Sunday, September 29, 2013

Practice What You Preach

I read a lot of e-newsletters. Some give me tips on how to write better, some give me clues about markets I might submit to, and some try to tell me how to market my work, once it gets published. Most of them I can read fairly quickly. But one of them I read this week... !

I don't remember which newsletter I was reading, possibly one on marketing, because the article seemed to be on what type of website to make announcements, timing and the type of announcement. After almost every website type/announcement type that it listed, the author expanded by saying you should edit, edit, edit everything before you sent it off into the world. The reasoning was that if you make an impression on potential readers with poor grammar, spelling and punctuation, they aren't likely to look up your book and buy a copy.

I have to agree with that sentiment.

A lot of people never learned these things in school well enough to know how to follow the rules, and therefore, they don't think it's really important. Texting, when it required hitting the same button a number of times to get one letter, further eroded people's ability to spell, it seems. But as long as the idea gets across, anything goes these days, right?

No, I can't agree with that sentiment.

I have re-worked and proofread and edited enough to be pretty familiar with most of the rules of the English language. It doesn't bother me to get a text on my phone with 'u' for 'you' and 'ur' for 'your'. I consider that a kind of slang.

But when I'm reading something that purports to be informative and professional, I expect it to be well edited. This particular article in this newsletter was NOT. Here it was, expounding on the idea that everything you put out there should be edited, and the author did not appear to know the difference between [its] and [it's], or where commas belong, or how to spell.

Now I'm left in a dilemma. Do I believe this author was knowledgeable in the field and take the advice offered? Or write the article off as a waste of time because the author couldn't be bothered to take his/her own advice?

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