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As a Reader, Do you care about Flaws in Romance Books?

May 14, 2012

As many of you know, I write, work a full-time job and run The Season Blog and website. It leaves me little time for…well anything else.   For the last couple months I’ve been looking for someone to take over much of the day-to-day work of the blog and I’ve found that person in Madison James. She’s a reader first and foremost with no aspirations to write. She’s also completely fascinated with the romance publishing industry as a whole.  Please give her a warm welcome. I know you’re going to find her as interesting, fun and as intuitive as I do.

As always, I’ll be around, still supplying lots of books for the giveaways and popping in when I have interesting tidbits to tell. Speaking of giveaways, I’ll be holding a big one for Memorial Day. Grand Prize winner will win 25 books. Details to come…


Thanks for that warm welcome Bev.

Hello The Season Readers, Madison here, I know that I have some big shoes to fill but I know I’m up for the challenge. Okay, The Season Readers let’s jump right in shall we?

I’ve recently just bought my first tablet and I have been in absolute heaven devouring new romance books and old favorites. As I found on my recent quest, the digital market includes traditional published books and self-published books.  What I have found, which I’ve never noticed before in reading traditional hard cover books, is the glaring mistakes that are hard to look over. One book in particular was so bad that I rated it and in my review pointed out all of the mistakes, hoping the author would read the review and take some of my suggestions to heart and correct them.

As a result, I began to wonder if others are having the same experiences like mine, and if you are, does it bother you?   Comment to enter win Nora Roberts’  THE LAST BOYFRIEND: In Print (U.S Residents only) or Digital. 

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  1. Recently, I have read some books that have terrible grammar in their written words. This bothers me a lot and I put that book away as one I am not going to finish.
    Glad to have you on board, Madison.

  2. If there are glaring historical errors it makes the story unbelievable and will cause me not to finish the book. I can usually overlook errors in grammar though I will find myself correcting them out loud as I am reading. Makes me fun to be around! :)

    Thanks for the contest!

  3. I know it’s an issue in self-published books, and it does happen on occasion with the bigger pubs, but I’d be surprised if it was very prevalent there. The biggest reason I think is the lack of investment in editing and copy-editing on the part of self-pubbed authors. It costs money to get that done, and many can’t afford it or worse, don’t think they need to. One of my pet peeves for sure. Don’t publish unless it’s as good as you can make it, and 99% of authors don’t have the required editing and copy-editing skills to do it on their own. Consequently, you get a lot of stuff up there in the self-pub market that just isn’t well done. It’s a disservice to readers and other authors out there who do put in the effort. Sadly, we can’t make it a requirement to do so. I wish we could.

  4. Misspelled words haunt me, LOL. I don’t understand how they are not caught before being published. There are a lot of mistakes in ebooks that I try to overlook. But when every other paragraph has mistakes, I can’t overlook it. I usually won’t finish the book. Even worse is grammar mistakes. The worst ones are to, too, their, there and they’re. My pet peeves(as if you can’t tell) are terrible grammar and spelling! I have let authors know when their ebook is full of mistakes. Usually they aren’t even aware of it. I know I would want to know if my book was full of errors(if I were a writer).

    • Hi Angie, I agree…I read a book that kept spelling a lot ALLOT at least 100 times through out the book. It drove me crazy!

  5. If the mistakes don’t push me out of the narrative, then I can deal with them. Repeated spelling or punctuation errors are a deal breaker. Plot errors (timeline issues, etc.) will usually be enough for me to stop reading the book.

  6. Welcome Madison! It does bother me when there are lots of spelling errors or glaring errors in the book such as someone talking to themselves (supposed to be talking to someone else, but their name was there twice). Yes, believe it or not, I did read one book that was like that. I also dislike glaring errors.

  7. I don’t mind a few mistakes. No one is perfect. But I will say that I just finished a book where there were quite a few historical mistakes and that was not a fun read. It took everything in me to finish the book. I don’t know how it made it past editing. It was published by Avon. It was a first book, so hopefully the author will get better as she writes more books.

  8. It only is bothersome if it is a lot….

  9. I’m a big fan of error-free books. I know nothing is perfect, and I don’t mind one or two typos here or there, but if the problem continues, I’ll stop reading.

    Welcome, Madison!

  10. If the mistakes aren’t so obvious they detract from the story I can deal with them.

  11. It only bothers me if there are glaring errors like wrong language, clothing etc., for a era in a historical, getting names mixed up or lots of typos.

