Goodreads Authors/Readers discussion

Blood Heavy (Blood Heavy, #1)
This topic is about Blood Heavy
145 views
Author Resource Round Table > SPAG vs Story

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

S.L.J. (sammyslj) | 13 comments I've been getting alot of negative reviews. This is something I was very much prepared for...you can't please everyone afterall.

But what I wasn't expecting was that a good majority of my negative reviews have been all about the same thing...SPAG!

SPAG (Spelling and Grammer)

Okay, I'm more than free to admit, my SPAG sucks. I'm boarder line Dyslexic (did I spell that right?) (No that wasn't a joke!) And I don't have the cash to pay for a professional to look over my works.

Alot of other Indie authors are in the same position.

So, question: How much does SPAG mean to readers?

Can a great story be ruined by spelling mistakes and can a bad story be improved by zero SPAG errors?

Basically, is it worth me borrowing a grand to get my story professionally proofread?


message 2: by David (new)

David Fournier (mohawk1df) Save your money, from what I have seen recently being release by even big name author who do hire professional proofreaders the SPAG in not any better, especially with e-books.


message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia Conners (juliajoy) | 1 comments Your reviewers gave you the answer.
SPAG matters tremendously. A misspelled word or grammatical error pulls people out of the story and, to put it bluntly, makes them think you don't care.
I can't tell you whether it's worth a grand to hire a profession proofreader. It depends on whether you expect to sell a whole bunchof coopies.
(BTW: Did you see how irritating the typo was in the last sentence?)


message 4: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 198 comments You should find a writers group locally, that exchange beta reads and will even do copy editing for you in exchange for something you can do for them, such as character developmental editing, etc. There is no excuse not to have your book up to professional standards when you first release it. I also don;t know a single fiction writer who can effectively edit their own work. I know from personal experience. I was lucky, and the editor who left the review comments about the typos and other issues, liked the story well enough to give it three stars. I revised, and now my reviews, within the reader niche, are good. Once burned... still I wish I'd gotten it right before the release. It's not three years later, and that single review still depresses me.


message 5: by Alexes (new)

Alexes | 122 comments Richard's comments are spot on. Find a group or individual(s) willing to trade for editing. You can often find local groups on Craigslist. There are many online groups. And, fortunately, once you get a well-edited manuscript, it's easy to update your book. There is no good excuse for not doing this right.


message 6: by Sharon (last edited Sep 24, 2012 08:28AM) (new)

Sharon (fiona64) David wrote: "Save your money, from what I have seen recently being release by even big name author who do hire professional proofreaders the SPAG in not any better, especially with e-books."

As an editor with 20+ years' experience under my belt, I find the idea that hiring an editor is a waste of money insulting. I hire editors to look at my own work. Why? Because when you are working on something yourself for a very long time, you are no longer able to *see* your own errors.


message 7: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) S.L.J. wrote: "I've been getting alot of negative reviews. This is something I was very much prepared for...you can't please everyone afterall.

But what I wasn't expecting was that a good majority of my negative..."


Hmm. "Alot" and "afterall" should be two separate words in each case. I'm guessing these are errors that you didn't notice?

I think it would be well worth your money to hire a professional editor. I'm not available to take on a project at this time but can give you a referral if you'd like.

BTW, there is a difference between a proofreader and an editor. Proofreading should be done at a bare minimum; editors look for things like word overuse, homophone problems and, in some cases, even continuity issues. Proofreaders look at spelling and punctuation. Both are important.


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 113 comments I'm finding that I'm getting better with experience at not making the mistakes in the first place. My proof-reading sucks, but I think most people find they simply cannot reliably proof-read their own material. Over my last few books I've gone from making two to three errors per page on average to a fraction of that, often only one or two per chapter. I still occasionally have a bad patch, but they're less common.

That said, I could not dispense with the services of my editor. A second opinion for structure, consistency and pacing is vital.


message 9: by Alison (new)

Alison Holt (alisonnaomiholt) | 19 comments Even when I couldn't afford an editor, I hired one. I met him at a writer's conference, explained face to face why I couldn't pay him a lot, and he let me do a payment plan. It is IMPERATIVE to have someone proof read your work. We need to keep Indy authors professional. Shoddy editing by one Indy author reflects on us all.


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 242 comments Alison wrote: "It is IMPERATIVE to have someone proof read your work. We need to keep Indy authors professional. Shoddy editing by one Indy author reflects on us all."

I absolutely agree, Alison. No matter how many times we, as authors, read over our manuscripts, we'll inevitably miss something because we know what our words are supposed to say. A "fresh" set of eyes will often pick up on obvious grammar or spelling mistakes. And, not only is it important for those types of errors, an editor can also help you with plot holes, inconsistencies, sentence structure, repetitiveness, etc. Very, very important to polish your manuscript to a high-quality state before publishing.


message 11: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Alexis wrote: "Try having friends or family read your stuff beforehand; you'd be surprised at what they can catch. After that, a good old spelling-and-grammar checker under the right settings on the computer, and..."

Unless you have a friend or family member with a background in editing, this is not the be-all and end-all suggestion. It doesn't hurt to have them beta-read, no ... but it really isn't the same thing. And spell-checker will miss the homophone problems.

I often suggest to folks who say they really cannot afford an editor that they stop by their local community college and ask to speak with the journalism instructor. Oftentimes, they will allow an advanced editing student to work on your book in exchange for class credit. It never hurts to ask.


message 12: by Richard (last edited Sep 25, 2012 05:19AM) (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 198 comments Alexis wrote: "only that you're editing it for the people, right?..."

Allison is absolutely right. But the way you think of your readers is critical. They may be people, but at the point they actually pay for your writing, they then become customers. Customers are used to a high level of value for their shrinking dollar, and just adequate won't cut it. They also get really, really annoyed if they feel they've been ripped off and they let others know about it. There is more competition for readers than ever before, and offering great value for their money and their time is the only way an Indie can even begin to compete and get their books noticed. Your writing needs to be better than the traditionally published (actually, not that hard right now, at least...) and marketed work if you intend to create a writing career and sell books.


back to top