Alright, I’m new to Kindle – I got one this Christmas from Lovely Husband – but tell me, please: Are all self-published books so badly edited? Is the cost of proofreading so exorbitantly high that the poor, self-publishing (on Kindle), author just can’t afford it? Or is it merely laziness?

I suspect the latter. Laziness, and a complete disregard for the reader’s intelligence. I’ve just finished reading a book which I downloaded from the top 100 free listings, and I was genuinely shocked at how bad the editing and proofing was. (The only reason I’m not mentioning it here is because I don’t want to contribute in even a tiny way to the author’s Google ranking.) Fine, don’t pay for professional editing – the writing wasn’t as great as it could have been, but I was ready to see beyond that – hey, it was free! Fine, don’t pay for professional proofreading, if you really don’t think your readers deserve it. But come on, read the thing yourself – or get an eagle-eyed friend to do it for you. This book had it all: typos, spacing issues, missing punctuation, missing speech marks. The thing is: this stuff matters.

Why? Here is my message to authors publishing on Kindle (and my own novel will be up there soon so you can check I practice what I preach): You need your readers to get lost in the story. Readers are not stupid, and even the least pedantic will notice when speech quotes are missing, or when a word is misspelt. They will notice, and it will pull them out of the fictive world. And once they are out of it… well, they may carry on reading. Or, they may pop to the Kindle store to see what else is out there. Either way, you’ve lost just a little bit of respect and credibility. One mistake is fine. Two, spaced out in the text, are forgivable. Three or more and you’re starting to look unprofessional. Come on, authors – let’s not give those who say ebooks are dumming-down the world of publishing any more ammunition!