Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 14, 2013


"Singing Trees" - The Creation, December 2013
One doesn't have to take the story of The Creation literally in order to enjoy the striking symbolism of the annual Singing Trees performance at First Baptist Orlando. (Long-time readers of Grace's Mosaic Moments may recall the hair-raising tale recounted in my first two blogs, detailing my attempt to drive my three grandchildren home from the Singing Trees performance of Christmas 2010!) This year's performance, told in song and dance, and with the aid of some very large animals and a sinuous snake, was a true spectacle. And the music, as always, was glorious. [Orlando area residents - consider putting it on your holiday schedule for next year.]

~ * ~


I was going to begin my World Building series this week, but a book I just read sent me into shock mode and a brief postponement of my plans. As we all know, it's close to impossible to publish a book without an error or three. Typos no one noticed, a missing word here or there. It's expected. Even the best old-time print publishers get caught by this publishing inevitability. But a book that looks like no one bothered to check it, let alone fix it? Now that's just downright unacceptable. I don't care whether you're a best-selling multi-published author or some high school student on his/her first publishing venture, there is no excuse for not presenting a well-polished book. (Exception: Authors writing for New York print publishers and royalty-paying e-publishers. They should turn in a clean, proof-read manuscript, but after that the publisher becomes responsible.) My words today are primarily addressed to those who are doing their own publishing.

Some suggestions:

Have a critique group read your book, making note of copy edits as well as story.
Have friends read your book - not as sycophants but as careful critics.
Have colleagues read it - again, with care, not a quick once-over. 
Have Mom, Dad, Aunt Susie. read it. (Well, one can always hope.)
Hire a professional editor and/or copy editor.

One of the above should work for you. Or, if you're like me, you simply edit and proof your own work until you truly believe it's as close to flawless as it's going to get.

And yet . . . just this week a friend e-mailed me about a couple of errors in my naughty novella, Belle. And yes, they were critical errors - the wrong name for the hero in one place and an incorrect pronoun that rendered a sentence senseless. I immediately found and fixed them and uploaded the corrected version to Amazon. (Since Belle is having some difficulty making it to B&N via Smashwords, it's the corrected version that will finally appear there.) Simply put, I make a real effort to present the nuts and bolts of my work with as much quality as I hope went into the writing. 

And I expect others to do the same.

Alas, this week I happily downloaded the latest in a series of books I have enjoyed over the past few years, only to discover the author seems to have skipped the proof-reading phase of this one. Because I do not want to make this personal, I will avoid specific examples, but here is what I found:

1.  Soundalike words used in place of the proper word. Quite a few of them.

2.  A totally incorrect soundalike word used over and over again, clearly indicating the author did not know the difference between the two.

3. Other incorrect words which might have been either author misconception or simply typos.

4.  Non sequiturs - words in the middle of a sentence that made no sense - probably meant for deletion but which never made it.

5.  In one place, an entire paragraph was displaced, completely mangling the end of a chapter.


It's possible some bad things may have been happening in the author's life when editing time came along. But the impression a reader gets is that the author has written so many successful indie-published books, she no longer has respect for her readers. "Just write it and upload it. Why bother to look it over?" That's the message I got. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I just couldn't empathize with the characters as I had in the past.

The moral of this tale is one I'm sure you don't have to be told: For the sake of your book, for the sake of your readers, for the sake of pride in your accomplishment(s), EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK! 

~ * ~

Hmmm, that's two rants, almost back to back. I promise to get to World Building next time round - though that will likely be after Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, Dec. 17: For Nook owners, who might have been wondering if Belle was ever going to make it to Barnes and Noble, I'm happy to announce it is finally there. Here is the link:  Belle

For Blair's website with book covers & blurbs, click here

For Grace's editing service, click here



  1. I find lots of soundalike word mistakes in the work of younger authors. I suspect it's because they don't read as much as we older folks did in the past. And yes, it makes me feel taken for granted as a reader when I find these.

    Thanks for the great post, Grace!

  2. Totally agree with you. Those mistakes drive me nuts. The result is that we are pulled out of the story -- the last thing that the author would want to happen, I'm sure. I am a retired school librarian. We taught the kids (even in elementary school) that any writing that is intended to be read by others must be correct. Today's indie writers must embrace this concept and do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

  3. Diane, your remark about elementary school reminded me that my daughter likes me to keep my eye on my grandgirls' writing ability. This week, for the first time, I asked the second grader to write some sentences for me about a picture in a book. She asked for the spelling of just one word, slightly misspelled one other word. But every sentence was properly constructed, properly punctuated, and neatly printed. (Far better printing than I did at her age.) So, yes, let's set the standard high. There's no excuse for carelessness among adult authors who want us to pay to read their words.

  4. This is an important topic, Grace. I've read books like that and been frustrated. Homophones are esp. confusing and we have so many in English. I've seen younger writers say "party hardy" instead of "party hearty" and "you've got another thing coming" instead of "think coming". But idioms do change over time, often losing the original meaning in the process. The language is changing, and sometimes not for the better, but there's no excuse for putting out a manuscript so full of mistakes that the reader gets confuse. Perhaps an unedited ms. was uploaded by mistake? Hard to say.

  5. I should mention that I tried to find the author's e-mail addy so I could tell her privately that the book needed attention (as my friend told me). But I was unable to find any contact that wasn't public. One of the great blessings of Indie Pub is that it is so easy to upload a corrected version of your manuscript - something we all need to keep in mind. If someone spots egregious errors in your book, check it out, and if true, by all means fix it.

  6. I recently started reading — and almost immediately stopped reading — a historical fiction that literally said in its long description that it was a new, improved version containing many corrections. After finding five errors in the first two pages, I sent it to the "done" category in my ereader. I guess it is possible the corrected version had not been uploaded, but if not, I hate to think what the first one was like.