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Old 06-11-2018, 11:56 PM   #16
darryl
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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Even though I paid for an editor, I have had complaints on the editing, which I have been repairing when issues are pointed out to me.

There are a number of people who want a clean story free of grammatical mistakes. I can tolerate a few editing issues, but if there are too many errors, it is difficult to understand what the author is trying to say.
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Old 10-14-2018, 01:38 AM   #18
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@rhadin. Thanks for your insights from an editors perspective. I certainly agree that quality editing can make the difference between readable and unreadable. But think it can also make the difference between a book being merely readable and a book being something more.

@gmw. I agree. Proper editing is indeed subjective to at least some extent. And I think one of the beauties of self-publishing is that authors can, as you put it, do all they can, publish and learn their lessons afterwards. I know of both tradpub and indie authors who cringe at their earlier works. Which is one reason why I think that there are many books which are worthy of publication despite the fact that they could be vastly improved by editing.
I realize that this thread is oldish, but...I disagree that "good editing" or "proper editing" is subjective. The idea that any given piece might need editing might--by its creator--be considered to be subjective, but I rarely find it so.

There are very few writers who are really great at self-editing. Sure--lots of us can self-edit our own simple texts, find typos and the like. But many people cannot. I see it all the time. Want to know how many instances of "forward" (as opposed to "foreword") I fix, in FINAL manuscripts, each and every week? EVERY week? Homonym errors are rampant, in self-published books. To, too, two; here, hair, hear; there, they're and their, and on and on and on. It's painful.

Many writers can fix their own story issues, if they have a modicum of training or if they've written enough to train themselves. But in the nearly 6K manuscripts that I've seen, since 2010, I can tell you that probably...I don't know, maybe 100 of those couldn't have used a thoroughgoing edit. Not a proofread--although that would have been nice. I mean an edit, to tighten it up, make it snappier, lose the fat, fix plotholes and the like.

We all know that our brains trick us, when we read things that we've written, over and over. I see it daily--clients who've read a file ten times in an editing pass will almost always see new things, the moment the file is in a new format (ePUB/MOBI/PDF). Always. That's one thing. But seeing those other things--that's something else. People who are blind to homonym errors, of course, won't see them no matter what. That's simply proofreading, or a line-edit.

But writers who publish near-first-drafts aren't going to see the many issues in their plots. It's just the way it is.

Anyway...I don't think that the "need" for editing is subjective. It's quite real. I'm not saying that every self-pubbed book needs editing--but from what I see, day in and day out, a LOT, do. I'd say nearly all do.

And I'm in a spot to see more of them than the average bear.

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Old 10-14-2018, 03:36 AM   #19
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I'm reading the latest Jane Hawk book by Dean Koontz (half-way through and about bored stiff). Little things stand out. Like Koontz referring to the "Texas Highway Patrol officers." In California it would be "highway patrolmen" but in Texas they use the term "state troopers." I don't know why, but it grates on me. At the most, the Jane Hawk series should have been a trilogy. The last two books mostly have the feeling of being "filler" to get to number 5, which I'm guessing (hoping) will be better.
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Old 10-14-2018, 02:28 PM   #20
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I really don't care if ebooks get published without "proper" editing. Makes no difference to me. In this day and age of samples and refunds, no one is being forced to settle for junk. I've said it many times; no reader has ever been consoled by the fact that a book they paid for and didn't like at all was at least competently proofed and edited.
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Old 10-14-2018, 02:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by darryl View Post
@doubleshuffle. I speak and write a single language, English, and there are perhaps some people who would dispute even that statement. Whilst I still suspect that the problems with the story are structural, I can certainly see how a literal translation only slightly modified could. as gmw put it, break a good story.
I know it is an old thread but, after reading this sentence, I wanted to give you my experience. Perhaps you only can see, I can say for sure that a literal translation can send a story to hell and beyond. You only can find how abhorrent it can be when you have to go to the original book to understand and make sense of a sentence that it is allegedly translated to your mother tongue.

And the funniest case (not) was when a translator changed a paragraph, so a character, instead of going to ask a person to get his work because he wanted to be with her wife, was going to leave his wife to be with the man.

