1.5.13

Do Readers Even Care About Editing?

I guess this is more of a concern than an insecurity, but it seems like an appropriate topic for the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex. J. You-know-who-I'm-talkin'-about Cavanaugh.

We writers talk a lot about the importance of editing and spend countless hours polishing our pieces and seeking knowledgeable feedback before editing and polishing some more. And that's just to get it ready to be considered for publication. Before it makes its way onto Amazon, most of our manuscripts will be subjected to further scrutiny by a professional editor.

What I'm wondering is---is all this editing a colossal waste of time as far as readers are concerned?  I mean, sure, for our own satisfaction we want our work presented to the world in its most polished form, and there will certainly be other writers and critics with their eagle eyes upon it, but does the average reader even notice or care? I'm kind of thinking they don't.

If they did, how would books like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades of Grey become such consistent best sellers? It seems that once enchanted by a plot and/or characters, most readers are either willing to put up with or don't even notice that a book is in sore need of another hefty round of edits. They'll overlook repetitive phrasing, inconsistencies, and awkward, often incorrect, sentence structure so long as the story itself has pulled them in.

So if readers don't care about editing, why should I? Why should any of us? 



BREAKING NEWS: Hey, as you're bopping about the hop today, be sure to stop by Stephen Tremp's new place. Mean ol' Google erroneously shut down his blog & now he's got to start from scratch! Let's all give him a follow, eh?  Oh, he's also announcing a great Get Healthy blog hop.  

  

16 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Don't get me started on the poorly edited self published books that have hit the bestseller lists (or sell really well and garner great reviews). And the only thing the author has learned is that she doesn't have to hire a professional editor. When that happens, you can guarantee I WON'T buy the author's next book. Unfortunately I appear to be in the minority.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think I care for me. I want to know it's the best I can offer.

L.G. Smith said...

It's probably true that most people are only interested in a good story, which is why a lot of well written literary stuff gets no love. It's well written and beautiful, but often there's no feeling of "I gotta know what happens next."

Melissa Bradley said...

Oh do I know what you are talking about. I wonder why should I slave and stress over edits when it's obvious readers just don't seem to care.

Suze said...

Here's what I think. Honest-to-God my solid opinion.

Books don't need edits as much as writers do. After you've been doing this for years, *you've* undergone massive revising and what you write doesn't need to have fuck tweaked out of it.

That's what Girl thinks. Great post, babe.

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks for the shout out Nicki! I greatly appreciate it!

And I do care for an edited story. But I don't give bad marks if the editing is average. I just like a great story.

Johanna Garth said...

I'm with Alex on this one. I care for me. I couldn't take pride in a book that didn't feel like the best possible work I could do.

Jennifer Lane said...

Poor Stephen! I pray Google won't shut me down, but thank you for telling me about it so I can follow his new place.

Really interesting question you raise, my dear. After going through the editing process, I cannot stomach novels that have obnoxious, repeated errors. But before that I didn't mind too much. Characterization is still most important. Christian Grey and Edward Cullen's tremendous characterization (in my opinion) allowed me to overlook some flaws.

Man O' Clay said...

Oh, yes, readers care. Sometimes they don't know they care - that is, until they spot an error. And that's the trick with telling a good story, it has to feel effortless and the reader has to be able to submerge into it without noticing form. Good question!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Like Alex said, I care for me. But I have had editors I trusted do horrendous jobs and been stung by reader criticism. Ouch!!

Sometimes an error can take the reader right out of the flow of the book -- some never return.

Denise Covey said...

Hey Nicki, I think readers do notice lack of editing, though maybe not at the level of the 3 novels/series you mentioned. I couldn't find too much wrong with any of them and I have a keen editor's eye. But I guess I was blown away by the storylines, at least in a couple of them. I think we owe the writing profession good editing (even though we find a lack of edits in even best sellers these days!)

Poor ole Stephen. I'll pay him a visit...D

Mark Means said...

I reconnected with Stephen today, but thanks for mentioning him again...it's a shame what happened to his blog :(

For me, I'd want a highly polished product...especially if it's something out there for public consumption. Literary works have the potential to transcend the ages and I'd hate to have my work known as 'crap' throughout time :)

Cherie Colyer said...

Great question. I'm with Alex on this, too. I go through all the rounds of edits so I know I've put my best work out into the world. I do know I'm more of a critic than friends and family when it comes to this. I've put books down because poor editing made it hard for me to stay in the story.

Michael Di Gesu said...

You already know how INSANE I am about editing. In general I don't believe the AVERAGE reader cares... BUT the ones who read voraciously WILL.

Thanks for the shout out about the hop..

RAIN ALL WEEK IN ORLANDO AND DISNEY... I want to come home NOW. LOl. Honesty the weather here has been a great disappointment.

BUT trying to have fun anyway....

LD Masterson said...

I think readers who are also writers notice these thing more but I've always been bothered by editing errors when I read. They will pull me completely out of the story.

Gina Gao said...

This is such a true post! I believe most readers are so blinded by the story that they tend to ignore the most obvious mistakes.

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