  12. I do care about flaws. How can anyone not care? This side of self-publishing makes me reconsider if I’m willing to read a book that has been self-published. That being said, I don’t expect perfection.

  13. Certain mistakes bother me. I have read a few where the author has put the wrong character’s name in. Like a conversation between 2 people and all of the sudden there is 3rd but there is not. It is very confusing. Spelling and punctuation are an irritant but not a deal breaker for me. Another issue I see is not using chapters correctly, really some are just stuck in to say there is another chapter but the story continues so it was not needed, others in is more like 4 chapters in one. I know it seems a weird pet peeve but proper chapters help things flow smoothly instead of the story jumping and your trying to figure out how you got here when the last sentence you were there.

  14. I think I fall on the more forgiving side of finding errors–if anything, it encourages me to read the ebook faster (a good thing, since there are so many to read!). If it’s bad enough to throw me out of the story, though, then it’s going into the trash folder

  15. I use to do a lot of proofreading in my work and typos really stand out for me. They don’t bother me too much but I have noticed that there are more and more of them lately. I normally read print, mass marketed books and haven’t gotten into the selfpublished as yet, but I am going to guess there are some books that are going to have more errors than say that Nora Roberts book you are giving away :)

  16. Misspelled words really bother me.

  17. Some flaws bother me when they throw me out of the book. I hate misspellings and grammar errors.

  18. Some grammers bothers me cause i cant catch on with wht that certain lines r saying but i catch up abt it and laugh it off thinking even the editors and authors makes grammer mistakes but as long as story line is interesting then grammer can be overlooked. :)

  19. Flaws don’t bother me much. When I see one, it doesn’t keep me from finishing a book. If there’s a historical fact error, I can overlook it. After all, I’m reading it for the romance and HEA, not historical accuracy. But one flaw that does annoy me is character descriptions. For example in one book that I read the author twice described the hero as having green eyes. Then in the latter half of the book she says he has blue eyes. How can the editor not catch that?

    Welcome aboard Madison! Looking forward to hearing more from you 😉

  20. Welcome Madison! So excited to have you here. I love Bev to bits, so if she recruited you then I have a feeling I love you just as much.

    Flaws– hmm, I think flaws and my ability to deal with them depend on the flaw. I can’t stand flaws in plot or description. I can’t stand a flaw in character’s actions, where the author makes a character go against their natural personality without good reason. One of my gal pals and I say that we can accept anything, if you give us a valid reason as to why it’s happening. So for me the flaws I truly can’t stand are where something happens without any good reason.

  21. As a former editor and website owner myself, I’ll admit that errors of any kind grate on my nerves. I can generally overlook the occasional misspelling or grammar error… but I hate when they keep repeating within the same book. I recently reviewed a book where the villain’s name was spelled 3 different ways within the space of a couple chapters. I think what shocked me was that this was a big NY publisher and not self-published or even an e-pub.

  22. I have read a couple books that have had so many typos and grammatical errors it ruined the story for me. One was romance one was a thriller. I figure someone skipped doing their job, which is too bad for the author.

    (no need to enter me in the drawing, just commenting!)

  23. Welcome! I don’t really like typos or grammatical errors, but it doesn’t stop me from reading the book.

  24. I don’t mind a typo in a book, but once I’ve seen a few of them I do think the book is “less” in my opinion.

  25. Welcome I don’t see much of that , if good bookmi keep reading it

  26. Welcome, Madison.
    I am not certain what type of mistakes you are referring to, but the ones I have found are most distracting. The technical mistakes are annoying. Mistakes in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure, break the flow of reading. It seems to becoming more common in books and newspapers. I am not certain who is to blame for it, but it needs to stop. One mistake every once in a while isn’t bad, but one book I read had up to 15 errors on a page. After a few chapters, I wanted to get a red pen and start making corrections. I wouldn’t let my children hand in school work with that many mistakes. This was a book from a major publisher.

    Inaccuracies are another story. If a person is writing about a place, they better be familiar with it. Not everyone will catch that distances or directions are wrong, but for people familiar with the area, it will matter. Then you have historical accuracy, job accuracy, weather accuracy, etc. I have caught mistakes in all of them and it does disrupt the story.

    That is what copyeditors are for. Among other things, it is their job to catch those mistakes. Self-publishing authors sometimes skip this step either to save money or because they think they don’t need it. Big mistake. They are too close to their story and are not going to catch many of the things that could be improved or corrected.

