I am about to open a can of worms. I know this, but I feel so passionate about the subject that I need to comment on it.


I’m the proud owner of an iPad (which is annoyingly now updated! But that’s a whole different blog!).


My iPad is mainly used for writing and reading (amongst other things). Those of you that have visited this blog before will know that I am an avid reader and lover of books; these can be paper or electronic. My loyalties and heart will always be with paper. The feeling you get whilst turning a page; the scent that fills the air around you with nostalgia and memories whilst you hold your tome of choice in your hands. But, we have to accept that times are changing and the format from which we read is rapidly changing too. I own a vast number of EBooks in a variety of genres and each year I purchase fifty or more paper books; the majority of which are new releases.

Some girls buy shoes…. I buy books.

I am writing this blog as a reader primarily, and a writer secondary.

What driving force leads you to select one book / genre over another?

For me, it’s not a pretty cover – I know the marketing processes having worked in sales and PR – or whether it’s on a table at the front of a shop. It’s not because it’s an Amazon / iTunes best-seller (though, I do check those lists). When selecting my books I either read a sample chapter or extended blurb / first couple of pages, or it’s because of a recommendation; word of mouth. Most of my friends are avid readers too. I have also been known to contact friends on creative writing courses and ask for their reading lists (yes, i’m that sad).

A thirst for knowledge (non-fiction), beautiful wording and a great story drive me to buy my books.

Two weeks ago I purchased a selection of eBooks. Some of my choices were recommended by Twitter friends (followers), or were by the authors themselves. I’m happy to say that the majority were fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed them…BUT…there were some hefty duds amongst my purchases and I only wished that they came with return and refund guarantee!

It’s disappointing and grinding to read an opening chapter FULL of typing errors, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues. I know that some clever person is going to go through this blog and find errors (I hope not!) but i’m not making people pay to visit! If the story seemed reasonable, I tried to continue (red pen extracted from my mind) but this only uncovered more issues; gaping holes in the plot, uncharacteristic behaviours, unbelievable dialogue, amongst many other problems. I know that this is not the norm, but it’s becoming more prevalent.

Why is this happening? How are these terrible books getting published?

This is only my opinion, feel free to offer your own, but I believe that it is because many more people are self-publishing. Anyone can purchase software and produce an eBook. Writers who do this are generally bypassing the copy-editing stage. Proofreading your own book doesn’t count. By the time you come to the end of your WIP you will have read the same text over and over; you won’t spot even the most basic mistakes.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I implore you, as a keen reader / potential customer (also trainee copy-editor), before you publish anything; pay for it to be professionally edited. There are so many companies out there offering this facility (I will be one very soon!) and it is well worth the money if you want people to buy your books.

This experience has put me off purchasing any more eBooks by self-published authors.

I’m hoping some wonderful author will come forth and change my mind! I don’t like discrimination!

I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to this blog, only accepting it for what it is; advice and help for a fellow writer.

Now let’s get out there and show them how it is done!

  1. Deer Baby says:

    I have to agree with you. Editors are there for a reason – they point out mistakes that even a spellcheck may not have picked up. I know a lot of people say spelling and grammar doesn’t matter and that it’s the content that counts, but it puts me off. I trained as a journalist for which we had to pass subbing and proofing courses and then became a script editor for a while. I read hundreds and hundreds of scripts and, if the first page was full of mistakes, I was reluctant to read on. I think the rise of self publishing is a double edge sword in this respect – whilst it’s breaking down barriers and opening everything up, there’s no longer that vital checkpoint.

    Now really worried I’ve done a typo here!

  2. I agree with you Deer Baby, thanks for taking the time to comment. Let’s hope that people will read this and feel as self-conscious as you and me! 🙂

  3. It’s definitely a double-edged sword. For every self-published author that is getting their work edited and going through all the necessary steps, there’s another who is rushing to “print.” I wouldn’t discount all indie authors–there are just too many great ones for that–but I would be careful about future purchases.

    • Hi Anthony, thanks for taking the time to comment. I would hate to discount Indie authors too 😦 I did read some excellent short stories. I shall be more selective in the future! 🙂

  4. Maggie says:

    Yes, I most definitely agree. All those self-published authors who don’t bother to do a basic copyedit are giving the authors who put in the effort a bad name.

