Writing Tip #34

Typos are inexcusable. Yesterday, I stopped by L.M. Stull’s latest post, Edit, Edit and Then Edit Some More, in which she discussed the importance of having others read your work if only to get rid of those pesky typos. As I wrote in her comments, I totally agree. It gets to the point that you’ve read your own book so many times that you can recite it, all 300 pages of it, as if it were the Pledge of Allegiance, so you need different sets of fresh eyes to find those mistakes.

Remember:

  • If you are an author looking to be traditionally published, typos will turn off agents and editors. I’ve heard more than one writer say to me, “Oh, if the book is interesting enough, typos don’t matter” or “Oh, they’ll fix those later for me.” Not so.
  • If you are an author looking to self-publish, typos will turn off readers. I’m one of those unforgiving readers, probably because I’m a professional editor, but if I see too many grammatical or punctuation mistakes, I will close the book. Typos are like bees buzzing around my ear; they are distracting and take me out of the story.

So when you’ve finished your manuscript and you are absolutely sure that it’s perfect and pristine, spellchecked and all, it’s a good idea that you have someone — beta readers, professional editors, your choice — take one more look-see. As I wrote on L.M.’s post, while opinions may differ about story lines and character development, typos are inexcusable and need to be found and fixed.

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6 thoughts on “Writing Tip #34

  1. I fully agree with this post…

    Still…

    After my own and a number of other writers’ eyes were on the manuscript of my latest book; then, after an editor went through it; and, still later after I went “carefully” back through; the book was published. There were still five typos…

    I had a publisher tell me that five wasn’t “all that bad”…

    I need to save my pennies and get a second edition out!

    Perhaps it will only have two typos, eh?? :-)

  2. I feel strongly about poor spelling and grammar as well. At work people send out emails with all sorts of mistakes and it looks terrible.

    • I agree. As an editor, I’m surprised by the amount of typos I often see in pitches/queries. However, as Alexander mentions above, sometimes we try our very darnedest to have clean copy and one or two still slip by. :)

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