  27. WelcomeMadison!!!! I dislike one page the hero is 37 then next chapter he’s 32, etc. Typos in book do not bother in me!!!!

  28. Hi Madison,

    Pet Peeves:

    I hate when the book’s cover does not match the character’s description! I also hate it when the back blurb has a different synopsis of the story or a character has a different name in the story. This should never happen!

    I dislike names that are odd or cleverly spelled to be different or I’m not sure how to pronounce them and I have to make up a nickname. I dislike a lot of foreign dialect, brogue …it adds a litttle flavor but can get really tedious to slog through.

    Small spelling and grammer errors I can forgive. Cover pictures showing Paris when it’s set in Australia come on! I hate stories that all of a sudden end. It’s like the author reached her page count and said I’m done. I also dislike short stories that are sold as a novel. Books are expensive and I don’t want to feel shortchanged.

    Best wishes!

    • I know Laurie, I run across that one occasionally. I have some inside information on that one – sometimes the publisher gives the author a cover that doesn’t match, unfortunately. I believe it pisses the author off as well.

      Thanks for the well wishes!

      • I just finished one that featured a dark haired, rough looking hero toting a handgun and dark haired heroine on the cover. In the book the are doctors (no guns) and both blond. He is described as being so fair his hair was almost white. They could have put two giraffes on the cover and been just as close to the description.

  29. Welcome Madison!
    Grammar, punctuation, typos and formatting errors are like nails on a chalkboard to me. I figure that’s what beta readers and editors and even friends are for. There is no reason for books to have so many errors. I did a favor for a writer friend and read her first self-published book. She gave it to me after it was out. I could’t see the story for all the errors in it.

  30. Hi Madison! Welcome to the Season blog! We’re pretty friendly here, so I think you’ll be fine. 😀

    As for me, it depends on the number of errors. If there are only a few, it doesn’t bother me that much. I hate grammar and spelling errors, but I can overlook a handful of errors, because even gramatically inclined humans can miss something, even professional copy-editors misspell things in newspapers and such. However, if the book is FULL of grammar and spelling errors, I can’t stand it, and I won’t finish reading it. I’ll even often post reviews so that the author knows what is wrong, and hope that they will take my advice. They might be a talented story teller, but if it has that many errors, it’s basically unreadable.

    • Thanks for the warm welcome Monica, I feel much more confident today!

      I agree with all of your points.

  31. First off, welcome to the blog. And yes, errors do bother me. I have had e-books I have stopped reading and returned for credit, it bothers me so badly. I think the idea that e-books don’t have to have the same standards as print is what bothers me the most. To not make sure a book is readable is an insult to me, but mostly to the author and her/his craft. I don’t have a problem paying the same for an e-book as a paperback (despite the agency pricing controversy), but I do have a problem paying the same price for an inferior product. Bottom line…a book should not be unreadable.

    I once read a blog where it was suggested reading the words backward in the sentence to be more able to see the errors in spelling. That probably wouldn’t work for an entire book, but it’s something to think about when searching for those pesky errors and typos :-)

  32. I’ve noticed errors more and more in ebooks. To me it is very frustrating! I am pretty picky about a wrong word, when you know it should be a totally different one and that it is glaringly obvious. I can overlook some, hey everyone types wrong sometimes but when there get to be many of them in one book its just wrong.

  33. Welcome, Madison!

    I can overlook one or two mistakes in a book, but any more than that will seriously impact my enjoyment. I recently tried a sample on my Kindle and the first sentence made me wish I could write “run-on” in the margins. I figured if the author couldn’t even be bothered to polish the *first sentence*, the likelihood of me enjoying the rest of the book was low.

  34. Hi, I’ve just joined, so welcome to Madison and me! You’re all “write”…(a touch of corny humor) Just like there are strict guidelines for fromatting of eBooks, there should be some sort of editorial review, i.e., a book that has no grammatical or spelling erors should have some kind of stamp that it puts it in a preferred category if the author is the one uploading the book. This would actually be helpful to the author, as it’s quite likely they’ve looked over their work dozens of times and have become immune to their own mistakes.

  35. I overlook mistakes in books, they don’t bother me unless its really bad.

  36. It bothers me if there are a lot of errors. There is one popular author that has tons of glaring errors in her books. There are so many , that i wonder if the copy editor can’t catch them all. Some writers can pen a wonderful story, but that doesn’t mean they know the structure of a sentence or the meaning of a word.

