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I recently searched for 'Kindle free books', noticed a nice sounding chicklit book about an older woman and a younger man, and downloaded and read it. It was what I 'needed', i.e. an easy summer fun book. It had quite a few mistakes and a few areas that could have been worded more clearly or effectively in my opinion, but that's subjective. There weren't any of the 'deal killers' such as confusing your and you're and their with there or even they're, but there were a slew of missed prepositions and even a misspelling of the older lady's name once.

I counted at least 20 mistakes but, surprisingly, it didn't deter from my enjoyment of the book. Even if I had paid $1.99, say, I don't think I would feel cheated at all.

I wonder if this is a price vs. quality issue or have I just learned to live with imperfection? Or is something else going on here? Maybe I've just learned to give the authors some slack knowing that they are probably not selling enough books to hire editors. Oh, I forgot to say that this book was very close to the top of free ebooks on Kindle, so maybe lack of money to hire editors is not the issue.

Has anybody else noticed this about yourselves, i.e. are you are loosening your 'standards' in this day and age of free or almost free books, focusing on the content and not demanding perfection?
 

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I don't let the odd error deter my enjoyment; indeed,  I've found them in trad. published works by major authors, too. However, my own typos niggle at me, like a splinter working its way under my skin. I had nine typos (that I've caught, could be more!) in my 120k novel and I couldn't leave them any longer. Especially the missing full stop right at the end of the last sentence. Fixed them today. :)
 

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I recently purchased a book for $2.99...read it and found at least 20 mistakes...for me it took away from enjoying the book. Don't get me wrong, no one's perfect and I've rarely read a book without any typos, but that many seems like a lot. Although I really did like the book...the premise was great and the characters were wonderful...the head hopping and the mistakes really got to me.
 

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I think it really depends completely on the reader and the story rather than a general lowering of standards. Some people are more conscious of that kind of thing than others, for one thing. I'm usually pretty critical of typos. But if a story just happened to hit me in the right mood at the right time and its just my kind of story, I can imagine being a lot more forgiving than I would if it was something I liked less, or I was reading it in at some other time or whatever. (I contend that this is the case for a lot of people, even if on principle we all have to say that every typo destroys our souls. Sometimes you're reading critically, and sometimes you're just into a story and you stop noticing. But obviously I can't speak for everyone.)

Since it's a lot easier to grab an indie ebook cheap and easy with no muss and fuss, without any effort at all, from the comfort of your own home, there are a lot more opportunities to be in that mood and happen upon that story that would otherwise just make you mad. But that doesn't mean that 99% of the time, a lot of typos aren't a turnoff, and the general ill-will towards indie books being poorly edited shows that a lot of people don't overlook the mistakes.

What I'm saying is, something can be very engaging despite a lot of errors, but you shouldn't count on it when you're writing. You might catch those breaks where someone gets into it enough not to notice, but you're most definitely going to lose a lot of people who weren't in that place and stop reading.

Just my general musings on the subject.
 

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I don't think it's the errors that get me. It's more when someone clearly has no command of the English language. Not being able to write well generally also means not being able to tell a story well, because communication is about organized thinking. When a person can't communicate in an organized manner, they usually can't figure out what makes up a story either.

I wish I could explain it better than that, but it's difficult to quantify. Generally, I think writing that makes me run away has problems like run-ons and dangling modifiers, but specifically it has thoughts that are incomplete or unclear, often a sort of rambling quality as if it's unsure of what exactly is important.

Nah, forget it. I can't explain what throws me off. But when I see it, I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's different than something where I see a few errors or have some problems with the story and think, "Ah, but this person has potential! They're going to get it." It's more like, "Oh, wow. You really don't know how bad this is, do you?" It makes me feel queasy and sorry for the writer.
 

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I still get reviews that report missing words in my first novel, Xenolith, but for the life of me I can't locate them no matter how many times I go over the manuscript forwards and backwards.

If only I could afford a real editor.

Maybe I should offer to pay a bounty on any specific mistake a reader reports to me. How about one dollar per missing word pointed out?
 

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ASparrow said:
I still get reviews that report missing words in my first novel, Xenolith, but for the life of me I can't locate them no matter how many times I go over the manuscript forwards and backwards.

If only I could afford a real editor.

Maybe I should offer to pay a bounty on any specific mistake a reader reports to me. How about one dollar per missing word pointed out?
You could do it for cheaper than that. Mechanical Turk: offer $0.05 to read a chapter of your book and report any editing mistakes/typos. Offer the contract out to 10 people, require they be from your target market's area (like United States region if you're writing for Americans). $0.50 a chapter for the ten people, then maybe $10 for the whole book after you've posted all the chapters. Offer more money if you want better proofers, or the same amount and extend the region to worldwide. $0.05 for a few minutes work is not bad money for some people, especially from less fortunate countries (and even some Americans do little jobs like this for extra spending money for Christmas and what not).

