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Meg Leigh

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Editing and proofing for publication
By Meg Leigh   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, November 02, 2008
Posted: Sunday, November 02, 2008

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A commentary on the number of errors in published writing.

I don't know about anyone else, apart from my partner and myself, but I am wondering just how many people have noticed the prevalence - and it is increasing - of typographical errors these days in published books?

Good proof reading seems to be getting harder and harder to find, with even books from mainstream publishers coming off the press with one or two -- sometimes more -- errors still in the text.

There are probably various reasons for why this happens, but the main ones, I should imagine would have to be the speed of production nowadays and the ever present 'bottom line' or budget.

Proof reading costs money. Editing costs money. Good proof reading and editing costs even more money and they all take time and attention to detail. The sad fact is, these days, the money is not available, and the time to get a salable product onto the shelves is growing shorter.

What I think this means is that it is becoming, increasingly, down to the author to ensure he or she has done everything physically possible to make the manuscript as error free or 'clean,' as they say in the industry, as possible. This needs to be done way before it gets to the editing and proofing stage at the publisher.

The smaller the press, the more important it will be that the author either self edits, or employs someone to edit their work before submitting it to the publisher and sometimes even after submitting.

I've known some authors to object to this idea and frankly, I can't understand why. At the end of the day, the book is your product. It's the thing that will publicly represent you to your readers. The question is, do you want a representation that is a pleasure to read, and makes your consumer want more, or do you want something that your consumer will regret buying and hurl across the room in frustration?

Web Site: Margaret Leigh

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Reviewed by Malcolm Watts (Reader) 11/3/2008
You are quite correct. Even using an editor paid by onself, mistakes slip through as I found with my book, Reflections from Shadow. Editing and proofreading is a vanishing skill. I only know of a few people who are expert at it - I am not one of them. Malcolm Watts

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