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Old 10-14-2018, 03:14 PM   #22
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I really don't care if ebooks get published without "proper" editing. Makes no difference to me. In this day and age of samples and refunds, no one is being forced to settle for junk. I've said it many times; no reader has ever been consoled by the fact that a book they paid for and didn't like at all was at least competently proofed and edited.
You are right, of course. Nothing forces you to read a crappily-edited book. Nothing forces you to finish a crappily-prepared meal, either, or to live in a shoddily-built home.

But what's the value of your time, Diap? Nothing? Is it so wrong to want someone who expects to be paid for their work, to try to perform that work competently?

I freely admit it--it gets up my nose, as a reader. (n.b.: to be clear, my business does NOT provide editing services. I have no horse in this race, no economic interest or financial bias. While my experience is obviously formed through the thousands of as-yet-unpublished books that I've seen, my reaction is that of a reader, and naught more.)

I see this discussion all the time at the Kindle forums. And I invariably see this comment:

Quote:
"Well, I can't afford an editor now. As my book sells, I'll eventually be able to pay for an editor. The people who buy my book need to know that it's my first book, that I'm a new author, and understand that. I'm still learning. They won't mind, right?"
This is for work that they are selling. Now, let's apply that same logic to a slightly different scenario--my business. Let's say that you, the author, hire us to do the layout and formatting on your book. You get it back, and it doesn't look good. In fact, in places, it's pretty crappy. And I smile, and I say to you:

Quote:
"Oh, that's Jane. She just started with us. She's new to formatting, and she's just learning. You don't mind, right?"
Oh, yeah, right. I can see that going over like the proverbial lead balloon. Sure, Author X might 'understand' it, (based on a decade of experience, trust me, they'd be irate, not understanding AT ALL), but you can bet your booty that s/he'd damn sure expect us to bloody fix it, and pronto, no questions asked, no additional monies paid.

Right?

So, seriously, what's the difference? I do NOT understand this attitude, that somehow, books, as a commercial product, are exempt from the same sort of standards that we expect for every other type of commercial product.

We seem to be expected to make this exception, an exemption, just because someone invested their "emotions" in creating their book. So what? I could get up tomorrow and decide that in my soul, I'm a fashion designer. I could sketch out a dress--hell, it might even be a great design--and then sew it. Now, trust me when I tell you, this is a woman who failed Home Ec, TWICE, because I could not sew. Not a lick. Never had an interest, hated it, thought I was being harangued in some sexist way, and managed to fail it twice. (Made up for it in cooking, with which I had mad skills--both men and women have to eat, y'know?).

So, I make a dress. Really? You think that just because I poured my heart and soul into it, some schmuck should buy it and wear it? Poor woman? Or guy, for that matter? I should be able to sell it, for what I think it's worth, even though I never bothered to learn to sew, or, for that matter, construct clothing? Does it somehow affect the usability, wearability or viewability of that garment, just because I poured my heart and soul into it? When the front of the dress falls off, because my sewing skills are dreck, is that okay, because "I'm just learning?" On this dress that I sold, for money?

HELL no.

And to top it off, this excuse, that someone doesn't have the money, has NOTHING to do with it. They just don't care. OR, they just need that instant gratification--whichever.

Any author can join a writing group and critique group. They can join Critters and learn about critiquing while getting their own work critiqued. They can SWAP proofing. It's how it was done for decades, hell, a century, before the advent of self-publishing. People were in writing groups, they read each other's stuff, they critiqued, they swapped and traded proofing, etc. The cheap way, and, BTW, the way that lots of people learned, truly, how to write--as you learn more critiquing other people's work, oftentimes, than you do writing your own.

Yet, even though we live in a day and age in which it's easier than ever to find a writing group, a critique group--you don't even have to leave home--fewer and fewer 'writers' do it. WHY?

That's my objection. Sure, you probably can't barter out for a developmental edit. But for the love of heaven, you can at least manage to trade proofreading, at a minimum, to spare us the homonym errors and the usual typos. It's not building the Great Wall of China.

