How do I tell her...or do I?

United States
June 6, 2012 11:19am CST
One of my facebook friends wrote a book that I was interested in and so I purchased in on Amazon. I was so excited when I got the book - I of course looked at the publisher to check out possible sources for my own benefit down the road. My son-in-law works at a publisher locally and I noticed in the front of the book that he had mentioned. It was a notice that the publisher did not do any editting - only printing. Many writers are taking this avenue as it saves a large sum of money. The problem is that there are tons (and I mean tons!!!) of grammatical mistakes throughout the book. There are sections that are total repeats of previously stated stories. It's a mess! I wanted to send her a note and offer to be an "editor" down the road. I can barely stomach reading the stories in her book as interesting as they are - due to the horrific mistakes throughout.... so do I mention it to her? Or just let it slide? I feel badly that it is so terrible when the content could be so useful to many people... what do you think? I think I would want to be told so I could make corrections - but then I am a small scale perfectionist! lol...
6 people like this
29 responses
• China
8 Jun 12
How come such a book would be published ? It simply wastes readers' time .No matter how the story keeps readers on the edge of their seat,it has so many grammatical mistakes in it,the book may grade too low in reader interest.As I see it, it is better for you to point out her mistakes.It is for her own good.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
You are probably right. I will certainly look for a way to tell her nicely. She really needs to reread it herself I think. Surely she would see them and then make the necessary changes...one would hope at least!
• China
9 Jun 12
How many copies has the book been sold for the first edition? Hope the writer doesn't ride the high horse and can take others' advice.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
I really have no idea. But with poor work like this I can't imagine it going to a second printing!
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
7 Jun 12
I see many say you should say something and truthfully, if I were your friend, I would want to be told, but then again, I wouldn't publish a book without some kind of editing, whether from an editor or a trustworthy friend. It will be hard, I know. Because my daughter knew someone who self-published and so without telling him, she had found it at the local library and borrowed it. Macdingolinger, I don't know how bad your friend's book was, but my daughter barely got past a couple pages and I couldn't get past the first page, the grammar and writing was so awful..Fortunately since this guy didn't know we had tried to read his book and we really didn't know him well enough to say anything, we didn't, because truthfully, if this guy had any close friends, they should be the ones to tell him. So, though I am working hard on my book to edit it myself and hopefully find an agent to help me with editing, I am still concerned about how well written it is..So if you end up purchasing my book when I finally get it published, I don't mind a truthful critique, that is on the grammar and wording. What I know will also hit me it the critics who will be against "what" I write rather than how it is written..Yes, it will probably cause some controversy..
• United States
7 Jun 12
MAybe I should start freelance editing! lol. This book was just as you said - very difficult to read as the mistakes are so many. It is difficult to read at best even though the stories are good. I will probably just offer her my services - but I may not say anything unless she asks. One thing I have learned in life is to not answer questions people do not ask! lol
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
That's true, if she didn't ask, then maybe just let it go. I on the other hand am so worried about my writing, I ask anyone and everyone what they think of my writing..:P
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
Me too! I am always telling people who get my book or workbooks to please let me know if they find any mistakes. THat way I can fix them before it gets into other people's hands! lol
1 person likes this
@peavey (15396)
• United States
6 Jun 12
I think that you have to tell her as a friend, although I agree that it could be awkward. I would want to know if it was me. I've had this problem before when reading web sites. I do proofreading for one site, (although I'm not a professional proofreader) and I sometimes just ache to make changes to a section where I'm not authorized! If only people knew how important it is to present material without the distraction of spelling and grammatical mistakes as well as sentences out of place and so on. Anyway, yes. Think about it long and hard, then decide the best way to approach it and do it.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
I "proofread" sites all the time! lol. Actually I was on a very cool site one time but they were obvious not native english speakers and the mistakes were glaring! I sent them a note through their "contact" page and offered to write for them! I can ignore some small mistakes - but things like this are very annoying and really unnecessary.
@peavey (15396)
• United States
7 Jun 12
I know that sometimes web sites get content from sites that churn through articles like they were assembly line plastic toys. They get what they pay for because these sites have "levels" of writers. The worst ones can still get paid for writing, even if they can't spell, don't understand English grammar and won't follow directions.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
Many times they are also overseen by webmasters whose first language is not English so they really are not aware how poor the grammar is!