  37. Welcome, Madison!! I find grammar and spelling errors in a number of the e-books I read and it does throw me off and I may have to read the sentence a couple of times. It can certainly make the book difficult to read, but I will finish the book and will also read more books by that author. While annoying, it’s not an unforgivable offense for me.

  38. I do hate it when there are lots of errors in a book and since getting my nook I’ve seen a lot of them. Everything from grammar to calling characters the wrong name . However I have found that sometimes if you can get passed the errors the story is worth it . Some of these authors just need a good editor . The spelling errors don’t bother me most of the time because I’m such a poor speller myself I probably don’t catch them all but really this day and age it shouldn’t happen since all computers have spell check.I recently read a book that the author must have had a bet going on how many times she could use the word had in one novel . I counted 4 times in one sentence alone but if you could get past all the times had was written it was a great story and I would read other books by that author.

  39. Welcome to the blog Madison. Anything that helps Bev write more is a good thing!

    Re your question–in final, published books, digital or print, mistakes do bother me. (In ARCs, I forgive all.) Errors in other printed materials, like magazines and newspapers, also bother me. Factual mistakes bug me more than typos and punctuation errors. I’m a consumer and I like quality goods. Who doesn’t?

  40. I agree with many of the commentators that poor spelling and grammar totally distract from reading and enjoying a book. Librarypat’s comments were expressed very well.
    I read a book last year that had numerous errors. In one section there were so many that I started a list. I filled two sheets of paper on one particularly horrible ten-page section. I was going to send it to the publisher, but I didn’t. However, everyone doesn’t feel as I do because that book is a finalist for a RITA!
    I have written to writers if I see errors in spelling , etc. on their websites or in their newsletters. They always write to thank me and fix the problems. Everyone needs to proofread what is published. It’s hard to do a final edit on your own writing. If you knew something was wrong, you’d probably have fixed it already. For a book I would think the buck stops with the editor.
    Welcome , Madison. The Season Blog is a great and extensively read website. I’m sure you’ll be busy. :-)

  41. With the amount of books I read I haven’t really found that many mistakes that would make me put the book down. I think one of the biggest pet peeves I have is the cover. Seeing a dark haired hero on the cover and reading he’s blonde etc. If I’m really into a great story and come across spelling errors, my brain catches it like a glitch but I keep going because I’m so into the story. But numerous errors would bother me because of the disruption in my train of thought. Welcome to the site Madison. :)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  42. Welcome, Madison! I agree with what others have said. Mistakes can be very distracting. Especially when they disrupt the flow of storytelling.

  43. Well it depends. I hate grammatical errors, typos and glaring errors like two instead of too, etc.

    But worse than that I can across a book that I liked but there was a scene where the heroine left her house, the lights were on and she went back in later and the lights were off and no mention was made of possibly someone had been there and turned them off. It was just an oversight that should have been picked up.

    And I have mentioned this scenario several times when asked a similar question.

    Back blurb had the hero having a child in the book but the actual sex of the child was the exact opposite of what was mentioned on the back cover. I kept waiting for that child to die and another one to be born of the opposite sex. That was the by far the worse error I have come across.

    And I also hate it when the hero is mentioned as having a hairy chest and the cover depicts a bare chest or the hair color doesnt match what is said in the book. Sometimes the scene on the front cover has nothing to do with the book – another thing that bothers me.

    But if the story holds my interest, I won’t close the book.

  44. meant to say CAME ACROSS a book…sorry.

  45. For the past 5 weeks, due to vision problems, I haven’t been able to read a paperback book without the aid of a magnifying glass. So, since I have a new Kindle Fire, I decided that’s what I’ll read until I get new glasses. Most of the books I have on my Kindle and have been reading are freebies, mainly short stories of novellas. And most of those are self-published by relatively unknown (or at least unknown to me) authors. I’m beginning to believe these authors and their books would never, ever find their way into print (print or e-book) by a publisher of reputation. Most are so poorly written, so full of grammar and spelling errors and never edited by someone who knew how to edit that it was extremely difficult to read. That said, I have found some that did have a well-rounded, well-written story and characters. Good enough that I could easily ignore the few spelling and grammar errors I found. Those gems are few and far between. One needs to shovel through a lot of s**t to find them however. Not something I care to do on a regular basis. I’m for sticking with authors whom I know and are known for quality in the end product.

  46. A lot of errors in a book does interrupt the story and then that becomes annoying. Good luck at The Season Madison!

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