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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I put my first book up in Feb., I'd read through it myself more than a dozen times times with several weeks in between in order to go back to it with fresh eyes, then I hired two proofers who were looking only for typos and grammar errors after I was satisfied there were no plotholes and it was for the most part how I wanted it.

Two months and a lot of book sales later I got my first "this needs an editor" review, then that's all I got. I was able to track most of those reviews back to other authors and didn't read too much into them because as authors we all have our different writing styles and where some follow every grammar rule listed some don't, it's just how they write and there very well may be nothing wrong with it. Don't misunderstand me, if I was informed of a typo, I fixed it, but the "this needs an editor" didn't do anything for me so I ignored it. Then, I got what I'd consider a genuine review from strictly a reader and she mentioned a couple of typos in the text (her main complaint wasn't really grammar/spelling, but that I'd taken too many creative liberties and my book would have been better as a modern comedy than a historical drama, and as odd as it was, she even came to my defense on a couple points where other reviewers said I'd been too wordy with explanations and not enough dialogue etc). But after reading her review, I sent it off to someone else to have them read through it again to look for errors. They found six typos and helped me eliminate anything that might be considered a common/modern phrase (the book is historical based).

This was almost a month ago and I'm STILL getting the "this needs and editor" reviews.

My question is, do I send it to yet another editor/proofer in hopes of them finding something that's been missed? Or do I just leave this book as is and focus on the one I'm getting ready to publish in the next month or so?

My biggest argument for leaving it alone is those bad reviews are already there so anybody who reads them before buying the book anyway will go into it already in the mindset that something's wrong with it so they'll be looking for problems (I think this might already be happening to a degree..), but at the same time what if there still is something wrong...

Any advice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JodyWallace said:
Does the type of editing the reviewers think you need = typos? Or larger editorial? Do you know?
This is what I don't now. These reviews are ALL over the place. Some will say, "The grammar is awful or there were a few typos." But then others just say, "It's poorly researched, an editor would have caught such and such historical inaccuracy". I had one 2-star review that said, "I liked the story but the dangling prepositions took away from the enjoyment."
 

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Consider that people may have purchased version-1 of the book, you uploaded version-2, but they are just now getting around to reading their version-1. So they see any errors that were in version-1.

There is some way to get Amazon to offer all previous purchasers an updated copy for free. Perhaps someone knows the details.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
J.A. Marlow said:
Some of the later reviews might be coming from people who bought the old version of the book and are only now getting around to reading it. So, the copy they have might have errors. I do wish Amazon made it easier to get a corrected copy sent out to people.
I thought of that, too, and wasn't going to worry about it for a few months to let those who've read the original have a chance to read and review it. But then today I got a review on SW from a lady I'd give given the new revised version to when she won a copy from a contest. In her review she went on and on about how she had an urge to take a highlighter to it. She also mentioned she's an editor for Twilight Fan Fiction so I felt slightly better, but not much.
 

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I just downloaded the sample and read a few pages. I don't think it's really a typo-like issue. Perhaps an editor who will help you work through things like awkward dialog tags and distracting adverbs? I'm certainly no expert, but I think a run-through with those sorts of things in mind couldn't hurt.
 

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I'm going through the same thing. I got a review last week that said my book was full of errors. This was the first review that mentioned such. I went through it again and tried to fix anything that could be considered an error and reloaded. But now I'm getting reviews left and right speaking of grammatical errors. I've sent it off to an editor but I'm in a queue and waiting now.
 

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Seriously, there is no way you can tell.  When people know you're an indie, they'll claim you need editing, even if you're actually publishing previously published and professionally edited work.

So one thing you could do is pay for an editor to let you know where your weak spots are.  In that case, you're not paying for editing, you're paying for education and peace of mind.  (So it would probably be better to pay more for an experienced pro -- just to be sure.)

Here's something about professional editing, though.  Many of the edits will be optional.  I've noticed that the higher the rank, and experience, of a top editor, the fewer of the "optional" type edits were made.  When they were made, it was for very logical and practical reasons, not creative ones.  (Usually they were just matching "house style.")  At the same magazine, you'd find that with the younger editors (and sometimes even copy editors) more than half the edits would be "optional" style edits, for creative reasons.  In those cases I found that one quarter of the edits were necessary, another quarter weren't necessary but did improve the manuscript, and fully one half were either useless or downright harmful to the prose.  I seldom got much of a fight over the half that were bad -- I'd just "stet" them all back, and sometimes the editor would ask why, and when I told them, they'd accept it.

One of the reasons for this, though, is that the top editor can edit with confidence.  She's the decision-maker.  A younger editor wants to be sure to catch every possible error, and wants to impress, so is over eager.

To this day I consider that a pretty good ratio for a hired line editor -- since such a person is NOT the boss, and so needs to catch more than everything.

