Monday, August 11, 2014

Stop The Presses!

Some of you have seen my Facebook posts about reading a book I picked up from BEA (Book Expo America) about 2 years (maybe more?) ago. It's an adult western/paranormal/romance.

And you've been hearing about my frustrations with the too-many-to-count errors: spelling, point-of-view, incorrect word usage to name a few.

The book is 340 pages long, and up to page 214, this is how many errors I've noted (some post-its reference 1, 2, or 3 errors each):

Plus, I didn't start making notations until page 79.

That's a LOT of mistakes for a finished book. Originally I thought it was an ARC, and that would have been bad enough, but for a FINISHED BOOK??? This is put out by a very small press and it has an outrageous price: $22.11 for a trade soft cover. And who prices books at $22.11? Maybe $21.99, or something like that, but this is even more expensive than the hardcover of Blonde OPS.

Some of the mistakes:

*using "pension" in the phrase "He had a penchant."
*describing one character's eyes as "cobalt, sapphire, azure, blue." (Note: they are not all the same color).
*numerous point-of-view shifts per page. One, maybe two, but three, four povs?
*"...he ran an absent hand over..." If the hand is 'absent' it isn't there to do anything. 'ran a hand absently over' is the correct form.
*"...those who bare the mark..." The correct word is 'bear' which means to carry or exhibit. This mistake happens consistently through the book.
*"...but not yet. Not yet." There are numerous incidents of repetitive phrases which repeatedly annoyed me.
*There's a passage about Eve being "led astray by the beauty of the snake." In all my years of Sunday School and church going, it's never been alleged that the snake was beautiful enough to lead Eve astray. His words were enticing, not his form. This is too much license.(And who really thinks snakes are beautiful, other than herpetologists?)
*using "knocked-out" when the correct form is "knocked out." No hyphen needed here.
*"Black came the night. Black, cold..." Either more unnecessary repetition or it wasn't caught (along with everything else) by the copyeditor.
*"arrhythmic beating of her heart..." ? Who uses SAT words like that in a Western novel? Over-description.
*irregardless. Yes, that word was used. At least twice, but I haven't gotten to the end of the book, so maybe more.
*"Humiliated pain sought to steal her voice." I didn't know pain was a being that could feel humiliated.
*inconsistencies in time/place/situation: first the character is headed toward the barn, then he's making love outside under the stars, then he wakes up in bed and I have no clue how he got from one place to the other.
*I don't think obsidian, a black stone, can glow. Can anything black (which is a lack of light) glow?
*"Jaundiced green haze..." Isn't jaundice a yellowy color? How can it be green? Maybe a sickly green?
*It's listed as a paranormal but nothing paranormal takes place until about midway through the book.

There are so many more errors which frustrated me as a reader (the storyline had a good premise so this is really sad) and angered me as a writer that people are putting such rough drafts (no way is this a finished work) out there. It makes smaller presses look bad, the writer look incompetent, and the buyer angry at being duped.

I won't tell you the title, the author, the press, or the editor/copyeditor because I don't want to humiliate anyone (we've all made mistakes and some of my writing in the drawer, although horrendous, doesn't have these amateur mistakes), but as a cautionary tale. I hate numerous revisions. BUT I DO THEM. Take the time to really polish your work. Take writing classes. LEARN your craft. If you need help, get someone who knows grammar and spelling, and can really edit your work with an honest eye. Take your lumps when it's poorly written. All pubbed authors, whether traditional or good self-pubbed, take the time, expend the effort, and seek out feedback to ensure that their work sparkles.

I see no reason to finish the book because of all the flaws. I read for enjoyment and this book was just too frustrating for me and now I don't care if the cowboy dies, is reunited with his true love, or defeats the evil what ever it is threatening them both.


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