A word about editing
I’ve gotten MANY emails, messages, even late-night texts (yeah, thanks for that) from readers and friends telling me about the errors in my novels. To be honest, it’s kind of annoying. To save you some trouble in contacting me over this manner and beating a dead horse, I’ve decided to explain to you my “editing process.”
Here’s the thing: I do know how to string together a sentence. I do know grammar, spelling, etc. I went to university and walked out with a Bachelor’s of Journalism. I’ve worked as a journalist. I’ve got degrees in screenwriting from Vancouver Film School. I know “you’re” and “your” and when to use them.
With all that said, even the best writers can have hellish errors in their work (and I’m just mediocre). When I write, I am doing so in a flurry. I am basically in another plane of existence, another time zone, another place where I am just the medium through which the characters channel out their story. Sometimes I don’t even remember what I’ve written until I’ve looked it over the next day – it’s a unique and special process that I wouldn’t change for the world.
While I am in this “zone” I stop paying attention to the nitty gritty. I don’t pay attention to spelling, even when it’s underlined in red. I miss words that I think I’m writing down. I may switch my tenses. I may even use the wrong word entirely. It doesn’t matter. If I were to pay attention to every word that left my hands, I wouldn’t be able to write. And I think many writers would agree.
Then comes the next part – reading over my work. Here is where I tighten things up (hopefully) or fix the mistakes I see. But, surely you must realize how hard it is for someone to catch their own errors – you are seeing only what you meant to have written. This is why no writer can truly edit their own books, or why no brain surgeon can perform surgery on their own brain.
And so, you hire an editor. Or, if you’re pressed for time as I often am, you enlist a group of people to read over your work and look for errors. When I first started writing Experiment in Terror, I did hire an editor. He was recommended by another writer and I paid him for his time.
He was the wrong editor for me. I wasn’t happy with the quality, and sadly I was in such a rush to release the books and so low on funds at that time, that I had to put the books out there.
As you can tell, every single Experiment in Terror book has been either edited by this person or by a group of hardworking friends. There are mistakes. A lot of them.
In a perfect world, I would go back and fix them all and make each book as perfect as possible. But here’s the thing…Darkhouse has been downloaded by well over 100,000 people. The rest of the books have sold over 6,000 copies each. The defeatist in me thinks “well, the damage is done”, while other parts of me wish I had the extra money and the time. The time is a big part. To re-edit all of my novels, I’d be spending at least a month or two doing so. I don’t have a month or two to spare at the moment. My books are my only source of income and I have a packed schedule. A month or two editing for something that’s been out there for a year is time I need to be writing.
That’s the bad news. I DO hope to re-edit them one day, but at this point in my career it’s just not feasible. Perhaps if I took a vacation, I could do it then
So, if you’re shaking your head at the errors and feel the need to contact me over them – don’t bother. I already know. And I apologize for them being there. Even books that have been looked over tons of times by different people STILL have errors. It’s the name of the game. Even traditionally published books have errors in them – go ahead and look. And they have a whole team of trained professionals going through them. I am ONE person coordinating all of this, a one-woman show. I am doing the best I can while trying to write the best story for you.
The good news is that there should be fewer mistakes going forward. I have a wonderful editor Kara Malinczak, who has worked on The Devil’s Metal and Sins & Needles and most of my upcoming books. Her talent and eye, combined with proofreaders such as Elizabeth, Matt, Megan and Kelly, are making those books the best that they can be.
Also, The Devil’s Metal and the upcoming Lost in Wanderlust, have been picked up by a publisher, Diversion Books. It’s going to be so nice for these to be edited by the publishing house, something I will have nothing to do with and won’t have to worry about. It’s one last major stress that I don’t have to deal with.
So, if you find mistakes in any of Diversion’s books, please feel free to contact them and let them know. If you find more typos in my books — please, make a note of it in your review if you want! Just don’t contact me personally over it…I’m too busy writing
(and yes, I am sure there are a tons of typos in this post).
For the record, I am not saying that readers don’t have a right to be upset over typos in a book. They do. The book belongs to them once it is published. Really — books belong to the readers and I do strive to make each book the best it can be. But sometimes your best is NOT good enough. Fact of life.
Personally, if I read a book that has too many errors and it pulls me out of the story, I get annoyed. I think, “damn, I wish I could read this more smoothly” — SO I DO UNDERSTAND WHERE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM. And authors who don’t know the basic fundamentals of the English language, who can’t master simple words or know the difference between “than” and “then” and “They’re, their, there” — well they annoy the hell out of me. Makes me want to yell “take an English class!”
And I have the right to yell it — in my review. People can say whatever they like in their reviews. I have many reviews complaining about the typos. Totally fair.
What I don’t like — what the point of the post is - is people personally contacting me over it. That’s going a bit too far and stretching the author/reader relationship. I love to hear from you, really it makes my day, but when you send me emails and messages over negative crap like that, I feel like the negativity is seeping into my inbox and into my life. I can easily avoid reading reviews when I’m feeling down — I can’t avoid reading each email I get.
I hope that clears up some things. I can be a grammar Nazi too, believe it or not (just not with my own work unfortunately) and I love that people contact me. But I do try and keep a simple and positive life going. Writing takes a LOT out of you (that’s a whole other post) and some days I just want to keep the good vibes going.
To see how other authors fair with this, please check out Amanda Hocking’s thoughts on it in this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tonya-plank/meet-mega-bestselling-ind_b_804685.html
Again, I understand if typos bother people. If my typos bother YOU, I’m with ya! They bother me too. And they should. I’m not trying to say you’re a terrible person if they bother you. You’re not. You’re a reader and you have the right to be annoyed.
Just as I have the right to be annoyed over the way I am contacted over these issues. That’s all.
I also realize that some people who have contacted me probably thought that they were the only ones to do so and thought they were doing me a favor. This post is my way of telling everyone, you know what, I know.
OKAY seriously back to writing now