Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Thoughts on Book Reviews

I had some interesting comments about my post yesterday on the five-star review from a friend who proceeded to point out the errors in format and style she found in my book, The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost, that I'd like to talk about.

Jeni said, "No one LIKES to get a review that has anything even the slightest bit negative in it but I'd rather it be pointed out to me than ignored because by pointing it out, it would make me more inclined to look even closer on the next writings."

Good point, but my point is, if this is a friend, I would appreciate you to point them out to me in private.

To tell you the truth, this was my first review I've ever gotten that pointed out formatting mistakes in any of my books. My first book, Romancing the Soul, was a collection of soul mate stories from many authors, so I really can't claim it as entirely mine, but I have to admit Liz at Zumaya Publications did an excellent job in editing. She sent back revisions, I changed them, she published and released it. I've gotten nothing but positive reviews from everyone. Formatting was fine.

Nikki Leigh says, "A friend reviewed one of my business books which I've learned is full of typos. She even went so far as to say the editors (who she named) had done me a disservice. This is a publisher who does all the editing and they don't show it to me before it goes to press. One of my books from a previous publisher had more problems after they edited that before. I went through again and noted many problems, but they weren't all fixed in the end. However, I have the rights to that book back and will certainly do it differently when its re-released :) ."

Good for you, Nikki. You know, before you send off your book to a publisher, be sure you email the authors of said publisher. If it happens once, it's happened before and may happen again. I never did this because of the time factor. Lesson learned.

Laura Crawford says, "A five-star review is nothing to sneeze at, and the errors are there and they are not going to go away....would you rather hear this news from a friend or a hot shot agent or book critic? The book critic would NOT give you a five-star review, but then again maybe they would? Who's to say? But what kind of friend would this reviewer be if she wasn't HONEST about it? If she said nothing about it, and it came up with another reviewer or book critic, wouldn't you be more upset with that friend if you asked them why they didn't tell you the errors were there? But whether this information will affect your sales or not is hard to predict. And there are some who just read the book for the story, not whether the punctuation or spelling or formatting is correct.By the way, how do your co-authors feel about this and are they willing to approach the publisher and have them corrected?"

Again, I value honesty and I appreciate Sandy being honest. I had a friend who gave it a glowing review and then I had a book critic mention she loved the book, but pointed out that there were a couple of errors. Whose review do I value more? I value them all because they are learning tools, but I think there is a certain way of going about giving someone a review that might make them uncomfortable being as it is in a public place and could hurt book sales. Being an author herself, and a good friend, I just wish I had been approached first. Had she approached me, I would have suggested that honesty is the best thing in the world, but stop and think about it a little first.

I have a friend who self-published and I saw errors in just the first chapter he/she posted online. I value this friend's friendship and would never advertise online that the book was full of errors; but, instead, I would mention to the author privately so that this person can handle it whether he/she could get it fixed with the publisher or what. I wouldn't go behind her back and post anything negative if I valued the friendship.

As far as how my co-authors feel? One of them said, "I'm not going to get upset over this," and that was that. My other co-author says, "It is the story people love and it will not stop them from reading it." I think authors are more critical of books because as they are reading, it's only natural for them to critique as they go whether they realize they are doing it or not.

Kathy Holmes says, "I'm not sure why they mentioned the typos since typos, unfortunately, sometimes appear in even the biggest publishing houses' books. Annoying but true."

I'm not sure either, Kathy, except to bring attention to the publisher's goofs. She has valid points and I hope for now on, publishers will make sure to the best of their ability that the final product is something that will not receive negative remarks. But, like you said, it happens even in the biggest publishing houses, and something that will probably continue to do so until the editor takes time to breathe and concentrates on what they are sending out into the world, and focus on that one book at a time instead of concentrating on how many books they can get out in a certain amount of time to make that almighty buck.

Hopefully, I'm overdramatizing and maybe people who read The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost will find the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. Hopefully, I will, too.


  1. I can't say I know how you feel here, since I'm not in the industry, but I sympathize. The friend thing would have me in a bind, too. But as an outsider, I know people will pay more attention to the five stars than they will the typos.

  2. You know this is a difficult subject. Extremely well written books, with big publishing hosues come up with errors too, but as a book critic, I try to judge the story and just make a note to the author if there is a major problem or if the errors detracted from the story.

    It's a problem when it stops the reader from enjoying their story or from finsihing the book.


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