That's my $.02. It's not impossible to do. (And yes--I have people check my stuff, my non-fic and how-to stuff all the time. When I was still trying to write fiction, yes, I belonged to a critique group and got my ass handed to me all the time. Sure, it's not all fun and games. So? When Red Smith said that "[w]riting is easy. You just open a vein and bleed," he didn't only mean the writing part. That's what being critiqued, edited, and learning is about, too.)

My $.02, for what it's worth.

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Old 10-14-2018, 05:03 PM   #23
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But what's the value of your time, Diap? Nothing?
No, it's not nothing. It just happens to be irrelevant in this case. I love everything about books: hearing about them, researching them, finding them, buying them, reading them (and reading about them), talking about them, tweaking them, etc... I enjoy the entire process. I've always done a ton of vetting before deciding to commit to reading a particular book, and I don't consider that process at all onerous. In fact, I enjoy it. So a "competence check" isn't something extra I have to do all-of-a-sudden. It's just something that my normal vetting process would likely weed out anyway. I've never felt that books I love should just fall into my lap from the heavens. And since competence is no consolation to me for books I dislike, I fail to see why incompetent works (that won't likely find their way through my vetting process anyway) being published should stress me. Cream rises.

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Is it so wrong to want someone who expects to be paid for their work, to try to perform that work competently?
I don't really know, to tell the truth. "No," I guess? I just know that incompetence isn't something I typically have to worry about when paying for anything. I've always been a careful person. I'm a very caveat emptor to kind of guy. If incompetent hacks want to hang out shingles and see if they can get any bites, it's no sweat off my back. *shrug*

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Let's say that you, the author, hire us to do the layout and formatting on your book. You get it back, and it doesn't look good. In fact, in places, it's pretty crappy. And I smile, and I say to you:

Quote:
"Oh, that's Jane. She just started with us. She's new to formatting, and she's just learning. You don't mind, right?"
Not really my bailiwick. I'm one of those rare readers who have absolutely zero aspirations to write (and I don't quite follow how it relates to the question at hand), but I'll bite ...

I'd be unhappy. I wouldn't pay for such work. Just like I wouldn't pay (as a reader) for an incompetently prepared ebook. But (and here's how I'll bring this back to the topic at hand) I wouldn't ask you to fire Jane. Nor would I expect you to black-ball Jane so that she could never try to get paid for doing that type of work ever again.

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Old 10-14-2018, 05:53 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
No, it's not nothing. It just happens to be irrelevant in this case. I love everything about books: hearing about them, researching them, finding them, buying them, reading them (and reading about them), talking about them, tweaking them, etc... I enjoy the entire process. I've always done a ton of vetting before deciding to commit to reading a particular book, and I don't consider that process at all onerous. In fact, I enjoy it. So a "competence check" isn't something extra I have to do all-of-a-sudden. It's just something that my normal vetting process would likely weed out anyway. I've never felt that books I love should just fall into my lap from the heavens. And since competence is no consolation to me for books I dislike, I fail to see why incompetent works (that won't likely find their way through my vetting process anyway) being published should stress me. Cream rises.
Ah, well...some of that certainly makes sense to me. I admit I'm not as diligent as you (at least, I haven't been...the new-normal is changing that for me) in pre-screening books to read. I'll look at a cover, of course, but then review the description, read the first 1200 words or so, and if I think it will float my boat, I'll try it.

I don't want anyone to think I'm painting all self-pubs or small imprints with the same brush--I'm not. But this attitude, that it's okay to publish a book, for sale, sans any sort of competent editing (whether done by the author himself, or a third party) just irks the crap out of me.


Quote:
I don't really know, to tell the truth. "No," I guess? I just know that incompetence isn't something I typically have to worry about when paying for anything. I've always been a careful person. I'm a very caveat emptor to kind of guy. If incompetent hacks want to hang out shingles and see if they can get any bites, it's no sweat off my back. *shrug*
In general, yes, I admit, it irks me. FWIW, it also infuriates me to see incompetently-formatted eBooks that some author paid some bozo to format, too. I guess I'm not wild about incompetence masquerading as a commercially-viable service or product, in any form. I'm an EEO disliker, :-).

