Typos: No Longer Just an Indie Problem

Virginia Heffernan recently wrote a piece in the Opinionator (Exclusive Online Commentary from the Times) called The Price of Typos. In it, Heffernan seeks to define the meaning of the typo (as if there were some deeper meaning to be found) and the reasons, which I believe pretty much boil down to both a lack of caring and the high price of hiring a good editor.

What Heffernan doesn’t mention is that one of the most cited reasons for not reading an indie book is usually a combination of poor editing and typos.  If you’re a regular IR reader, you’ve probably seen our “Trad Pubbed Book F**k-Up” feature, where we post typos found in traditionally published books, just to prove that indies are not the only writers prone to errors.

Whether a book is an indie or traditionally pubbed, I find spelling errors to be both jarring and inexcusable. It speaks of sloppiness. I think that traditionally pubbed authors have the expectation that their books will be edited properly by their publishers. And I think indie authors owe it to their readers to hire someone to insure the same.

What do you think?

7 replies
  1. Rich Dailey
    Rich Dailey says:

    It seems that the occurrence of typos in traditionally published books is on the increase. Does it have to do with the increasing speed that works are published? Laziness? Dumbing down of the editorial base? Blogs to book? I wonder.

  2. NSRob
    NSRob says:

    Yeah it is kinda jarring. I get somewhat amused when I see spelling mistakes in traditionally published books. I get ticked when I find it in my own writing after I’ve gone over it for the gazillionth time.

  3. Artuitive
    Artuitive says:

    My guess is that it’s related to the expected short-cut grammar and words we use in texting and Tweeting. Same habits carry over into larger-scale writings such as blogs, and then onto…eek books!

  4. Chazz
    Chazz says:

    I’ve eased up on the indignation throttle on this. It’s not a punch in the eye. It’s a typo. As long as there aren’t too many, I take it in stride as excusable.

    There are fewer barriers to mistakes than there used to be because of fewer editors and proofers in the loop. I’ve edited several books this year and I don’t know yet how many errors were introduced as the corrections were made. I’m hoping the manuscript received good proofing after I was done.

    Either way, I don’t think the strict grammarians who are too vocal about their OCD are the typical reader.

    Thanks for the post.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *