Hall of Shame Nominees

Below are the first Hall of Shame nominees received from readers. Remember that if you want to participate, send your nominations to hallofshame[at]anamericaneditor.com and be sure to follow the format shown in these entries.

1.  Permed to Death (Bad Hair Day Mystery 1) by Nancy J. Cohen.

  • Format: ebook
  • Publisher: E-Reads.
  • Problem: Poor editing
  • Samples of error(s): Character named Marla written as Maria or Mar1a, incorrect punctuation (e.g. question marks instead of quote marks), incorrect words given context
  • Frequency of error(s): Often
  • Overall Quality: Poor

2. Flatlander: The Collected Tales of Gil “The Arm” Hamilton by Larry Niven

  • Format: eReader ebook
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Problem: Poor OCR/Formatting
  • Samples of error(s): “of Ms skull” instead of “of his skull”; No Table of Contents; Misplaced and repeated chapters.
  • Frequency of error(s): Often
  • Reported: To Fictionwise in March and November 2009; To Del Rey in November 2009
  • Solved: Yes. Fixed sometime between November 2009 and February 2010.

3. Who Does What & Why in Book Publishing/Writers, Editors, and Money Men, by Clarkson Potter.

  • Format: Printed book
  • Publisher: Birch Lane Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55972-056-5
  • Problems: Very bad manuscript editing and layout production
  • Samples of error(s): Design and production: The title page is page 1 (i.e., there are no l.c. roman FM page numbers). Many loose lines. Paragraphs ending with the last word hyphenated on two lines (i.e., the last line contained only part of a word). A paragraph that ends with the verbal phrase “take up” broken onto two lines, i.e., the last line contains only two letters and a period. A page that begins with an ellipsis that ends a quotation from the preceding page.
  • Poor editing: “To try and thank the many people …” “To try”? Should be “To thank the many people…”; “The first was a large group of mostly seniors… together with a few graduate students … who were both attending Brown University.” Both is more readily construed to mean individuals, not groups. Cf. this mistake:”This book…centers on the authors, the editors and the publishers themselves. Together, these three people make…” Three “people”? Three groups. Many many errors of punctuation, such as putting a comma between two parts of a compound predicate; not closing a non-restrictive appositive or putting the comma in the wrong place; ending a sentence with a quote that ends with an ellipsis with only three periods (should be four). Repeating unusual words in close proximity, such as “ostensibly” and “ostensible” within three paragraphs. “…Thirty years ago, the ratio…was about fifty-fifty, whereas now it’s likely to be two or three to one.” Use one form of comparison or the other. Writing large numbers in words, not numerals, e.g., “…in excess of forty-five thousand new book titles…” (And then later he writes “… is approaching the multiple 100,000 mark”).
  • Frequency: Often on every page
  • Overall Quality: Very low

Below are the second round Hall of Shame nominees received from readers.  If you want to participate, send your nominations to hallofshame[at]anamericaneditor.com and be sure to follow the format shown in these entries.1. Star Trek (movie tie-in) by Alan Dean Foster

  • Format: print
  • Problem: poor editing
  • Samples of errors: Captain Kirk’s father, under attack, discovers he’s restricted to “manuel control.” This is right after the word “manual” has been spelled properly.
  • Solved: No, the current run of this best-seller still contains the error.

2. The Poison King, Adrienne Mayor

  • Format: print (Princeton University Press)
  • Problems: poor copyediting and proofreading
  • Samples of errors: (1) inconsistent spelling: Sea of Azov/Asov, Damogoras/Damagoras [in the same paragraph!], Lucullus/Luculus [same paragraph], Heniochoi/Heniochi; (2) typos or misspellings: ensuring [ensuing] months, unable to chose [choose], tassled [tasseled], seige [siege], Bibliotheque National [Nationale, several times], artemesia [artemisia], ro [to] become invincible, vistory [victory], putrify [putrefy], Mithrdates [Mithradates], A.E. Houseman [Housman]; (3) faulty past tense: everyone … spit [spat] on the memory; (4) missing word: caused it [to] fill; (5) wrong word: staunched [stanched] the flow of blood, enormity [enormous size, vastness] of the land and sky; (6) faulty punctuation: Mithradates’ died
  • Frequency of errors: occasional
  • Overall quality: neutral

reposted with permission from An American Editor

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