Why Is Editing So Important?

Well, I am back . . . to a degree, but not 100%. Recuperation may be several months and may require surgery at some point, so it is just a waiting game for a while.

In the meantime, I’m working to, at least, get back into the swing of things—to a degree—if that is possible. Only time will tell.

What I have been doing is catching up on my reading. I’ve probably gone through close to a book per day for the last two months. Yes, all Pride and Prejudice Variations. There are bunches of new authors and new P&P’s on Amazon, and most are entertaining, and a good many are excellent variations. For the most part, I’ve read all I’ve started with the exception of a couple which did not catch my interest. Wasn’t the subject, but the way they were written just didn’t do the job. Eventually, I will try them again . . . just not right now.

For the most part, the majority of the books are well written and well edited as far as misspellings. However, there were a number of books that did have missing words, sometimes in numerous places.

Steven Walling ~ https://web.archive.org/web/universaleditbutton.org/Image:UEB.svg ~ CC BY-SA 3.0

All this begs the question ‘Why is editing so important’? I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading and I come across misspellings, missing words, or really rotten punctuation, it throws me out of the flow of the book.  I wind up kind of shaking myself like a dog that was dumped in a pond and crawled up on shore and is trying to dry off before I start reading again. I’m also a tad aggravated that it happened as well.

Does poor editing take away some of the pleasure of a particular book’s story? Yes, it can.

So, even though I am a preliminary editor for my stories and other’s books, I also have a final editor to make my books as error free as possible. Part of what I have found that helps is to read at least part of each book aloud. Usually this is done when I am correcting certain passages and helps to ensure that they are as close to 100% error free as possible.

Why read aloud as an author? Did you know that your brain will make corrections but not let you know the manuscript needs to be corrected? I guarantee it will. When you read aloud, you bring in another sense: the sense of hearing which will catch about 99% of mistakes.

Although no book is 100% error free, I have had a couple of times that I received a pat on the back because of my editing.  That’s why, since I’m not Jane Austen, I do my best not to give my reviewers a sword to hack my books to pieces for bad editing.

Unfortunately for authors, Amazon is allowing ratings with no reviews (like Goodreads which is also owned by Amazon).  As authors, that is no help at all because we have no idea WHY the rater gave a book a 3, 2, or 1 star rating. I’ve been tempted to petition Amazon to make those who give crummy ratings do a review so authors know what they need to correct in particular books and what to look for in the future. However, knowing Amazon and how unwilling they are to be reasonable in connection with book reviews, I feel it will probably be a losing battle.

You might ask: Do I write reviews? Occasionally I do. However, unless I am able to give a 4 or 5 stars to an author’s book, I do not. I am loathe to give less than 4 stars because of how it can ruin an author’s rating. It takes several 5 stars to bring up a 3 or less rating. I also refuse to do spoilers. 

I have also done reviews that Amazon refused, then I turned around and resubmitted the exact same review and it was accepted. Please explain that. 

How about you? When you come across bad editing, how do you feel or react? Are you still willing to give a fairly good review in spite of numerous editing errors? Please let me know in your comments below.

BTW, I am reading this post aloud and hope I find all errors before it goes up.  🙂


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16 responses to “Why Is Editing So Important?”

  1. Barry Richman Avatar
    Barry Richman

    Excellent points regarding reading aloud and missing necessary edits. I have two ‘professional listeners’; I read my MS aloud and watch their reactions for emotion as well as repetirive words within the same paragraph. Inguess you have to enjoy the sound of your own voice!

    1. Gianna Thomas Avatar
      Gianna Thomas

      Thank you, Barry. In writing and in editing I’m always looking for echoes. They are way too easy to use and miss and can be really irritating…at least for my reading pleasure. I try not to allow them within about 5-6 paragraphs.

      And, yeah! I like the sound of my voice. 🙂

  2. Nancy Avatar

    Yes! I have a proofreader’s brain, and poor editing drives me crazy. This applies not only to mechanics — misspelled words, missing words, correct punctuation, proper tenses, etc. — but also to time frame issues and poorly worded content. Finding a mistake spoils the flow. My philosophy as a proofreader/editor is that the book should be perfect for the reader. It’s a high bar, but a good one for which to take aim!

