Bored of the Edits

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I have written before that debut indie authors should be wary of the mantra that they must pay a lot of money for editors or they will ruin their career. In reality, the only difference between the traditional world of publishing and digital indie publishing is that in the latter case, the buck really does stop with the author. Or to put it another way, the edits stop with the author. At some stage, a decision has to be made that while some typos might persist, it is time to publish and be damned by the typo hunters. With an indie published author, especially one only producing eBooks, the buck and the editing stops when they say so. In the traditional world of publishing, the buck and editing stops at the publisher's behest.

I will shortly publish a follow-up to this article on the horror that can be the traditional publishing world's attempt at eBook publication, but now I want to focus on the print world, and probably the most famous editorial nightmare in the history of literature, The Lord of the Rings. There is a very telling opening sentence to the "Note on the 50th Anniversary Edition" that reveals just how bad the traditional world of publishing can be. "In this edition of The Lord of the Rings, prepared for the fiftieth anniversary of its publication, between three and four hundred emendations have been made following an exhaustive review of past editions and printings." Three to four hundred! Okay, The Lord of the Rings is one hefty doorstop of a book. Nonetheless, those who criticise the indie community for dragging literature into the dirt by poor editing, need to study the history of literature. A lot of these errors are blamed on printers, the people that is, not the machines. So much for the line that the digital age has ruined the high standards of publishing. One editor to rule them all One proof-reader to find them One indie author to say stuff it all and refuse to be bound by them.

© Mercia McMahon. All rights reserved

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