Typos, misplaced apostrophes....

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Typos, misplaced apostrophes....

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Oct 27, 2006, 6:21am

Quite a few of us on Book Talk were irritated by slipshod proofreading, copy editing etc. even in books by quite reputable publishers. Any examples you've found?

Oct 27, 2006, 7:41am

Not a book, but I just was reading a newsletter from an organization I'm involved with and the errors were far too numerous to mention here. The most irritating, however, were the consistent use of apostrophes in the names of couples (e.g., the Brown's made a contribution), and the amazing THREE different, and all incorrect, ways a phrase was used in the SAME paragraph (Not-For-Profit realm, not for profit agencies, not -for-profit organization).

Every time I get this newsletter, I grit my teeth and sit on my hands so I don't give in to the urge to offer to edit it for the organization.

I'm going to be away for a week, but I'm looking forward to seeing all the horrors that accumulate here while I'm away.

Oct 27, 2006, 7:57am

The book Labyrinth by Kate Mosse is the latest example I've found. The editing is terrible...including whole words missing from sentences, which so much harder to read/ignore than the typical grammatical mistakes.

Editado: Oct 27, 2006, 8:59pm

Crisis on Infinite Earths

coat hangar

the next page had a sentence ending like this .

These are not the only examples from this book. At the rate it is going might need a notepad to get them all. :)

This is an ibooks book, and of course mentions DC Comics - no idea if Warner had anything to do with it, or not, but it is possible.

Given that this is one of those 'oversize but not trade' paperbacks, so they can get away with charging you a few dollars more, not exactly super excited to go and buy it now.

Oct 27, 2006, 10:25am

I think we should remember to mention the publishers. After all, we should give credit where credit is due!

Oct 27, 2006, 2:24pm

I was re-reading Stephen King's The Shining and was incredibly irritated to find spelling errors sprinkled throughout the work. My copy is a fairly recent reprint, too. Isn't it time to proofread the galleys after 20+ years in print? Credit goes to Doubleday for my irritation.

Oct 27, 2006, 2:42pm

I suggest we might go a step or three farther: Many, if not most, authors' acknowledgments name their editors with heart-felt words of gratitude for their help in bringing forth the deathless prose you've spent your good money to read. I think egregious errors warrant the following:

A letter to the author, c/o the publisher, or a posting on the author's web-site, if known, calling attention to the errors and expressing horror that the author should have acknowledged the (named) editor favorably;

A letter to the editor, c/o the publisher, decrying the errors (identified) and suggesting that if this sloppy text should by God's grace ever see another editioin that a proof-reader be hired since the editor is apparently incapable of producing properly finished work unaided;

A letter to the chief executive or principle editor of the publisher, calling attention to the failures of the publisher's (named) editor, your impending boycott of all of the publisher's further productions, and the existence of this body on LT where you will naturally be posting a full disclosure of the foregoing for the edification of all of us here;

And, of course, you will have these letters carefully proof-read by another person lest you, by dint of Murphy's Law, may accidentally have made a tiny error yourself!

{Hastily written, not passed through a spell-checker, not read by artisan's regular faultless proof-reader who is at the moment unavailable because she is visiting her equally faultless mother, and posted with full faith in the indulgence of you all for his fat-fingered hunt-and-pecking in the dark, dreary dungeon he calls his home office. Amen}

Oct 27, 2006, 6:35pm

You go, artisan!

Oct 27, 2006, 7:11pm

Yeah! I am all for it, artisan!!!!!

Oct 27, 2006, 7:40pm

The editors they are thanking are most likely the acquisition editor and the production editor. Neither of these generally do any copy-editing and if any copy-editing is done it is by a freelancer who is probably hired by the author and not the publisher. Also the expected turn-around time for galleys and proofs is often too short to find any but the absolutely worst errors.

Oct 28, 2006, 2:43am

10: Ah, but the actual objective is to cause enough embarrassment that the non-editing editors (or author) will actually make some changes -- like, for example, hiring proof-readers or lengthening the production schedule or just PAYING ATTENTION to the product!

Editado: Oct 31, 2006, 4:07pm

I have always found Cherryh top be very poorly copy edited though I recall from my compuserve days that she was a frequent and accurate poster.Fortress in the Eye of Time was incredibly bad in my ebook edition. from Simon & Schuster IIRC with many words replaced with homynms, synonyms or vaguelysimilarnyms.

Oct 28, 2006, 8:35am

Wrote a letter of complaint to a publisher for the first time 10 days ago and bet that I don't get a reply. It'll go from one desk to another before being dropped into a bin.

14reading_fox Primer Mensaje
Editado: Oct 30, 2006, 10:59am

Cherryh has a rant herself on her website about poor copy editing of her work that she promises was otherwise faultless prose.

She suggests that all complaints go to the publishing house as the author has very little that they can do.

Personally I scarcely notice, as I tend to read in gestallt rather than word or letter chunks.

Oct 31, 2006, 12:43pm

Even if an minor error is made in a letter of complaint, it does not hold the same weight as as multiple errors made by the editor. Let us not forget, it is these people's job to vigilant in the detection and correction of typos, misspellings, and grammatical oopsies!