    • Hi Maggie, thanks for your comment. I agree, it’s truly heartbreaking when you not only spend hours editing but then also either pay for an edit, or are lucky enough to have an editor that also spends hours going through your work! Good luck to you. I look forward to reading your work 🙂

  5. lukeraftl says:


    My friend, I’ve never bought a self-pubbed book, don’t own a Kindle or an iPad, but I’ve been looking into it, thinking about taking the plunge. The thing is, I’d still buy the same books I do now even if I was purchasing it electronically. The only self-pubbed book I can see myself buying is one released by a friend (either in real life or here in cyberspace) that I trust to do the process right, or maybe one that has gone viral and received much great word-of-mouth and external reviews. I just can’t trust an unknown, potentially clumsy wannabe author (like myself, I know) with my valuable reading time!

    Anthony is right, we can’t just discount all indie authors – I think the movement is wonderful and full of amazing possibilities for us – but for now it is largely unregulated, and the crap is getting in with the diamonds.

    I believe this will shift as the industry grows and some kind of mechanism evolves to sort through the sludge. I guess this comment of mine goes to show that a stigma still exists, even by those who are open-minded to the idea and the potential that e-books and self-publishing bring. It’s a brave new world for publishing, but there is still a long way to go before the creases ave been ironed out of the system.

    • Luke my lovely friend! Thanks for your comment. I’m hoping that sites that sell these books, such as Omnilit / Amazon / iTunes become more strict about what they sell. I do feel like I’ve been cheated out of my hard earned cash! Good luck with your own editing. If you ever need a second pair of eyes, just let me know; I’d be happy to help! Take care 🙂

  6. Roberta says:

    Not having gone the e-book route as a reader (I love the look of books overflowing on shelves), I can’t comment on the poor/lack of editing you describe. However, I have a problem with the free or 99 cent e-books (even $2.99)… Sounds suspiciously like “Made in China” to me. I can’t even wrap my head around going that route as a writer. Maybe I’ll change my tune someday, but until then, I’ll happily join the line in query hell!

    • Roberta, I’m with you. I have books everywhere! I love everything about books. Going electronic did feel somewhat treacherous at first; I hid it from my bookshelf! But, I’m glad that I did. I would never have read some of the wonderful short stories that are out there. I agree that they are far too cheap for the amount of work put in. Those that have not had the work don’t deserve to have a charge, or even be available for others to read. Good luck in your own endeavours, see you in the queue, I’ll bring the flask 🙂

  7. emilyrae says:

    I’ve been reviewing several self-published books recently for http://www.novelpublicity.com , a new business that specializes in social media PR for authors, especially self-published ones. I didn’t know much about the industry before now, and I’m still a bit unsure about ebooks in general. If I ever get a book published (now that’s a thought that’s WAAAAY out there), I’d want it to be available in hard copy so people can enjoy it the old-fashioned way. Still, I have lots of respect for authors who work hard at publishing their own stuff–it’s definitely a process!

    • Hey Emily (Rachel), thank you for your precious time 🙂 I know of Novel Publicity, they are doing an amazing job. You are right, SP & Indie authors do have a hard job. They not only have to write the book but also, market it and front all of the costs. These enthusiastic authors need to be MORE careful about what they print; they need repeat business. I’m like you, I would like to go down the old fashioned route; I’m not brave enough to SP! Good luck with your own book, remember me when you are famous! If there is anything that I can do to help, you let me know 🙂

  8. Tony says:

    I’ve noticed it’s usually the writers whose work is full of errors that claim grammar and punctuation aren’t important, it’s the story that counts. I’ve never heard that thought expressed by an accomplished writer. Funny.
    Every one of us who writes, longs to have our work read and appreciated by others, regardless of our respective abilities, but I for one would be mortified if a rough, unedited draft got posted by mistake. I want my work read, but only when I know it’s the very best it can possibly be.
    Some people love singing, but can’t really do it. They might have a laugh at a Kareoke evening and be cheered on by their friends. Everybody has fun and no harm’s done. It’s not as if they are expecting people to buy CDs of their feeble efforts before they can hear them.
    Is there an e-place where beginner writers can share their work for free? (I’m not into e-books at all, yet) A sort of Writers’ Kareoke site. Is that what’s needed?

  9. I’ve not yet caught up with the technology, so know nothing about e-books, but I reckon it’s bad enough with traditional books. I recently bought a best-seller, published by Penguin, which had great reviews (‘Angelology’ by Danielle Trussoni) and it was very disappointing. “Compulsively readable, thrilling and much, much better than Dan Brown” – Daily Express. “Almost unreadable, tedious, and much, much worse than Dan Brown” – WtheU.
    If we can get conned into thinking that a book seems worth buying by normally reliable reviewers, and it’s been published by a major publisher, then how much more likely is it that a self-published book recommended by others will turn out to be a complete pile of arse pants?
    And when did we stop calling ‘self-publishing’ ‘vanity press’?

