Don’t Judge Until You’ve Written Your Own Book

Don’t Judge Until You’ve Written Your Own Book

Don’t Judge Until You’ve Written Your Own Book

Posted on 12/13/2022 Evan Swensen
Don’t Judge Until You’ve Written Your Own Book

Punctuating pleasant lunchtime conversation, outdoor writer George (not his real name) held up a recently released nonfiction fishing book, “This book is filled with errors. Why would a publisher put out something this bad?”

Although our company hadn’t published the book, I felt inclined to defend its author and publisher. “The author probably had different experiences than you did, and everyone sees the same thing with different eyes.”

“I’m not talking about the author’s stories. I’m talking about spelling mistakes and mechanical errors.”

“Well, George, I don’t think you should judge until you’ve written your own book. A book is different than a 2,500-word magazine fishing story.”

“Only longer. That’s all,” George responds, and the conversation moves on.

A few weeks later, George’s first book manuscript graced my desk.

After reviewing the work, I called George. “George, do you have spell check on your computer?”

“No, I don’t need spell check. Spelling is my strong suit.”

“George, your book has more than a hundred spelling errors.”

“Impossible!”

We elected not to publish his book. George self-published it. When we reviewed the copy George sent us, it was evident that he had not added spell check to his writing program. The published book had more than 100 “impossible” spelling errors.

I bring this up for two reasons: don’t judge until your own manuscript has transformed into a published book; spell check your work and use a professional copy editor—or at a minimum, use a Grammarly-like writing program.

You’ll be glad you did.

So will your publisher—and your readers.

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