Quote:
Not really my bailiwick. I'm one of those rare readers who have absolutely zero aspirations to write (and I don't quite follow how it relates to the question at hand), but I'll bite ...
Wasn't the question at hand about whether or not we preferred a book to be published, or not, sans proper editing? Did I miss a seque in the thread? My comparison was simply about the expectations we have, for a product for which we've paid. Seemed a reasonable comparison? No?

Quote:
I'd be unhappy. I wouldn't pay for such work. Just like I wouldn't pay (as a reader) for an incompetently prepared ebook. But (and here's how I'll bring this back to the topic at hand) I wouldn't ask you to fire Jane. Nor would I expect you to black-ball Jane so that she could never try to get paid for doing that type of work ever again.
I don't think I ever said I'd blackball Jane, or any author foolish enough to publish sans competent editing. Did I? Granted, I'd probably not buy another book by Jane the author, not without good reason to think that she'd overcome her no-editing-handicap. I mean, right up there with caveat emptor is ye olden "fool me once..." eh?

(n.b.: back in 2010, I did have an author client, that claimed to teach graphic design at a local community college, DEMAND that I fire one of my bookmakers, for using a sans-serif font for headings with a serif body, in an eBook layout. Literally SCREAMED at us, in writing. I ended up firing him as a client, because while a client can scream at me, if they wish, calling a crewmember a moron is out of bounds. I wonder if he's actually seen a book in the last decade, given how common that layout is now? Anyway, I digress...)

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Old 10-14-2018, 06:16 PM   #25
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I guess I'm saying I don't feel I'm qualified to determine whether or not someone (or some work) deserves to be published. And as one who would prefer that there be no governing body that issues competency certificates in order to be allowed to publish a work, I'm perfectly willing to accept that many incompetent works may get published as a result. I see this as no particular hardship or hurdle to finding "good" books to read.

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Old 10-14-2018, 06:32 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I guess I'm saying I don't feel I'm qualified to determine whether or not someone (or some work) deserves to be published. And as one who would prefer that there be no governing body that issues competency certificates in order to be allowed to publish a work, I'm perfectly willing to accept that many incompetent works may get published as a result. I see this as no particular hardship or hurdle to finding "good" books to read.
Okay--I can see that as a reasonable argument. If you don't want trade-publishers to be your gatekeepers, then sure, some or all of the slushpile is going to end up in stores. Can't help but do so.

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Old 10-14-2018, 07:21 PM   #27
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Even with gatekeepers, the vast amount of books in stores has always been slush to me. I just choose not differentiate between competent slush I don't want to read and incompetent slush I don't want to read. The former doesn't rank any higher than the latter on my personal worthiness scale.

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Old 10-14-2018, 09:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
I realize that this thread is oldish, but...I disagree that "good editing" or "proper editing" is subjective.[...snipped for brevity only...]

Anyway...I don't think that the "need" for editing is subjective. [...]
Certainly the need for editing is not subjective, writers need as much help as they can get. But "good editing" is definitely subjective. I could list a large number of professionally edited books, published by big names, that in my opinion were poorly edited. Yes, their proof-reading pass was fine, very few obvious mistakes, but their structural editing was appalling and they let a 200 page story get published as 500 pages (or whatever).

The thing is that you can't really separate the writing from the editing. All writers do some of their own editing - it's just part of the job - and are responsible for implementing recommendations from external editors. Many passes are required but exactly how many will vary from work-to-work and the tastes of those involved. It's all subjective.

All the reader gets to see is the end result, so they have no idea how much was the fault of the one or more editors, and how much was the author not following recommendations - or not even asking for them.