    • Hey Wrath, finally found your comment in Spam!! I read the same book fir the same reason! There were great sections in the book that were a pleasure to read but on the whole it was slow paced at best!
      There are differences between SP and vanity press but those differences appear to be disappearing! Great comment, thank you for taking the time 🙂

  10. Debi says:

    It’s true that typos can make their way into trad published books too. But at least readers will know the book has been through a complete editing process – by which I mean the kind of full edit (structure, pace, characters etc) which is provided by the publisher. And that’s before you even get to the copy editing and proofreading stages.

    You’re spot on. While self-publishing is an option, and a welcome one for those authors who have written damn fine books but are struggling (or unwilling to try) for a trad deal, the problem is that there’s no filter. So there’s no guarantee that it hasn’t been written by a dyslexic spaniel with 4 left paws. Let the buyer beware!

    OTOH, I have edited some wonderful books which are so challenging in structure or form or content that I know that, in these hard times, a deal is going to be hard to achieve. For those authors, the ability to self-pub is heaven sent.

    Now they just have to handle the promotion and distribution ,,,

    • Hi Debi, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. As a published author yourself, you understand more than most the necessity for editing. Times do appear to be getting harder for new authors but that should make people even more stringent about their work. Thanks Debi and you do an amazing job with The Writers’ Workshop. Looking forward to seeing you at York 🙂

  11. Emlyn Chand says:

    Hello, my persistent friend. Google Alerts directed me to this fabulous post, due to Novel Publicity’s mention in the comments section. Believe me, I can well relate to your plea! Would you be willing to allow us to use this or a similar post for a guest spot on Novel Publicity? We’d run it with your bio, links, and possibly a photo (if you wanted that). We’d love to feature it. Maybe help you find more traffic over here on your fabulous blog 😉

    Novel Publicity

    • Hi Emlyn,

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      Of course Novel Publicity can use this post. I would be more than willing to do a similar post if you need to make any changes. I feel very flattered that you have asked (I can’t stop grinning).
      Thank you for your support.
      Kirie 🙂

      • Emlyn Chand says:

        Hooray, I’m glad you’re so excited! Novel Publicity is always looking for insightful, high-quality posts about writing, publishing, and platform-building. Let’s continue this conversation via email when you send me the info needed to activate you as a blog tour host. I’m excited too 🙂

  12. […] This blogger is especially proud of the article she wrote entitled “Ebooks/ Copy-editing and Stupid Mistakes:”  read it here […]

  13. Rose says:

    Hi guys, I know I am late in responding to this post, but I had to add my 2 cents. Self publishing is very difficult because we compete with so many people who think they can make money out of that story they wrote when they got back home drunk from a night out, I know. It must frustrate readers to no end.

    However, there are great indie authors out there. My husband is an English university professor at a great institution and is going to put up his fantasy e-books for sale pretty soon. He chose that route because he had several agents interested in his books, but then the publishers say “it is a great story, but people like more mainstreaming stories.” Basically, publishers are choosing to publish only stories they know will sell. Nothing original, just stuff that is safe enough so they know they will make a profit.

    So, after being so close to get a deal and being turned down so many times because the story is not what you always see out there, he’s ready to e-publish. We feel like readers should choose how far they want to take their imagination – not publishers.

    So, we are spending a big chunk of our family savings to design professional covers (it is a 3-book series), to get the e-books copy edited, proofread and evaluated, so we can put out there the best product we can. It will take us about 4 more months to have each book finalized, but we respect the readers and we want to offer the best we can.

    So, please, good readers: don’t disregard all indie authors. There are great stuff out there.

    PS: Also, don’t judge my husband’s work based on my poor English skills. I am an ESL.

    Thanks all!

  14. Regina says:

    I completely agree. I have recently returned to my obsession of reading (mostly ebooks) and have become so frustrated with the number of errors I am finding. It has gotten so bad that I have started making enotes at each point. This obviously is distracting from my otherwise enjoyable escape from reality for a few hours. I sometimes wish I could print the book, mark all the errors I have found and send it back to the author. I do not claim to hold a Master’s in Grammar (far from it), but if I can spot the mistakes, it must be pretty bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s