@ladygator (3469)
• United States
8 Jun 12
Well mac, being a hopefull author. I would really like for you to tell me this information. I would be so extremely embrassed to have a book published like this! It makes the readers get a bad perseption of the Author. Makes the readers question the intelligence of the writer. Then potentially leading to them not reading any more of their work. It takes long enought to get published and a bad review could devistate the writers career. As well as be a major setback mentally for continuing on. Want to be my editor? LOL (only slightly joking)
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
I share your sentiments exactly. If I purchase another of her books even as a friend I will cringe doing so knowing that the quality is terrible. If there are any official reviews of the book it is certain that these mistakes would be brought up. Unless she makes some changes she won't be looking forward to a huge career in the writing field for sure.....what kind of editing do you need? lol
1 person likes this
@ladygator (3469)
• United States
8 Jun 12
Being a potential author, I know my work is good, I just cant afford a publisher. I am hoping that someplace out there, there is a play it forward publisher. I am certain it will sell. :) not very boastfull am I? And it sees as if you are an avid reader. I commend you for reading it and its entirety. I cant read a book that does not interest me from the beginning. I am writing 2 books that I have been really putting time into. One is fictional. Its a psychological thriller, which the problem with me is getting it into the right tenses. Its more in script form and thats just how its coming out. But I know thats a huge jump on getting it out. But thats my ulimate dream for my career. The other is a true story on the perception from mental illness. (its my story) With the main goal to educate and help others with identifing with someone and to help with the management. I have been looking for books to read to help myself deal with this and I have found that with my specific situation there is very litte out there.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
I published a smaller book on blurb.com It's a little pricey but cheaper in some ways. i hope to use it to get started and then move to a larger, more traditional publisher later on. I like blurb because I can print any number of books I want. I know it is so expensive to publish.. we can all keep hoping though!
• United States
6 Jun 12
Of course you have to tell her. Someone who wants to be a good writer should be able to stomach a little healthy criticism. You should start off by telling her what you liked about the book, you mentioned useful content that's a start, and then point out that you also saw many grammatical errors, then offer to help with editing in the future. I think she'd probably be more embarrassed if her book went on in print and someone not nearly as nice decided to rip her up for it.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
This is very true. I will probably follow your advice and attempt to do it as you say. It has good content - except for the pieces which are repeated -- that's really annoying too! So I will probably do that and maybe do it for a free copy of her books! lol
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
That's good, and I hope it works out. If she's upset by your criticism then she's probably not that cut out to be a writer. I hope you get to have a stronger friendship through this!
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
Yes - that would be nice. I am going to try to muddle through the rest of the book in the next couple of days so I can tell her I read it and enjoyed the content..
@Chijara (57)
• Philippines
10 Jun 12
You have to tell her. It's not easy to tell mistakes but she can't blame you in fact you buy her product in the first place. Tell her honestly for her to edit the book. Don't be afraid it's her fault not yours.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
This is true. Maybe she really just doesn't have a good grasp of grammar and wouldn't catch the mistakes at all on her own. I do not know - but it is more than just a mistake here or there it's throughout the whole book.
• Guangzhou, China
11 Jun 12
Yes, I agree. Even if the content is good, those mistakes can make readers suffer a lot,really. They may think the auther is clumsy.Before I had a bad habit, that was I never checked after finished a writing, and my teacher criticized me severely and others didn't like reading my words. Now I am changing this ,but still some mistakes can be seen.So I need to work hard.
@KrauseHome (32393)
• United States
8 Jun 12
Well, yrs. ago I know someone who has since passed that used one of these companies to publish a Book for her without using a publisher, and then had a lot of problems selling any of the books. I think sometimes these people need to have someone offer to help them before doing so, even if it is at a small price of some sort. \ To think that you might feel this way makes me wonder how many others will, and in time could hurt the publishing of other books by her for sure.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 12
The quality (or lack thereof) will certainly hurt her out in the "real" market. She'll be able to sell to a few but not the crowds for sure. I know she probably wanted to save money by doing it herself. It's much cheaper because they do not have to edit the content nor do they have to help market the product. I think it may be better to pay the extra for the comforts of knowing it's done right and has somewhere to go when it is completed!
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (32393)
• United States
8 Jun 12
Or like you said first find people who can help her at a lesser cost, or friends who can read it for her and help proofread it, etc. Somehow things need to get across to this person what they can do to improve their chances for better Sales in a Good way and then hope for the Best for them from there.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jun 12
Of course you have to tell her. Maybe she can correct further copies before people buy them. I know I love to write, but my grammar isn't perfect. Sadly I don't know many people myself who are really good at it, but if I had a friend like you, I would welcome the help.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jun 12
I'm not perfect either - lol! And I can dismiss a couple of minor mistakes - but this is like all through the pieces of the book that I have read so far. I try to get people to edit my stuff because I am certainly not beyond making plenty - so I always like another eye to see it because we can edit according to our intent - and miss the mistakes we made! Maybe we should create a site of writing/editors where we read each other's work and give each other feedback! lol
• United States
6 Jun 12
I don't see why writing sites don't offer a good grammar check program. That would make my life easier. Spell check was a blessing. Grammar check would be a dream come true.
1 person likes this
@mythociate (13650)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2 Oct 12
Yes, yes you should. Like you say; if you had made such mistakes in a book you published, you'd want to hear about it. (The publisher SHOULD have rejected the book--sending it back & telling her that there were too many mistakes, to edit & resubmit--but they probably care more about 'the money she's paying' than they do about 'their reputation as a publisher of respectable literature.')
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Oct 12
The trouble was that she self published and so she did not pay for anything but the printing of the book. That meant there was no editing involved! It's one of the cheaper options that many authors are taking today to get their works published!
