What to do, what to do?

I have a little bit of a writer’s moral conflict. I just read a free download from Smashwords by an independent author, like me. Someone who loves writing, wants to share her work and maybe make a little money, or a lot of money. I don’t know.

It’s a short story (9000 words), an introduction to a murder mystery series. I rarely read that genre–just doesn’t interest me, but millions love it. I want to start checking the quality of what people are putting out.

The story itself was interesting and we got to know a couple of the characters, although I think from the description of the first book, it the series might br about the detective and not the main character in this story.

But my issue with it is quite a few typos. I’m not the most astute at picking out typos, in my own or anybody else writing. Heck, sometimes I can’t see the jar of mayo right in front of me. I’m not sure this writer had anybody else read it before she put it up on Smashwords. There are a couple of misused words–they sound similar to the word I think the writer meant to use, but didn’t get corrected. There are also a few words that look like leftovers from a rewrite–the sentence was changed, some words deleted, but not quite all that were no longer needed. There were several book titles, although fictitious, that should have been italicized. And I noticed a few commas that never showed up.

Now, if I were this writer, would I want some stranger, even a well-intentioned one, contacting me and saying, “Thanks for the free read, but here are a few things you should change for the sake of your reputation and all independent writers and self-publishers.”?

I catch errors in printed books all the time. It happens, even though with “real” books from “real” publishers, a work should go through enough hands to prevent any typos from getting by. And I suspect a few will get by me and my “editing team.” Will I want to know about them? Sure, at least so I would know to be more careful next time.

Maybe my question should be “Do I have the courage to communicate with the author about this? I assume she wants to be professional–she has an awesome website and the trailer for one of her books is about as good as they get.

So, dear reader(s), please advise.

1 thought on “What to do, what to do?

  1. Ooh. Tricky. I think that if you phrase it politely enough, in a private message, you might have some success in helping her. Or she might plaster the internet with nasty comments about you. I used to write on Helium, and we'd make that sort of comments to each other. Usually they were well received. However, an article you threw together about how to make a long train ride more comfortable isn't the same as a novel or short story you slaved away at and love more–quite possibly–than all your other possessions put together.

I would love to know what you think.

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