BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One Shot At a First Impression

On Monday, I saw the cover for a book being offered free on Kindle. The cover looked good. Maybe not as good as some, but it was professionally done. The title was awesome. Actually, I was ready to buy the book on the title alone, that's how cool it was. As as side whine, why can't I ever come up with perfect titles like that? But at this point, the author all but has me. I click through to Amazon to read a blurb and learn what this book with the awesome title is all about.

And there, in the first sentence of the book description, is a blatant grammar goof. Your instead of you're.

I went from I'm 99% sure I'm going to download this book to I'm 99% sure I'm not going to download this book. All I could think was that if the blurb had this error, the story was probably just as sloppy. I paged down to look at reviews, and sure enough, there's one that talked about the book being riddled with grammar and formatting errors.

The author lost me.

I'm not asking for perfect grammar. Storytelling sometimes bends the rules for the sake of the tale, but your/you're, there/they're/their, its/it's, and other such things? These are basic. A typo on Twitter or in a blog post is one thing, but not in your book description. My first thought wasn't oh, the author made a typo. My immediate reaction was OMG if she can't use your/you're correctly, the book will be a disaster. And since a reviewer commented on all the mistakes in the story, I'm guessing this wasn't only a typo.

The book page is your introduction to the reader. What's your first impression going to be? She got it partly right. She paid to have a good cover made and she'd come up with a title that was intriguing enough for me to want to buy her book, but she failed by not having someone proofread her paragraph of description.

I might be a unique case because I'm a writer myself, but I've heard a lot of readers say mistakes turn them off books and this includes books--both electronic and print--put out by NYC publishers. But as a self-publisher, the author has control over a lot of things and that includes hiring a good copy editor to go through line by line. Maybe it doesn't matter to some authors, but it should. If you're a professional, if you look at your writing as a career, as your passion, then you should want your work to be as good as you can make.

If you don't care, well, I've got authors to read who do.