• United States
10 Jun 12
She didn't think to proof her own work numerous times and, then, have someone (preferably, several people) edit the work? This is the problem with the rise of the vanity presses (that's what most self-publishers are) and content mills. Now, just about every person thinks that he or she is a "writer." Of course, you tell her. However, there is a good chance that she won't be speaking to you after you point this out. There is a reason why she didn't go through the painful process of editing her work.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
You would think you would go over your work over and over before releasing it.. that's what I do. But my friend still caught 3 or 4 small mistakes even though I was very careful. I do not know her well enough to know if she will ever speak to me again or not!
@millertime (1398)
• United States
10 Jun 12
If it was me, I think I would mention it to her and then offer to help her edit and make the corrections. It would help her out and also get your foot in the door to work as a proofreader and editor in the future. I think she would appreciate the input and you letting her know that there are glaring mistakes in the work. I know I would. I would hate to have something like that out there under my name, so I would like to get it fixed as soon as possible.
• United States
11 Jun 12
I know if it were mine I would certainly want to know so I could pull it off the shelf and fix the mistakes. I plan on talking to her about it at some time. I'm just not real sure how to approach it yet. I will probably start with telling her I read it and enjoyed the content...
@lelin1123 (15645)
• Puerto Rico
9 Jun 12
I would definitely let her know about it in a nice way. Offer your help in editing for a possible a reprint. I know if I had published a book I would want to know if there were errors that needed to be addressed. There is nothing worse then reading a book that has alot of grammar and editing problems. If she is serious about writing and it looks like she is, then you need to tell her before she writes and publishes another book. Good luck!
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
I thought I would offer to help her edit. But I am afraid she could be offended even then at all the corrections that had to be made.. but it's better than being offended; or worse than that - financially hurt because of the mistakes.
@riempie9 (1026)
• South Africa
9 Jun 12
You absolutely have to tell your friend. This is the problem with people who want to save money and then compromise a good book. I would not read to the second paragraph if I came across such a work. Do not waste your time with it. I am a novelist and have written ten books. My work is meticulously proofread and edited. I couldn't do without an editor. And grammar is the least of the problem. What if the whole book has a faulty structure?
• United States
11 Jun 12
Well, congrats on your ten books! I published a small devotional myself and had a friend read through it. I am a very good (at least above average) writer and do not make many mistakes. But I would not think of publishing without another reading through it first. It's too easy to edit by our "intent;" someone else will catch those small mistakes.
@ElicBxn (59954)
• United States
9 Jun 12
I read a book that was good, but the publisher stated at the back that the writer didn't allow any edits - so one word was glaringly misused in the entire book - "site" for "sight". I left a comment on Amazon about it but it appeared that the author learned her lesson about letting people make suggestions....
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 12
Wow.. I would hope someone would point out some of the obvious mistakes like that to me. I would want the opportunity of fixing it if it were possible to do so before printing more!
1 person likes this
@Suebee (2013)
• Canada
7 Jun 12
How does one get a book published with so many mistakes in it? (just curious). If I were you, I'd tell her about the mistakes. If she is serious about her writing she will welcome your comments and use them to her advantage.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
I am sure she got the book together and put it on disk and the company just printed it for her. Lots of the big publishers are offering this to save quite a bit of money for writers. They put a note in the front that they are not responsible for editing it only printing it. I hope to be able to help her in the future.
• India
7 Jun 12
I think you should tell your friend about it. that will help your friend in many ways like to improve his skill of writing and to correct the book so that those who buy the book will not get disappointed and will not blame your friend. If you dont said that then every reader of that book will criticize the author and dont mind to read the other books of your friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
I do not know her very well - but I do like the things she is writing about and think that the content is wonderful. I would not want to publish something like this. I would probably do a complete re-publish even if I found one small mistake in my own work! lol
• India
7 Jun 12
Of course you need to tell her if you're interested in her success. You also need to highlight the severe lack of quality editing in the books of self-published author in various forums. We all need to do it because that's the right thing to do. Otherwise, eventually the authors suffer. Even without your telling the message will eventually go bold and straight when readers begin complaining. But we all need to do what is right and even moral.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
This is very true! I think I would rather be told about my mistakes than to have a poor reputation for not publishing quality work. I will probably try to talk to her about it at some point.
@viji_v2 (727)
• India
7 Jun 12
It is nothing wrong to say her about those mistakes. In fact she would be happy if you note that to her as she finds you have read it fully. Next time she will get opinion for her work.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
She (and every author) should have at least a couple of well educated people look over their works before it is published. It is difficult to make changes after the book has been published - hopefully she will get an editor in the future.
• China
7 Jun 12
Well. I think you should tell her about the mistakes. If your friend want to be a great write more than just earn money, then she needs such advices no doubt.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
Yes indeed - she needs help or it will ruin her reputation as a writer. I would seriously hesistate before purchasing any more of her books even though I know her casually. I cannot hardly stand to read it although the content is good.
@shylade (3138)
• Philippines
7 Jun 12
I think you should tell her about it or maybe she already knew it. I wonder why she don't even bother to check the initial print out so she will be assured that the book will turn out fine.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jun 12
I do not know why anyone would publish a book without asking someone else to read it for you before sending it to print. I did that with my devotional book. I used an online printer and I put the book together - ordered one copy to preview. I had a friend read over it - sure enough she caught several mistakes that I had looked over.