Monologue #13 – Proofreading

BookBub anyone?  I get the daily email and scroll through the list.  Sometimes I click a link and peruse the reviews of a book that might interest me.  Very quickly learned to ignore the good reviews in favor of the poor ones.  Three stars or less and I wanted to know why?  What did the author do wrong?  Why does this person want to tell other people what is wrong?  The bad reviews have become my school.

The reason for bad reviews is a long one.  I have read many that stated a book was boring, too poorly thought out or contained an element that the reader hadn’t expected.   While most of these reviews are valid from a reader’s point of view, as a writer with a book that I intend to self-publish, I want more from the reviews.  I have to look deeper down the list and keep reading.

At the top of list of things that readers complain about is something I can’t help but be appalled by; spelling and grammar.  To see a book review by Mr. Joe Average Reader that is denouncing the work due to its lack of proper spelling, poor word choice or repetitive use of a specific word makes my stomach clench and I usually back away from the book without making serious eye-contact.  I take those kind of reviews to heart.  Just reading one can make me run home and check my spelling.

As a future self-publisher, I find myself being harshly critical of my work now.  I know I can’t expect everyone to like what I offer, but if I can at least avoid being bashed for lack of proofreading then I will feel better about not being a one-size-fits-all kinda person.  To ignore something that is built into every single text editor, including our phones and text messaging apps, is a mark of extreme laziness.  I’ll probably worry myself to the point of nausea over this.

I’ve looked at this page a thousand times.  I’ve stared at it so much that I no longer know if anything is off.  I know what it is supposed to say so my eyes are reading what I have meant for them to read.  Whether or not it really looks the way I think it looks is a different story.  My proofreader isn’t home right now.

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