The more money you offer in ransom for the task, the more people and faster it will get done. Large publishers have been toying with the idea for quite some time now, and many may even be doing it without mentioning it.
 

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I have much, much looser standards for others than I have for myself, and if a story is interesting and I like the characters I'll forgive a lot of things.  However, if it gets to the point where I'm hunting typos and errors instead of reading, that's generally where I give up on a story.  It's just far too distracting!
 

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I'm not a fan of those who adopt a cavalier, devil-may-care attitude toward policing the mistakes out of their eBooks. There's enough "editor" in me to find it annoying.

I had my first novel endure beta readers and a very good editor in order to avoid letting mistakes slip through.

Even after I had the novel "out there," I had a reader/reviewer point out one error, my wife point out a second, and I found a third on my own. I re-upped the manuscript everywhere, specifically to avoid having even three mistakes I knew about slip past for any longer than they already had.

So when I hear about "at least 20 mistakes" as well as poorly written sections, it irks me. Some of us work very very hard to be as mistake free as possible, or correct even a small number of mistakes... having a list of 20 would personally drive me batty and I'd be unable to write anything new until I updated a book with so many errors remaining.

It's hard to imagine that many errors would slip by if the author self-edited at all, then did a round of beta-readers, then also did a round with an outside editor (rather than self-editing). So it reeks of shortcut taking.

This is the sort of thing that was more common even just a year ago, but is slowly disappearing. My hope would be that we all take enough pride in our work to either catch this sort of situation before uploading, or act quickly to correct and republish any novel that is found to have this many errors.

< / rant >
 

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A.R. Williams said:
If you lower your standards, how do you improve?
As a reader, I would prefer authors to not lower their standards, and publishers (self or not) to get to max 3/10 errors by book.

However, I recently read one "Pay what you want" book. (Turing Evolved by David Kitson)
Even as if it was filled with errors, as the book was quite good overall, it still was a good read. I read that the author has started an edition pass (with help from a few other readers who felt the same way about the book). I will wait for the "edited" version to be available before 1) re-reading it (and checking the editing) , 2) Paying a good 5-10 $, 3) posting a review.

So yes, while I expect authors to take no slack, in some case, I'm willing to give authors some.
 

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ASparrow said:
I still get reviews that report missing words in my first novel, Xenolith, but for the life of me I can't locate them no matter how many times I go over the manuscript forwards and backwards.
That could almost be a Zen koan, "How does one find a word that is missing?"
 

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nomesque said:
Does a reader improve when she or he notices every little error and is annoyed by it?
You can take the Aussie writer to an editor, but you can't edit the Aussie out of said writer...

...or something slightly more cleverly phrased than that... ;D

*goes back to waiting for the 'Paul Hogan has been cast as the new Batman' announcement* ::)
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
I'm not a fan of those who adopt a cavalier, devil-may-care attitude toward policing the mistakes out of their eBooks. There's enough "editor" in me to find it annoying.

<snip>

So when I hear about "at least 20 mistakes" as well as poorly written sections, it irks me. Some of us work very very hard to be as mistake free as possible, or correct even a small number of mistakes... having a list of 20 would personally drive me batty and I'd be unable to write anything new until I updated a book with so many errors remaining.

It's hard to imagine that many errors would slip by if the author self-edited at all, then did a round of beta-readers, then also did a round with an outside editor (rather than self-editing). So it reeks of shortcut taking.

This is the sort of thing that was more common even just a year ago, but is slowly disappearing. My hope would be that we all take enough pride in our work to either catch this sort of situation before uploading, or act quickly to correct and republish any novel that is found to have this many errors.

< / rant >
A-freaking-men.

My goal is for readers to never, ever find a difference in quality between my trade titles and my self-published titles.
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
You can take the Aussie writer to an editor, but you can't edit the Aussie out of said writer...

...or something slightly more cleverly phrased than that... ;D
*snort* As if you'd want to edit the Aussie outta me. There'd be only an empty shell left... or a Minnesotan... ;D

CraigInTwinCities said:
*goes back to waiting for the 'Paul Hogan has been cast as the new Batman' announcement* ::)
"That's not a cape... THIS is a cape!!" ::)
 

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nomesque said:
*snort* As if you'd want to edit the Aussie outta me. There'd be only an empty shell left... or a Minnesotan... ;D

"That's not a cape... THIS is a cape!!" ::)
;D
 
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