Disclaimer – I am sure this blog has genuine flaws LOL.
This is a quick blog , merely because it is something I come across all the time and it shouldn’t bother me by now but it does. It grates. I commonly see the ‘spelling’ issue on reviews across the board and by now I would have hoped that reviewers realised the difference between genuine typos – and intended spelling use.
This blog for example – UK English. I am British.
You see a long time ago I never had an editor and the books were put out after seeing very few proof readers, so when I saw error notes on reviews I knew it was genuine. I have dyslexia, among other difficulties and I generally call myself ‘grammar blind’ in mockery because it is one area I have always struggled. Since then I have been working with a professional editor, and a formatter to release the paperbacks as we go through my back list of books. Each one polished to perfection by someone from the industry who has an amazing reputation and is freelance to big publishers.
Therefore, I know. The first two paperbacks and E books are now as near flawless as I can ever hope for (even big publishers allow the odd typo if you ever find any) yet I still keep seeing complaints on the spelling and grammar in these books.
That is when it dawned on me.
The complaints were coming from certain countries.
Now you may not be aware of this, especially if you come from anywhere that writes in the English language and lives outside of USA and Canada, but we have different spelling and grammar rules on the same language in these countries and NEITHER are wrong.
UK, seems to be in sync with most other countries in how we spell many things, common spellings, use of grammar etc and rules in how things are written on paper, while USA and Canada have their own rules around it all and this may often seem like a book is riddled with flaws.
My books are set in the language of the main protagonist. Therefore books 1-6 are USA edited. Meaning they contain USA spelling and grammar, even though I am a British writer. This is deliberate and my editor is very efficient at editing both.
Book 7 however, she’s an English protagonist and is therefore set in UK English. Just Rose is Scottish, set in UK English but also with some Scot’s English as it is based in Scotland (that book was edited by my ex publishing company and still needs to be redone. They left many errors.)
You may not think that matters, but the countless reviews who feel it necessary to point out flaws in editing and grammar give a flawed view of the book to other readers (don’t start me on reviews that focus on this – it’s another rant lol). My editor and I are of the unanimous feeling that reviewers should never touch on this area unless it’s shockingly bad, or they are trained editors themselves. You simply do not know how many editors they have paid to see the books and can only go on trust that it has been done well. Writers are usually not the best with grammar and spelling, a lot of us have underlying learning issues or are on the spectrum and writers become blind to the flaws when trying to edit themselves. More common than you know in writers. Editors are not always as brilliant as they claim to be and in the self published industry, it can be very hit or miss. It has no bearing on the story itself, which is what you are reviewing.
Reviewers should focus on the plot, the story and whether it was enjoyable. After all most of the reviews I have seen, slating spelling and grammar, are riddled with genuine mistakes. It’s not actually something professional reviewers do, as they understand editing issues usually lie at the feet of the many small publishing companies, editors or proof readers and have no bearing on the writers talent to write.
Reviewers – review the story. Nothing else.
I picked an editor based on her recommendations and seeing her work among peers I respected and admired. She is amazing.
I have linked some examples of the huge difference in the two sets of spelling and grammar below, but here’s an image for a quick example.
Helpful websites – reviewers may want to brush up and take note if they review books set that are often in either language. These are good to know and quite often helps you determine if a book has real flaws, or just set in something you are not used to seeing.