Publishing Horror Stories

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Want to know which mistakes to avoid? Here’s a publisher’s perspective. In the latest issue of Publishing Basics, Carolyn Madison reveals some of the errors that make publishers cringe.  These include misspellings, poor grammar and punctuation, structural problems, ambiguous messages and inaccurate content.

They have a nice list of the always common misspelled words also:

  • Affect or Effect
  • Ensure, Insure, or Assure
  • It’s or Its
  • Two, Too, or To
  • Set or Sit
  • Then or Than
  • There, Their, or They’re
  • That, Which, Who, Whom, or Whose
  • Like or As if
  • Roll or Role
  • Quite or Quiet
  • Though or Thorough
  • Since or Because
  • Should of or Should have
  • Less or Fewer
  • Amount of or Number of
  • Over or More than
  • Capitol or Capital

Check out the full list of publishing horror stories.

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7 thoughts on “Publishing Horror Stories”

  1. I have to look up affect and effect every time I use them. I can never keep the two straight. Less and Fewer are a similar problem. Since and because are a bit like that but I generally think I’m right on the first try. The rest are generally typos for me.

  2. I don’t usually misspell these, though I do make typos, such as confusing form and from.

  3. It’s always difficult to edit one’s own work. I don’t have as much trouble with words usage, but I do make silly typos. When I write an article or a post, I read it several times out loud to get the cadence right; then, I leave it for a day to marinate. When I go back to it, I have fresh eyes with which to see.~~Dee

  4. That’s always a good idea, Dee. Sometimes it’s also worth getting a completely fresh pair of eyes to look at it, if you have the time.

  5. I have pet peeves about that entire list, but what I want to know Is how the publisher lets that get to the book you buy off the shelf; I see those errors all the time in the material I’ve been reading. And will no one discuss the proper usage of the word ‘an’? I’ve consulted books on grammar and even asked an English Professor; it is supposed to be used before wordsthat begin with vowel sounds. You would say or write: ‘an honorable man’ but not, ‘an historic event’ but people still do so…

  6. My gripe is just in the TITLE of this post. I’m a writer of horror stories and when I see “Publishing Horror Stories” my first thought is that the article concerns getting published in the horror genre, not writing gaffes experienced by publishers. Could we please change the title to “Publishers’ Horror Stories” instead?

  7. To Stephen Thorn,

    I think the idea is that if you would write a novel with all of these, a publisher would print it immediately because it’s the scariest thing they’ve ever read.

    But seriously, I think it’s mis-named.

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