When good books turn bad

When good books turn bad

Over and over, scholars have debated the binary concepts of good and bad. In the world of reading, a good book may be considered ‘bad’ to another reader. Two persons cannot have the same perspective on a specific book. But how do we identify “bad” books?

One of the things that can downgrade the quality of a book is lack of proper editing and proofreading.

A book without thorough editing can turn off readers. No matter how great the writer might seem, nothing irritates readers more than a book mixed with giant monsters, red-eyed devils, in form of avoidable grammatical errors.

When a good book turns bad
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From my wealth of experience as a writer and editor, I have seen how harmful an unedited book could be. The headache that hits the brain, dulling one’s mind into a flat land of confusion. You stumble on “their” while the writer means “there”. The subtle difference between “everyday and every day” may not go unnoticed by the keenest of eyes.

We are in an era of self-publishing. Many new authors have embraced this, but some of these authors often fail to bake their books in the oven of editing before releasing them to the world.

Some months ago, an acquaintance told me about the new book he had self-published on Amazon. He sent the pdf format to me, but the content shocked and choked me.

This book was intended to guide upcoming writers, but the beauty of the book had been stolen by a legion of grammatical errors. I informed this author immediately and advised him to hire an editor.

In another instance, one of my cousins was reading a novel. But rather than enjoy the story in peace, the editor in her won’t let her be. She picked up a pencil to highlight the avoidable errors in the book.

We discussed this and wondered how the numerous people who had purchased it would feel when they read the error-infested book.

Right there, I understood the importance of editing. Book publishing is not a walk in the park, and a lot of people want to cut down on the cost. But writers shouldn’t do this to the detriment of their books.

One of the marks of a good writer is the ability to see through the lens of the readers. “How would my reader feel about this? Would it send the right signal? Won’t this error turn my readers off? How can I make this better for my readers?”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American novelist, said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Another quote by a Nobel Prize-winning author, Thomas Mann states: “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

Writers are superhumans because it is not easy to pen words. Sometimes, the words are better off in the head, but when the muse descends on a writer, he is compelled to write before he misses his best story.

But superhumans make mistakes too. Hence it is important to always involve others in the writing process. What do I mean by this? Get a fresh pair of eyes to examine your writing. Some of the awkward punctuations, words, and expressions you did not notice may be glaring to others.

Writers are super humans, but superhumans make mistakes too!

Nick Hornby said, “Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress…”

From the foregoing, the editing stage is crucial to publishing a good book. An unedited book is like a can of worms that can repulse and dissuade readers. It can wreck an unimaginable amount of havoc, thereby devaluing the efforts of the writer.

Every writer has the right to publish their story, but of what use is a story without readers? The relationship between a writer and the reader is mutually beneficial. Each exists for the other. And the writer must, as a matter of necessity, fashion his book to attract his target readers.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Abimbola F. Abatta will forever be grateful to the school of life. Life has taught her so many lessons through her everyday experiences. She writes, teaches, edits, proofreads, and inspires. As a lifetime scholar, she is devoted to learning from life’s experiences and sharing the lessons with the world. She is passionate about inscribing impact, influence, and inspiration through words. You can follow her on Facebook.

Previous contributions: Books Are Not DeadThe Legacy of Written Letters, Reading Fuels Knowledge, and Knowledge Drives Confidence and Reading Can Change Your Perception

Abimbola Abatta

Abimbola F. Abatta will forever be grateful to the school of life. Life has taught her so many lessons through her everyday experiences. She writes, teaches, edits, proofreads, and inspires. As a lifetime scholar, she is devoted to learning from life’s experiences and sharing the lessons with the world. She is passionate about inscribing impact, influence, and inspiration through words.

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