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[...] This is for work that they are selling. Now, let's apply that same logic to a slightly different scenario--my business. Let's say that you, the author, hire us to do the layout and formatting on your book. You get it back, and it doesn't look good. In fact, in places, it's pretty crappy. And I smile, and I say to you:
Quote:
"Oh, that's Jane. She just started with us. She's new to formatting, and she's just learning. You don't mind, right?"
[...]
I am not defending the "I don't need no freakin editing" lobby, but unless you are charging $0.99c for Jane's work, and letting the buyer see the first 10% of it before deciding whether to buy, the analogy doesn't hold up all that well. A lot of the books you are complaining about are completely free, very few cost more than a couple of dollars, and pretty much all let the reader decide in advance whether the quality is good enough for their own tastes. And, if the reader finds out they were wrong they free to put a 1 star review and abuse the writer online - in the public eye for all to see for the rest of the writer's career.

In most cases the books from those that don't care at all about editing are pretty obvious. Once you start looking at the books put out by those that do care, the subjective nature of what constitutes proper editing begins to show.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:55 PM   #29
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Certainly the need for editing is not subjective, writers need as much help as they can get. But "good editing" is definitely subjective. I could list a large number of professionally edited books, published by big names, that in my opinion were poorly edited. Yes, their proof-reading pass was fine, very few obvious mistakes, but their structural editing was appalling and they let a 200 page story get published as 500 pages (or whatever).
That's a reasonable argument--sure. I've read some books put out by BNP (Big Name Publishers) that definitely could have used more curettage, less fat/excess.

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The thing is that you can't really separate the writing from the editing. All writers do some of their own editing - it's just part of the job - and are responsible for implementing recommendations from external editors. Many passes are required but exactly how many will vary from work-to-work and the tastes of those involved. It's all subjective.
You're right about that. No way to tell. Could be one person's work or ten. But typically, I think most people who read avidly can tell if a book hasn't been edited at all.

Quote:
All the reader gets to see is the end result, so they have no idea how much was the fault of the one or more editors, and how much was the author not following recommendations - or not even asking for them.
Again, true enough.

Quote:
I am not defending the "I don't need no freakin editing" lobby, but unless you are charging $0.99c for Jane's work, and letting the buyer see the first 10% of it before deciding whether to buy, the analogy doesn't hold up all that well. A lot of the books you are complaining about are completely free, very few cost more than a couple of dollars, and pretty much all let the reader decide in advance whether the quality is good enough for their own tastes. And, if the reader finds out they were wrong they free to put a 1 star review and abuse the writer online - in the public eye for all to see for the rest of the writer's career.

In most cases the books from those that don't care at all about editing are pretty obvious. Once you start looking at the books put out by those that do care, the subjective nature of what constitutes proper editing begins to show.
I guess my issue is more about the attitude, the cavalier shrugging off of proofing/editing, than the end results being variable. God knows, it's probably quite difficult for even a well-intentioned author to find and pay for a competent editor, in this publishing world as it is now. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet hangs out a shingle, with no education + zero experience, claiming to be a proofreader or editor. I mean, want to entertain yourself? Randomly look around for 10 "editors" and read the purported credentials on their blogs. Know how many list them? Not 2 out of 100.

(Apparently, in today's world, if you've read a few hundred books, you think you're qualified to edit. Hoookay...)

Anyway...as I said, my kvetch is about the "well, I'm learning, readers should make an allowance for that" mindset, when the work is being sold. If they're giving it away on Wattpad, whatever, fine--but to my mind, if they are charging, they should have some obligation, however meager, to at least TRY to have it edited. If nothing else, at least make an effort to barter for proofing. I just don't think it's too much to ask.

I won't argue that you and Diap are right--we, the buyers, are viewing some percentage of the book upfront, and we have an opportunity to at least tell if it's been proofed, by and large. Edited, though--the cutting of fat, the tightening--we likely don't know that until it's too late. {shrug}

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Old 10-14-2018, 11:45 PM   #30
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We all know that our brains trick us, when we read things that we've written, over and over.
A friend of mine used to use this when talking about technical (or other) reading, and I think it can apply to writing as well:
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It doesn’t say what you think it says, nor what you remember it to have said, nor what you were told that it says, and certainly not what you want it to say, and if by chance you are its author, it doesn’t say what you intended it to say. Then what does it say? It says what it says. So if you want to know what it says, stop trying to remember what it says, and don’t ask anyone else. Go back and read it, and pay attention as though you were reading it for the first time.
I've always appreciated it.
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