Monday, July 30, 2012

The Write Editing Aleviates Mistakes

‘I do not believe there is any truth to the rumor that top authors are edited less closely than newer ones.  While David's novels are read by a number of individuals during the extensive editing, copyediting and proofreading process, errors are sometimes missed.’ 

Kristen M. White
Executive Director
Columbus Rose, Ltd.
David Baldacci Enterprises

Two years ago today, I met a most amazing woman−honoured historian and author, Jean Elford.  On learning that I was one of the newer members of WIT –a writing group of which she was a founding member almost fifty years before− she asked about my work. 
She seemed most interested in my novel and congratulated me on my accomplishment.  Never mind that it wasn’t published.  She seemed to think it was quite a feat to actually finish a novel.  Perhaps −much like her friend, Peggy Fletcher− the kind words were meant to encourage a new writer.  Jean passed away this year at the age of 100.  (Actually, life-long friends Peggy Fletcher and Jean Elford, died within five days of each other.) 
This week’s blog is not about Jean Elford; though she would make a fascinating subject.  This week’s blog is about mistakes. 
During our first visit, Jean emphatically stated that there are never any mistakes in a manuscript until it’s published.  She seemed quite certain.
I always cringe when spotting an error in a book.  It is very distracting.  In the last several years, I have noticed many.
How could that be?  They’re so simple to catch.  A missing word here, a typo there.  Correct them!
When I read a ‘self-published’ book and see a mistake, I feel the angst of the writer.  How Maddening!  How Frustrating!
When I read an error in a bestseller, I shake my head in disbelief.  This is not acceptable.  Where are the proofreaders and editors?  The manuscript is read a zillion times before it’s printed.  How on earth do mistakes get through?
Or is it because the publishing companies have cut back on proofreaders?  Are new publications not closely scrutinized?
I had heard that it is the most famous of authors that have the most mistakes in their books.  Why?  Because they don’t make mistakes.  They do not need close editing.  Or so the theory goes.
I once read the ending of a book that had the main character taking a long holiday with his children.  Throughout the entire book, he did not have children.  I know how that happened.  This got cut...That got cut....But the other was forgotten.  They edited out the part about his family but did not catch that one BIGGIE reference in the last chapter. 
But this shouldn’t happen with big time authors and big time publishers.  Should it?
I’m a fan of David Baldacci.  I just finished reading his latest release, The Innocent.  There were several mistakes in this book.  Words missing in a sentence.  Typos, etc.  oops! 
At the end of the book, David Baldacci invites his readers to contact him.  I couldn’t help myself.  I just had to ask.  I received a prompt reply; an excerpt of which I share at the beginning of this blog post.
Have you noticed a larger number of mistakes in recent publications?  Do you find it as offputting as I do, or am I a nitpicker?  I look forward to your response.


  1. I don't think you are nit-picky, Phyllis, unless I am too! :)

    1. Okay, it's a tie! I received an email saying I am nit-picky.
      Do others notice these errors or do they only jump out at me?
      Thanks for comment, Elena