People Like Me Are Why You Need a Good Proofreader

Poor grammar and spelling appear to be an epidemic affecting our country.  Okay, so maybe it’s not as newsworthy or mind blowing as obesity, gun control, homelessness, etc.  But for self-titled Grammar Nazis like myself, finding free and loose spelling and grammar in print is like nails on a chalkboard.  (Insert high-pitched screech here).   Unfortunately I see it everywhere.  In advertising.  On television.  In magazines.  Even on materials my son brings home from school. That’s right, the very institution that is supposedly teaching our children is educating them with random capitalization, misspelled words and the abuse of commas and apostrophes.  I love seeing how many “test’s” he is going to have and how “mistake’s” won’t be tolerated.  That’s pretty darn funny.   Severely frustrating is that he will turn in papers that have text slang (such as “these books r popular”), miscapitalization (“I saw charles Throw the ball”) and without a date or even his own name on them and guess what?  That’s right!  No points taken off and no red ink whatsoever to highlight the mistakes.  (Remember those days of papers and tests being graded in red ink?)  Boy, have we become a lazy and tolerant society.

As a book reviewer, if I see these errors in an ARC or finished product it can affect my feelings on the book.  I have had a few books that are so enchanting that I can overlook the mistakes.  But it doesn’t happen often.  If the errors are truly significant, I will put the book down.  Let me repeat:  I will put the book down.

If you’re a writer you know that is the equivalent to the kiss of death for an author.  You want readers to like your work but even those that have a healthy dislike to the point of discussion (think of Twilight and 50 Shades of Overhyped Crap for starters) at least care enough to debate.  A DNF (or Did Not Finish) on the other hand . . . well, you get the point.

With Spellcheck being readily available on every computer, most spelling errors are nothing more than sheer laziness and a lack of pride in your work.  Your name is on that cover and that title page.  Don’t let simple mistakes reflect on your overall work.  (And speaking of Spellcheck, like most forms of birth control, it’s not necessarily 100% effective so have a Plan B).

What is Plan B, you might ask?  A trusted proofreader and/or editor, who will read your manuscript for content and form and give you honest feedback.  Don’t trust yourself to pick up every mistake; our brains read what we intend to write and what we want to read, not necessarily what we have written.  And Mom, I love you, but I could write obituaries and you would think I should be on the bestseller list.

So don’t leave your reputation and your Amazon rating up to chance.  Make editing and proofreading part of your writing routine and experience.

Now get to writing!


11 thoughts on “People Like Me Are Why You Need a Good Proofreader

  1. Great post Lori. I have found mistakes in many of the books I have read. One book had two slightly different versions of the same paragraph. I guess the wrong draft made it to production.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Melissa.

    Minor mistakes I can overlook. I hate to say they are expected but some small things do slip through the cracks. But when you see a manuscript or book full of them. . . arrrghh! In this day of self-publishing, it can be pretty rampant. I have seen a character’s attire change in the same paragraph but I haven’t seen the same paragraph, with slightly different versions, printed twice. Yet. Ouch!

    Have a great Thursday!

  3. Education seems to be in chronic decline with this need to cram so much in and leave the basics under covered. After reading this, I think we are going to get on very well.

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  10. We get notes from my son’s school with errors, too. They’re not usually things spell check would fix, but notes from the office come with disturbingly regular added-in apostrophes. I always want to correct it (yes, in red ink!) and send it back.

    Little things are always going to slip through, but a second opinion is vital. I know my own work so well that I see what’s supposed to be there instead of what is, and that makes it hard to fix the tiny mistakes that distract readers. I like to think I have a good grasp of grammar, but oh, the typos… *shudder*

    (PS- hope all is well with you)

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