I purchased a book based on a heartfelt endorsement by a woman who runs a book distribution and author services company. I subscribe to her newsletter; that’s where I learned of the book.

Email receipt.

The paperback arrived yesterday (not August 28 as estimated on the receipt, but that’s no big deal). The cover and internal layout were pleasing and up to industry standards.

The text, however, was riddled with errors—shockingly so.

The story the book tells is deeply moving, so I don’t want to attract negative attention to the book. Thus, I won’t name the book or the person who recommended. Instead, I wrote to her. I was concerned that she’d promoted a flawed book to her email subscribers, which given her apparent success, is in the multiple thousands.

I pointed out errors in the first seven pages and said the book deserves better. Generally, I find from zero (rare) to three errors in books that are produced with professional care. This is when I’m reading for enjoyment, not with my editor’s hat on, which is how I was reading the book I received yesterday.

I don’t know how the publishing pro and indie author enthusiast will react to my email. Will she think I’m too picky? Will she conclude I’m a nut case? Will she be grateful and hand the book off to a copyeditor? Will she simply not respond?

I have no clue. I stuck my neck out, and we’ll see what happens.

This, I believe, is a reminder to all of us in the independent publishing movement to be careful about what we endorse. Our reputations depend on not only producing high-quality books ourselves, but also ensuring the books we recommend to our readers and supporters are stellar as well, not just in the stories they have to tell, but in all aspects, including copyediting and proofreading.

Have You Noticed? by Laura McHale Holland

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