I’ve just finished (I hope) a correspondence clarifying a misunderstanding, and I’d like to publish a warning to everyone who sends me a book to be reviewed.
I have been getting review copies from publishers and authors for decades. They used to be either regular, commercial editions, or advance copies clearly marked “Uncorrected bound proof – not for resale”, or some variant of that.
Today, with print-on-demand technology, many publishers and authors send me books without any indication that they are not the regular editions. If I complain in the review that they are full of spelling and grammatical errors, and shoddy typography – switching from regular type to italics in the middle of a sentence for no reason, for example – the author/publisher complains that this is an unfair review because I’ve been sent an unproofread copy; of course the on-sale copies don’t have those errors. Or I should have sent the publisher a private letter to allow the mistakes to be corrected, since that can be done today before any more copies are sold.
Well, sorry, but it’s not a reviewer’s job to do the author’s/publisher’s job of proofreading for them. Or to assume today that a book with no indication that it is unproofread will be proofread, because some new authors don’t bother to proofread their books and send them out full of errors. And some readers complain loudly when they buy a book because of a favorable review and find that it’s full of spelling and other errors.
Here is an extreme but not unique “horrible example”: “The Face in the Mirror” and “Chained Reflections”, by T. R. Brown. I think that there is an excellent story under all the errors, which should be easily correctable – if anyone would bother to correct them. And the comments indicate that some readers will refuse to read any books with lots of minor errors, no matter how good the story is.
So if you’re going to send out review copies, to me or to any other reviewer, PROOFREAD YOUR BOOK FIRST.