NaBloPoMo XIX: On the Necessity of Editing and Proofreading Text

Some of my books

Some of my books

He held out a hand.  “I’m John Smith.”
“Jane Brown,” said Jane, …
“Are you on holiday?” asked Jane.
“Yes. I … excuse me.”
I didn’t get his name, thought Jane. He’s very attractive.

Did you spot the glaring error in the above text? If you did, please leave a comment and tell me what it is. I’ll post the answer in tomorrow’s blog post. Tip:  the verb ‘get‘ doesn’t mean ‘understand‘ in this context.

No, it’s not an extract from my writing. I’m reading this on my Kindle at the moment. It’s from my mystery/suspense reading list. I’ve changed the names of the characters and omitted some of the text to protect the author and publisher. It’s an extract from a much-published author‘s writing.  How did such an enormous blooper get through this famous publishing house’s editing net?!

I’ve noticed that ebooks, more so than real books, can be badly edited. A while back I read the ebook version of Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel‘s Beyond Black. It was dotted throughout with textual errors. One particularly bad one was the name of a pub, which was Fig & [something]. Every time the name of the pub came up, it appeared as Fig &Amp; … It drove me nuts! And spoiled my enjoyment of the book.

I’m going to write to the publishers of the book I’m reading, point out the above error and offer my services as editor/proofreader. If I’m going to have my reading spoiled – and it does spoil my experience, as I’m instantly reminded that I’m reading fiction instead of being immersed in the world of the story – I may as well try to make some money out of it!

Proofreaders employ special techniques to avoid reading text – to stop themselves becoming absorbed with the story; so the reading bit of proofreading is misleading.

Please think of me if you need any text editing done and if you’re writing text, you do. You don’t want to find errors in your own writing, so you don’t. And you can’t rely on your publishing house to find them, either, it seems!

Hire me – I’m good!


About AnnIsikArts

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2 Responses to NaBloPoMo XIX: On the Necessity of Editing and Proofreading Text

  1. Swoosieque says:

    It has been about one hundred years since the nuns beat grammar into my brain, but, in this example, I would have ditched the 3 leading dots before ‘are’, and italicized her thoughts in the last line.


    • annisik51 says:

      Thanks for trying! You are correct in what you write because I added these myself because I dropped some of the text to shorten it and to prevent the reader from guessing recognising the book (didn’t want to embarrass author or publishing house). However, if you read today’s blog post, you’ll see that the error was not one of grammar. 🙂


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