Monday, March 14, 2005


I wrote seven pages of FARTHEST SPACE today. I'm feeling better:-).

Kelley of Fresh Fiction (link on the title above) just wrote a nice column entitled "eBooks... a passing craze or the wave of the future?" She talks about her transition from a person who thought all ebooks were bad to one who reads them on a regular basis. I was particularly struck by these comments:

"I think my biggest problem still out there with eBooks is the editing. There seems to be more editing errors in eBooks then I have found in print. The primary reason for this seems to be due to turn around time on manuscripts to final work. The publishing cycle for electronic books seems to be much faster then for print. The time between when the final manuscript falls under the editing knife to when the final product is unveiled happens at a faster pace, due to the relative ease of publishing electronically as opposed to sending to a printing press and having books produced in mass market."

Ebooks DO have a quick turnaround, relatively speaking, and furthermore ebook authors tend to produce multiple works in a short amount of time in order to keep themselves visible (although now there are quite a few NY authors producing multiple books in a year, too-- notable examples are Alison Kent and Lucy Monroe, among others). These two factors together may contribute to a higher rate of typos and other errors in e-publishing. But a higher rate of typos and editorial errors does nothing to win us fans. I know I keep beating this drum *whack! whack!*, but making sure our books are edited as perfectly as possible before they're released is crucially important. We ebook authors really need to try hard to get rid of this particular stigma.

Yes, copyediting seems to be a dying art everywhere. I've read quite a few New York books with egregious typos (usually homophones-- I just finished one where the word "taught" was used several times when the author meant "taut"... it took me a while to figure out why the hero was described as having "taught muscles"!!). Ebook authors frequently complain that New York books have typos too, yet readers don't pick up one typo-riddled New York book and refuse to read New York-pubbed books for the rest of their lives.

True. They don't. But no one ever said life was fair. And right now, ebooks are still fairly new, and a reader who picks up a badly edited one may judge the whole industry by it and refuse to read another. It may not be fair, but it happens. So edit that manuscript till it's perfect!

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