Our May Editing Contest was a comedy of errors..
I challenged contestants to wade through a real post riddled with dozens of intentional mistakes. Mistakes composed entirely of words spelled correctly, but used incorrectly.
These are the errors an ordinary spell-checking program cannot reliably identify. They fool your own eye, too, since you know your intended meaning and thus tend to skim past them.
We had a slew of entries, and no true consensus on the correct count; although there was a circling ’round the drain in the vicinity of “about 70” mistakes in total.
I promised more than a simple answer: that I would offer the original post with every error spotlighted. In the reprinted post, shown below, each spelled-right-but-used-incorrectly word is now red-inked.
For a small bonus, I asked players how many complete sentences showed no such errors. These I’ve underlined and colored green.
Now it’s nearly time to distribute May’s prizes–
- First Prize, closest error-count — $20
- Entry Prize, chosen at random among ALL entries — $10
- Bonus Prize, for the correct-sentences count — $5
But before I do, let’s have a few keen eyes check my work. Will you read the red- and green-lined post and see if I’ve caught all of the mistakes? Call-out any further corrections you discover by adding a Comment, just below the contest post.
So, for your review, here’s how the May Spell-Checker Error Contest unfolded:
The May Spell-Checker Error Contest begins…
Post: Should You Relay on Spell-Checker to Edit Your Book?
by Jim Bessey
If your like me, you depend upon your word-processing software’s spell-checker to pinpoint errors when your composing.
Let’s be honest hear: even if you did once know how too spell thousands of words, your digital editing buddy has taken over the heavy lifting. Unless you’ve turned yours off (and why wood you??).
When you’re racing your fingers across the keyboard, ideas spouting fourth like lava, Spell-check is an amazing time-savor and a God-send.
So, why do so mane experts like Guy Kawasaki insist that you must pay a competent editor to go though your manuscript before you publish it?
Doesn’t good software make expensive editors obsolete? You mite think sow.
However, judging by the shear number of errors I’m seeing in ebooks I’ve bought from Amazon, we’d all be better of to air on the side of caution and pay-up!
On of the funniest mistakes I’ve seen this past ear was from an Author who described the device that’s glued to the inside of you’re windshield as a “review mirror.” Seriously?
“But I can’t afford it!” you scream.
But can you afford knot to hire an editor? Think about this for a minute. In are cent post, author Peg Brantley (Red Tide, The Missings) quoted sum stunning statistics:
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 books are published each year in the U.S. alone. That’s more than 83,000 a month. 2,700 a day. 114 books a minute. Every minute.
Now, were would you rather be among those million new books this year? Top 10% or bottom 10%? Here’s how two guarantee the ladder: publish a book filled with mistakes like the ones in this post.
If you want to cell books, lost of them, yours will need to bee nearly error-free.
“I can due it myself,” you insist.
Can you really? Can you, your husband, ore your best righting buddy catch at least 99% of the mistakes in your manuscript?
History and personal experience says, “not likely.”
The trouble centers around an lack of objectivity. You now what you rote. Your spouse loves you, and your friend doesn’t want to hurt you feelings. Their not editors, so you can’t deepened on then to be through and professional.
Sew what’s a writer to do?
You could settle four less. I’m not trying to rein on your parade here. I’m trying to be honest, the weigh a paid editor would level with you.
Event if your story is fantastic, but its filled with mistakes — only your friends will bye it.
If you have optimistic goals about sails of your book and want to keep those objectives in site, you well have to publish the beast possible product that you can produce. Don’t district readers with errors. They’ll never comeback.
And they won’t even bother to leaf you reviews. Or even review mirrors. (Don’t count that!)
Trust me, the future success off your book depends on word of month and grate reviews.
Otherwise, you simply don’t half enough friends.
Wear do you want your book to be in they ear 2014? If you’d like to sea it hit one of Amazon’s best-seller lists, then byte the bullet and heir a professional editor.
Please don’t weight for pour reviews and dismal sales figures to proof my point for you.
Invest in yore future and inspect success fore your book. And stop looking for any more errors now!
»Photo credit: Zach Klein
Did you find “spell-checker” errors that I missed? Describe your additional finds in Comments, just below.
Note: For this contest, we did not include any inadvertent punctuation or grammatical errors unrelated to the whole spell-checker issue here. Thanks!