So I come to the reviewing task with a fairly hefty set of prejudices about writing and publishing, and to be entirely truthful, I am thankful for all that experience. The down side, however, is that I spot some glaring difficulties in books, especially ebooks, that just drive me absolutely CRAZY! And my greatest concern is that I think authors are getting the "short end of the stick."
I feel deeply for authors who sit at their computers day after day, at the expense of their family involvement, losing sleep when deadlines approach, etc. I think authors work just as hard at their craft as do construction engineers at theirs. They then turn in their manuscripts to the publishing company editors and often there are two or three steps to that process. It is for the fact that editors appear to be working through a manuscript several times that heightens my upset over the sloppy editing I encounter in books. Either the editors are just letting a book lie in their in/out box and then returning it to the author or they are reviewing these manuscripts late at night and when they are not their sharpest, or for a variety of other reasons.
One ebook I read recently was so poorly written that I could hardly stand all the grammatical, spelling, and tense errors. OK, so I'm picky, but for crying out loud!! These are authors and editors who are supposed to be knowledgeable about the English language. If the author is that poorly versed in the fine points of writing in English, then it is the editor's job to make it look good, so someone really fell down on the job with this one. In a flash of pique that I usually don't give in to, I printed off a couple of chapters and got out my trusty old red pencil from teaching days, and started making corrections. I was absolutely appalled to see the number of errors I found.
Now I happen to know from conversations I have had with some blogger pals and other reviewers that this is not an isolated situation. My concern is that authors are being short-changed!! I know some publishers are better than others and I have found that Harlequin, Carina, Siren, Berkley, Kensington, and others in that class of publishing do a very good job. Yet even there I find extra words in sentences, bad tense use, possessives (there really is a difference between "there" and "their"), poor spelling, messy use of quotes, etc. It is really, as my grandmother used to say: "Enough to jar your mother's preserves."
So my feeling is that authors should revolt and insist on quality editing. After all, it is the author's persona and reputation that is hanging out for all to see. In the case of self publishing, I am not really sure what the process is there. But even then, I have found some self-published books to be very well done grammatically. If a writer spends the amount of time writing that they do, then editors owe them the time and effort--and I think courtesy is a part of this--to do a careful and comprehensive job of editing, not just to make the story flow better, or re-writing an erotic scene to make it hotter, or whatever the concern with the story may be. The words, the sentences, the tenses and possessives are all the packaging for an author's work. And it would be so much nicer for the readers, too.
Thanks for listening . . . I don't intend to step on anyone's toes specifically. I'm just tired of very good stories being showcased poorly. Nevertheless, keep those noses in those books.