5 years ago, I would not have had to write these particular blogs. Self-Publishing is amazing in that it opens up new doors to potential authors. At the same time, it comes at a cost. At one time, free e-books were just as polished in their grammar and spelling as the conventional publishers. However, I am finding lately that when I get a free book, it generally could use a bit of polishing. The effects of publishing without spell check, grammar check or different eyes reading the book before putting it up need to be expressed. It is a problem that will cause the demise of the self-published author if left unchecked. We need to do all we can to protect our art form!
First, if you have published an e-book without it being proofread, and people see errors in grammar, spelling, etc., people tend to wonder if you really are knowledgeable about the field. It isn’t the fault of the reader. If you notice mistakes in a scholarly article, then you begin to question the level of professional knowledge since simple grammar and spelling is not addressed; is the research professional quality? So, be sure to get it read before you put it up. Even for free, it is not the job of the reader to proof read. Most of the books I read, I do make an offer to pass along my notes. I would not charge for this, it’s just my notes and most suggest what the issue is. Did I mention that in University, I have a BEd (English and History), A BA (English, History and Psychology) and a MA (Psychology)? I tend to downplay this as it can be intimidating to some…so I bypass that info. Back to my topic at hand. I can tell you how many authors accept the offer to pass on my notes….
…as of publishing this article…a grand total of ….*drum roll please* ….
Secondly, if you have published an e-book, and it has spelling and grammatical errors in it, people will review it a bit more poorly than they would a book that does not contain these errors. You might be brilliant, but if you produce books that have errors, people will not take the book as seriously. As I stated in an earlier blog post, I’ve seen people leave reviews that are one star or no stars at all. When it happens the reason given in the comment is that it was so riddled with errors that they could not read it. I can’t blame them. It’s frustrating to see a potential work of art that is unreadable. It feels like seeing someone painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
Thirdly, the effect it has on all self-published authors is that it undervalues our efforts to put out well rounded or experimental format literature because we already are seeing books that are putting people off. People start to think that new e-books are rubbish and stop looking for them or at them. This puts new authors in danger of being ignored due to the fact that they have limited budget and can’t afford to get all the bells and whistles that are available to conventional publishing. It’s bad enough that often formatting makes issues for the book. Extra issues on top is not an enticement.
So, not only are the effects of poorly written books, blog posts, etc. of great consequence to the self-published author, but it also shows a lack of respect for the art form. It would seem to me that you are trying to convince everyone an e-book is a good value for the money…even free e-books cost people time to read. Respect your audience and your art form!
For the sake of the whole format and the whole variety of genres out there, if you are going to do an e-book treat it with as much respect, reverence and hard work as any other work of art. You are the face of a new format and a new method of getting ideas released. You don’t want to be just another flash in the pan because no one takes the format seriously due to poor grammar or spelling errors. Be realistically unrealistic and work toward having e-books by new self-publishers and new authors just as respectable as works by better known authors and just as polished. Being an e-book author doesn’t mean that you don’t have to try as hard…it means you have to try twice as hard as you’re breaking new ground. If we’re to stay the new Gutenberg of our age, then we have to respect our work and ourselves. E-books and authors are not just money making opportunities to get likes or follows or whatever the more popular thing is. It is a form of art and needs us to treat it with respect just as much as any other art form.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!