My sister-in-law said I left out the word “his” near the ending of my first book. My brother said some of the sex scenes were a little strong for him. My nephew mislabeled one of my scenes as erotica (The distinction is really not that fine of a line. I do not write erotica. I would be making way more money if I did.) Another person asked if thus and such a book was the one about life on a military base. Well, one is, kind of about military life for about an eighth of the total, and most mention it, but none are about life on a military base. I don’t even know what that would be like. I have reread some of my books and gone back and changed all the backward quotation marks that no one mentioned. I took down a book and republished it because a huge errant numeral “4” was in the middle of a random page. Glitches happen between me and the finished product. I find mistakes if I wait a while to read through. I made a boy child the eldest in the middle of a book and he was the second child at the beginning. I changed a neighboring family’s surname half way through one book. This family played quite a large role at one point, and I am glad I caught that as no one would have a clue as to who I was talking about.
A beta reader was very helpful with general proofreading and language problems but she wanted to change all my colloquialisms to proper English, and I have to write in my speaking voice or my character’s speaking voice. I had specifically asked if the love scenes were too graphic for the market I hoped to reach. She said they were fine, very true sounding. She also mentioned that the terrain in a part of the country I described was not like I described it. (She did not live there.) I had researched this with photographs in order to trace a path for the character to fit the story and I questioned her remark saying I had back up info. The person became a snake and said the person was carrying too much, the person couldn’t have walked that far in one day, etc. She finally said even my love scenes could use a little improvement. I still wonder if I should have thrown out all the advice and haven’t come up with a final choice on that.
One reviewer said my Point of View changes were distracting. I write third person omniscient and that is the point of view. I did notice in one edition where I had someone’s thoughts going on. I usually do that in Italic and sometimes that doesn’t carry through to the finished product. In this book, that I think printed out the very best of all, there were sections where the Italics didn’t hold and I thought maybe a reader would become confused. But that one particular book is, in fact, the only one that has had only positive things said about it so far.
Today I was reading a blog or post or website that I have been subscribed to for quite awhile. I seldom have time to look at it, but I have noticed it has evolved. I was at one time invited to write a guest blog, but did not have the confidence to do so. I did mention they were free to copy any of my words they wished to, but just let me know. Well, it started out as a helpful spot for writers who were publishing electronically, but it has become a vanity publisher. You give them this much money and they do this for you, It seemed today’s blog was only about trying to weasel out of being called a “Vanity Press” — a phrase that is anathema to an e-pubber. The irony was that, not only were there mistakes such as the wrong “their” being used, but there were clear run-ons that were unquestionably supposed to be two sentences. There is a huge on-going debate about the Oxford comma, and I am a die-hard comma lover, but the Oxford comma question is use it or don’t use it and has nothing to do with joining a clearly declarative sentence to a clearly interrogative sentence.
I have not yet re-read one or any of my blog posts that I didn’t find some error of some sort. One I copied to WordPress and the entire blog was there twice. Some of this I catch. Of course some of it I do not. But when a person is offering me services at a price, then their work better be up to snuff. For the most part, I have found that I would not trust my words to any of these people that have variously approached me at different times. Tell me what is wrong and I will fix it and thank you. But don’t go tooting your horn or calling me out for my errors unless you are producing material worthy of illumination by the ancient monks, okay? I will forgive people their errors, overlook most. I expect some. I know no one is perfect. But don’t pretend you know more than I do when you don’t. Actually, that doesn’t just apply to book publishing in my philosophy.
But, yet again today, I read an article where two people were arguing over past and passed. Other people were ringing in on both sides of it. I still get it wrong most of the time. You would think it would have to be correct occasionally just due to the odds, but I always get it wrong. I also struggle with affect and effect, but I check if I have a doubt. One very popular mommy blogger wrote a huge diatribe about something and used effect over and over instead of affect. Well, that is a toughie, but look it up if you are going public. This was a person who describes herself in her profile as “over-educated”. In what? Karate?
I think I have gone on and on before about the pot calling the kettle black, etc. (I suppose that is a racist remark nowadays.) And I know I am too sensitive to criticism. I find it impossible to accept my own human frailties, the source of most of my major difficulties. But it just seems to me, in general, the definition of quality is becoming more and more vague. Well, I will never get over the typo in the two page Chanel ad in Vanity Fair magazine. I try. Honestly. I think it is insulting to expect people to accept an inferior product, so I try very deliberately not to present that. And my point here, even though I am coming off as confusing, is let’s brush it up a little. Let’s not try to sell someone a book cover that looks like it was drawn by a marmot. And, especially, let’s not then criticize someone else for an amateurish cover.
And let’s not take someone’s hard-earned money because of out right subterfuge, or if one is suffering from honest self-delusion, then let us follow through on delivering the product offered. What did that famous and attractive person say about putting lipstick on a pig? It is still a pig, but sometimes there just ain’t nuthin’ cuter than a little baby pig.
Photo Attributions: Google image