  3. Gianna Thomas Avatar
    Gianna Thomas

    I agree, Nancy, that an author should aim to make the book as perfect as one can. Unfortunately, as humans we are imperfect so that bar is usually out of reach. However, we should do the best job we can in that department.

    As a reader, I am loathe to read with a red pencil in my hand. I don’t feel that is fair to an author either and avoid it when I can. If I can’t, and the book is loaded with mistakes but the story is good, I check to see if there is at least one review that mentions errors so the author knows to bring the book up to snuff. If no review is seen, then I will consider giving a review with only a four star and comments that let the author know that the editing is sorely lacking. So far I haven’t needed to do that. Worst case scenario I will track the author down and give them some editing advice in private.

  4. Glynis Avatar

    I too find myself jolted out of the story when there are mistakes! If there are many I probably wouldn’t post a review rather than give a poor one. I tend to buy known or recommended authors nowadays so this is less of a problem. I know myself how hard it is to notice some errors when writing so a few are acceptable!

    1. Gianna Thomas Avatar
      Gianna Thomas

      I’m with you, Glynis. I also buy known authors and read new ones through Kindle Unlimited, and I don’t look for perfect books. However, if they are obviously edited in a sloppy manner, I’m not a happy camper when I finish the book.

      And if I have read the book for free and really enjoyed it, I add it to my library. I do want to help as many authors as I can. 🙂

  5. Regina Jeffers Avatar

    I read my story backwards, meaning I read the last page. Then, I read the next to last, etc. That means I am not reading the story, but the words. I also read alternate chapters. For example, I might read chapters 1, 4, 8, 12, etc. Again, the eye is less likely to be catching the flow of the story, but rather they look at the words. Afterwards, I send it off to an editor. Even so, a few errors will appear. It seems I love to type “the the” in a sentence or two. LOL!

    1. Gianna Thomas Avatar
      Gianna Thomas

      🙂 That’s funny, Regina, but I can also see how it would do the job. I’ll have to try that with EBBD before I send it to my editor.

  6. Ginna Avatar

    If I am reading a story that has many errors, I start imagining myself conversing with the author and about how these errors should be corrected. Not exactly what one should be doing while trying to read a story.
    I, too, do not like how Amazon allows ratings without reviews. I read reviews to determine if I want to buy a book. If there are no actual reviews, I am reluctant to buy it.

    1. Gianna Thomas Avatar
      Gianna Thomas

      Oh, dear, Ginna. Conversing with the author does pull one out of the story. 🙂
      I too prefer that there at least be a few reviews and really hate just ratings especially bad ones with no reviews. Occasionally, I will read one with no reviews and may or may not agree with the ratings. Some of the plots are rather interesting but just needed a little more attention to the editing to make for a better book.

  7. Linda A. Avatar
    Linda A.

    I agree with Nancy’s sentiments. And I have pet peeves against certain phrases or misspellings. (The word is “whoa”, not “woah.” And it is “all of a sudden”, not “all of the sudden.”)

    1. Gianna Thomas Avatar
      Gianna Thomas

      I agree with you, Linda. Some of my pet peeves are echoes— especially in the same sentence—anachronisms, and misuse of words such as homonyms

  8. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    I know what you mean. When I see something spelled wrong it stops you for a minute but not for long.lol

  9. Gianna Thomas Avatar
    Gianna Thomas

    Yes, Cindie, misspellings do stop us for a short time, but they are irritating interruptions like an event, person, or an animal (cat or dog) that interferes with our reading. Bless my cats. I love them but not when I’m reading and they want to sleep on my lap. 🙂

  10. JoyF Avatar

    I’d love to hear from authors who write books that are consistently faulted for their errors. Why do they keep letting it happen? Lack of respect for readers? Indifference? Too much of a hassle to do any type of editing? I’m very curious.

  11. Gianna Thomas Avatar
    Gianna Thomas

    Those are good questions, Joy. I can understand an author ignoring petty complaints but not serious ones like misspellings, bad punctuation, missing words, etc. Perhaps they can’t afford an editor. However, that is not a good excuse for doing their own editing in a sloppy manner. There have been times I’ve had to do my own editing, but I’ve done everything in my power to do the best job I could so my readers would get a quality book. They deserve that much consideration.

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