Camille
 
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Just as an FYI-- I have not had this issue, and I have not read the book in question, so I am just speaking from reading reviews...

This seems to be a trend in reviews of historical romance.  I am very, very hard on these kinds of errors myself.  That having been said... I keep coming across it without justification.

One thing I have discovered about amazon reviews?  There are a lot of VERY uneducated twerps trying to sound intellectual.  I've noticed it with increasing frequency.  Part of that is probably my "other" job (language forensics).  Part of it is being an avid reader, myself, and impulsively checking reviews.

I have a spidey-sense thing going on with this particular criticism.  It seems to me-- again, just my own observations-- this trend is born of a particular reviewer trying to sound erudite.  It's not that this isn't a legitimate beef.  It's just MHO that many of the power-b*tchers in the review circles love to rip apart any historical romance they find with the same machete.
 

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I'd get a 10-page free edit. (You can get one from Precision Editing Group--I'm on staff there, but there are several other editors who are great.)

I'd also have someone with expertise in your historical era read over it. Maybe there are historical inaccuracies you aren't aware of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the advice I'll get another 10 page edit. This just boggles my mind. I did have an editor for my time period read through it and the two major inconsistencies I had in there that I couldn't change because they were conducive to the plot were explained in a way that should have made them "acceptable". Perhaps not.

Thanks, Monique for the comment about run ons and dialogue tags. I don't know why, but I really like dialogue tags. I have cut down on using them as I've written more books, but I know I have a lot of them in that one. I don't think a person can win for losing with the run-ons though. I've seen people get drilled for run-ons then see the same reviewer get someone else for simple sentences. It's ridiculous,

I have to agree with Oliewankanibe, I think it's easy to jump on the "this needs editing" bandwagon, but when it's your book in question, you become a bit more paranoid about it.

I'm sorry to hear that, Sybil. I hope your experience with it doesn't turn out like mine.
 

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Terrence OBrien said:
Language forensics? That's a new one. What is it?
I am not sure this is the modern or current usage, but we did some stuff in grad school when we were doing paleography that I think may be what it means.

Basically, word use can act as a kind of genome. With really OLD writing it can be a matter of errors in, say, a Latin text which can tell lead you back to where a particular translation change took place, even if the original is gone. You can reconstruct the path of copies to an implied original.

In more modern usage, a good example might be some of the Y2K scare pamphlets which could be traced by language use. Some of the pamphlets were traced to particular commercial companies, but the most interesting were some odd pamphlets which predicted the end of civilization and general chaos. Though the text had been scrubbed clean of any references to race, certain odd phrases used could be traced to turn of the previous century race baiting pamphlets -- which predicted end of the world and chaos due to racial equality -- and it did turn out the pamphlet had been created by a white supremecist group.

What was more interesting is that some of the phrasing found its way into the Y2K literature of other conservative groups, but the pattern fell off, and it seemed clear they had been influenced by the scrubbed Y2K literature, but these pamphlets had nothing from the old racist material that wasn't in the new one -- therefore were not directly influenced by it.

Specialized usages arise, and pass through groups all the time, and you can sometimes trace ideas and memes via language.

Not sure if this is what was meant, but it's a fascinating study.

Camille
 

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I don't know if the tags are the issue, but they really jumped out for me. It's easy to become enamored with them and not realize you're even doing it. (There are six on your first page.) I think they can be distracting to readers and many people consider too many creative tags a complete showstopper.

Hopefully, an editor or two will be able to help you nail the issues. :)

 
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Language and literary forensics-- studying either the spoken or written word for either clues or a profile.

It isn't really new.  :)
 

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Hey Rose,

Bad reader reader reviews.  Everybody gets them.  Since you sound a bit upset lets take a look at them.  Your one worst reviewer is K from OR and although she has reviewed 7 Amazon items, 3 are your books.  Strange?  Her other reviews are for diet snacks and brownies and the Danielle Steele 2 DVD Set and some other book.  Furthermore, she wrote all 3 of your reviews on the same day.  She states she read 8% of one book, 3% of another and a big 16% of another.  Really gave your books a chance, eh?  She seems dubious at best and I would totally discount her reviews.  Did you know her in another life?  Something here is off.  Way off.

But that still leaves you with a few more reviews. Typos etc.  Like others said I would divide it into sections and send some of them to different editors and get their opinion on a read through.  Do you have typos etc or worse?  Get their feedback.

I'm not a Romance pesron but as I understand it, Regency Romance period was for a brief 30+/- year reign of King George and it has it's particuliar conventions, mannerisms, fashions, morals and speech so you want to make sure you have that down accurately.

Usually the more successful one is the more bad reviews they get. Just look at poor James Patterson laughing all the way to the bank, I think his last deal got him 150M advance.  Terrible writer too.  Good luck!
 
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