Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Consequences of Crap Editing -- cannegardner

I was doing my weekly small press research, looking at submission guidelines, genres accepted, and other items of note, when I stumbled upon an interesting and very honest guideline for all writers. I will leave the press unmentioned, but it is a literary press, specializing in mystery and thrillers.

Here on the peeps, we often discuss the necessity of editing. Why? Bad Editing equates to Bad Writing. Nothing is simpler to understand than that. And yet, many self-published authors just don't get it. This doesn't only apply to manuscript submissions, either; it applies to every piece of written communication you put out into the world that might affect potential readers: emails, blog posts, query letters, review requests -- you get the idea. We hear a lot of buzz about editing, mostly of the snark variety, but rarely do I come across, not only a clear set of rules, but the true reasons why those rules exist in the first place. Now we are not talking about the occasional typo or missing comma here -- that happens to everyone -- but if you don't know what we are talking about, I would suggest taking a refresher course in grammar/editing. I think the points below explain why in no uncertain terms:

The Negative Impact of Typographical Errors
• Implies the writer doesn't care about his own book.
• Shows a lack of respect for those who are asked to read the manuscript.
• Implies the writer may be difficult to work with.
The Negative Impact of Improper Punctuation
• Implies the writer doesn't care about his own book.
• Shows a lack of respect for those who are asked to read the manuscript.
• Proves the lack of a proofreader.
• Implies laziness or ignorance or both.

And yes, acquisitions editors do take into consideration the differences in punctuation styles, British vs. American for example. Consistency is the key in those cases.


Floyd M. Orr said...

Excellent post, Cheryl Anne! As the editor of PODBRAM, I could certainly compile a long list of authors who have blatantly ignored these common sense rules concerning editing and proofreading. Keep up the good work!


Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Thanks Floyd.
I really did find that in PDF form on a press site, under their submission guidelines. It was called Advice for Authors.

We have all had an off editorial day. I'll tell you the story about my wenches vs. winches someday. It makes for quite a visual.

I'll be starting a new column in the next few weeks on review criticism and the value of the nitpick.