Nov 1, 2006, 10:42am

At present I'm reading An Unexpected Light by Jason Elliot; it is a very enjoyable book but the typos and poor grammar are driving me up the wall. An example: sew is misspelled sow not once but twice! And how about this for sloppiness: Leaving the familiar grid of streets with which by day we had become familiar...
I get the impression that the manuscript was not edited at all.

Nov 1, 2006, 12:33pm

Leaving the familiar grid of streets with which by day we had become familiar...

As Churchill is reputed to have said, "That is the kind of nonsense up with which I shall not put."

Editado: Nov 5, 2006, 10:15am

hailelib, #10, this may be true that the copy-editor is a freelancer hired by the author, but they certainly used to be (and should be) hired by the publisher, and supervised/reviewed by someone on the publisher's staff if they were freelancers. Probably proofreading is left up to the author, although when I worked in textbook publishing 20 years ago, we also hired freelance proofreaders.

Sorry for lateness of response; I've been away for a week.

Dic 13, 2006, 6:27pm

In the otherwise riveting Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting by Peter Brock, whole pages are so poorly edited as to confuse the meaning. It gives the appearance that the book was written by two or more people, including someone who is not a native English speaker. I understand there was some difficulty finding a publisher due to the nature of the book.

Dic 13, 2006, 7:14pm

A book I read the other day had the ends of a couple of words chopped off, that was funny.

Editado: Dic 29, 2006, 1:12am

I reviewed a book here a while back; I griped about exactly what you've been talking about. It annoyed the fire out of me that a guy excoriating the media for its poor performance analyzing the Bush Administration's policies for five-plus years would have so many typos and errors in his or his publisher's presentation. It seemed to me that if he had any hope that the media people he hoped to reach would pay attention, it behooved him to have the facts and the copy perfect.

The book was Lapdogs by Eric Boehlert.

Ene 18, 2007, 10:23am

20 x a Lady was filled with errors, particularly misspellings. For chic lit it was a good read, if only the typos hadn't been so distracting.

Feb 11, 2007, 6:32pm

Simon Schama's monumental Landscape and Memory provided days of infuriated amusement for the staff at an independent bookstore where I worked around the time it was published. One of the managers found a startling 500 factual errors before he threw it down (almost breaking a foot and floorboard).

And the posters above are right to castigate the publishers. My partner, who is a writer published by a large press here in the UK, carefully proofed his manuscript and sent a detailed list of changes - only to be sent a second set of proofs with some changes added, some not, and several new and exciting errors. This continued until the going to press deadline, at which point he went to the offices and made the changes himself.

Many presses no longer employ sub-editors or proof-readers (using computers instead), and many editors are forced to do marketing rather than editing. Marina Warner, who I admire with all my heart, produced a number of clangers in Phantasmagoria including referring (twice!) to a mysterious TV show called Buffy the Vampire, which I would dearly love to see. As a professional sub-editor who can only get work checking that patented drug names are spelt correctly in medical journals, it makes me more than irate that works of creative and intellectual excellence are treated so cavalierly at the editorial stage.

Typos respect neither political creed nor quality of writing. The Guardian newspaper, which is the only readable source of news in the UK, is sadly not legible some days due to the poor subbing -- I should say, legendarily poor subbing, for which the paper is known as The Grauniad.

Editado: Feb 12, 2007, 12:40pm

#23> the paper is known as The Grauniad.

...........Typos Codified. "Grauniad" Officialized!

The present writer having been greatly amused by the appellation 'Grauniad' for the newspaper formerly known as 'The Guardian', formerly known as 'The Manchester Ditto', and wondering if, mayhap, the interesting archaic-sounding word actually existed, entered it into his favorite knows-everything-tells-all source, 'Answers.com' and was instantly greeted with a long article on --- wait for it ----

.............The Guardian

Mar 3, 2007, 3:06pm

As a freelance indexer I get book pages in very late stages of production (because obviously pagination has to be more less set in stone or I'd be wasting my time and publisher's cash). I'm sometimes amazed at the number of typos and inconsistencies that get through to this stage. And I'm not really looking for them. And trying to query matters of fact is usually a waste of time. I'm talking here of things that are easily checkable by referring to standard reference books - not something obscure that could be regarded as a legitimate difference of opinion.

Mar 3, 2007, 4:25pm

Many of Nora Roberts' books seem to make it through to print with typos or the wrong homonym. It may be that the speed with which she produces books has something to do with it; perhaps the publishing house can't keep up.

Mar 3, 2007, 5:31pm

Are we to the point where a niche position of pre-final-draft-submission (freelance) editorial service might become standard, with authors paying (as a legit business expense)? Base fee plus per-error-discovered rate? Just a thought ...

Mar 3, 2007, 7:27pm

lnog was the most amusing one I saw in Deathstalker Rebellion

Jun 9, 2007, 9:07pm

I think there should be an imdb for books... Maybe it will result in less errors like these...