Friday, 4 April 2014

Reviews and Spoilers

I've been receiving some excellent reviews for my latest World War II book, Barbara's War – The Middle Years, which is wonderful. However, the latest review:  

'I was sure Barbara was going to marry John but was so pleased that she married Alex in the end. I can't wait to read more to find out if Alex is the father. I love Dr Sinclair's character and the bond he has with Barbara. I also love Alex he is such a gentleman and a true hero. A must read, very easy to read, lots of spelling mistakes noted but altogether a great story that keeps you wanting to read more.'

This was a five-star review despite the strange comment about spelling. This isn't an American reviewer so the complaint can't be about British spelling instead of American. All my books are professionally edited and proofread so I'm at a loss to know what spelling mistakes she is referring to.
Even with the most careful and expert eyes, missing words and typos get through even with the major publishers. I'm just reading Christian Cameron's books – absolutely amazing I can highly recommend them to anyone who likes thrilling, action packed ancient Greece historicals –  I stopped counting the formatting and typographical errors after twelve. He writes for Orion, one of the big five. 

When I have a spare few hours I will read through my file again and see if I can pick out anything that needs changing. I use voice recognition and this for some strange reason puts "and" for "had". I know a couple of these have been missed. It also frequently misses out 'for'and 'are'.

Also this reviewer reveals a major plot point – I do wish they wouldn't do this. I suppose it's not quite so crucial with their historical saga – but I've seen it done with reviews on thrillers and that ruins the story for the next reader.

I would be interested to know whether these ever present formatting/typos in e-books, (the process of reformatting the file is what produces them as they are rarely found in print books) actually impact on your reading pleasure. They  don't really bother me, although extra spaces in a line and between paragraphs can jerk you out of the story. There's no excuse for these as anyone can see them and they are easily removed.
What about spoilers? Do you think they are more, or less, detrimental to the reading experience?

Fenella J Miller


  1. I must admit, Fenella, that when I notice little mistakes in other authors' ebooks I feel somewhat relieved that it isn't just me! Like you, I have my books edited but the ebook publishing process does throw up some oddities - which can't always be rectified as they sometimes appear in one size of reading device and not others. I expect the process will gradually improve as technology advances. Meanwhile we should be happy if the overall tone and star-rating of our reviews are good.

  2. I wish! I sometimes get 1* reviews from US - 'This book is rubbish and badly written' sort of thing. Pretty sure they haven't read the book. Never in UK though - thank goodness.