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The Bazaar Talent of Editing

Bonus points if you figured out the title is screwed up. I used it on purpose, courtesy of MS Word’s auto-correct ‘bazaar’ was used instead of ‘bizarre’ in my book, Wanted. There are other errors as well, typos that slip past the eye of someone attempting to scrutinize if for detail. The irony is that incorrect words and spellings leap off the page and slap a casual reader across the face.

I’ve had reviews on Wanted in particular stating it was good but it needed some typographical assistance. This is frustrating to me – I need details and some means of understanding the scope of the problem. I had a wonderful woman sent me an email today that went into some of those details. Now, finally, I can have a better grasp of the problem and put a plan in motion to correct it.

It’s embarrassing to me, as a writer, to put out products like that. In the early days when I went through a different publishing company such errors were rampant. Horrible editing took place, and in some places no editing at all. Since I’ve reigned myself in and now control my own books from start to finish it’s gotten better, but I’m certain some mistakes still slip through. Say what you will about traditional publishing, at least 95% or more of the time they do a bang up job on editing.

As for me, I’ve found a couple of great editors in my life. Even they have differing skill sets though. One is great at helping to smooth out how the story flows. Another has an amazing bullshit-meter. A third can kill the difference in passive versus active voice with the skill of a sniper. I’m in the process of finding an outstanding copy editor and I believe I have a couple of them lined up.  Thank you, Twitter!

So, fellow writers, make sure you get your books edited properly! Trust me, you can’t edit your own book. Oh sure, you can try and you might even catch a lot of stuff, but you’re going to miss a lot too. It needs to be somebody else doing it, somebody who knows what they’re doing, not your uncle, sister, wife, or friend. Unless, of course, your uncle, sister, wife, or friend has experience and training at editing.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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  1. February 10, 2012 at 07:15

    I immediately email authors when I find errors like that in their books. I would hope someone would do the same for me. Sometimes, it’s a pretty easy fix, if they are self pubbed and can re-upload the file. I’ve never had one that has been anything but appreciative. On the contrary, they’ve wondered how many others had seen it and just said nothing.

  2. February 10, 2012 at 07:17

    That’s been my mark of shame as well – how many people have looked and been bothered by it but didn’t bother telling me. Such a simple thing to fix too.

  3. March 6, 2012 at 01:21

    Hi, Jason. I was SO glad to see that “bazaar” was on purpose – I actually clicked into this because I had to see if you were really that far off! (So is “reigned” included to keep us on our toes?)

    I wholeheartedly agree about outside editors. There’s just no way we can catch all the typos, let alone grammar problems or using the wrong word. Keep up the good work!

    • Alex Schindler
      April 24, 2012 at 16:05

      I clicked it solely because I expected there to be a pun or reference based on the otherwise misspelled title. how’s that for faith in you, Jason? :-)

      Anything I’ve tried to self-edit, upon its publication, I’ve found lightly peppered by little typos that slip past auto-correct because they’re homophonic (autocorrect wants me to make that “homophobic,” lol, case in point), and worse, sentences with bad syntax that I partially edited but didn’t finish fixing, and didn’t notice. Even having spent much more time as a paid editor than i’ve spent writing myself, I had to learn the hard way that my own eyes are never enough.

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