin
• Starship Poopers by Robert A. Heinlein
• At the Mountains of Mudness by H.P. Lovecraft
• The Stank by Stephen King
• Strangler in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
• The Cook of Cthulhu edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Or how about these classics?
• The Drapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
• Lord of the Fries by William Golding
• Slaughterhouse-Jive by Kurt Vonnegut
• Of Lice and Men by John Steinbeck
• Invisible Van by Ralph Ellison
• As I Lay Drying by William Faulkner
• To Fill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
• Baked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
• A Broom with a View by E.M. Forster
• The Sound and the Furry by William Faulkner
So, again, a word to the wise – if you are contemplating self-publishing a novel, please seek out and find a proofreader or editor before unleashing your magnum opus onto the world. It will be money well spent. Thank you from the bottom of my heard.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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