Greybird on April 20, 2007, 05:08:32 pm
With having finished reading TPB: TGN online, I want to sincerely thank the publishers and Neil and Scott for making it available. I was daunted at the price of the book, but now, having seen it, it fulfills all my expectations (except one) and I'll be buying at least one printed copy, more for gifts as finances permit ... so it'll serve its purpose, boosting sales.

Not that I haven't done so already. I have all editions of this book: two of the original Olongo cover, one of the Deejay cover, one of the dirigible cover. I drank it in avidly back in 1980 and have read it, with delight, at least a dozen times since then. I've recommended it to dozens of people in and out of the libertarian movement, some of them despising it (mainly hoplophobes), more by far being captivated by it.

What expectation did this edition not fulfill? A lesser one, I'd say, especially against the pleasure of seeing all these great characters visualized. Yet it persists, it's annoying (sometimes maddening), and it's not confined to this book or to Neil Smith's works.

To wit: Nobody seems to proofread any more.

The graphic novel has, unfortunately, anywhere from one to three typos per page sheer, obvious misspellings or mispunctuations. (I'm not including, in that count, missing punctuation at the ends of sentences, more a matter of inconsistency than of typos. Nor unremarked variant spellings in the Confederacy it could well have been Otto Lillianthal, rather than "our" Lilienthal though they did leap out at me.)

I know that not everyone notices ... but I am a copyeditor (and typographer and Windows tutor) by trade, and I can't help it. The typos draw me out of the story. They break the storytelling illusion, even if only for a split-second each, and I'd rather not have that. In this latest instance, my mind is already on parallel tracks, remembering texture and dialogue that Neil used in the original narrative. To be tripped up by misspellings doesn't help.

It's difficult to take seeing so many typos fall through the proverbial cracks. It gets more difficult to see this on book after book, author after author. The American Zone suffered from this, in spades. So did the unexpurgated electronic edition of Tom Paine Maru.

(This last was made worse by the hammering of the text through conversions from old computer disks. I had the exact setup Neil had in the early '80s, of WordStar on a Morrow Micro Decision machine, and I know that putting it into ASCII text on a standard current PC isn't easy. Yet the result still should have been proofread far better.)

Where it's even harder to take is with Neil Schulman's works, available electronically at Pulpless.com, and all full of typos that even change crucial meanings. I asked him about whether he wanted to fix them. He didn't particularly care, one way or the other, and certainly didn't think it was worth the money to hire anyone even a friend, at cheap rates (semi-nudge there, yes) to do the repair work.

I don't know if Neil Smith feels that way. Yet with this newer TPB going through both his and Scott Bieser's hands, in making the needed condensation for a graphic novel, I remain surprised and disappointed. Their efforts didn't seem to provide a mutual check against this happening as often as it did.

It's not an arcane matter. If Neil finds a new publisher, his earlier books may well be converted from the printed page, by Optical Character Recognition scanning, into new files. The same problem will arise. It happened with Ayn Rand: When the hardcover publishers changed for her novels, the OCR process introduced hundreds of typos. She was dead, and nobody among her "heirs" seemed to care to correct them.

I know that this is my crotchet, and that few will share it. I was almost ready to save the JPEGs of TPB: TGN and fix the typos myself, for my own, quite private benefit. I decided that it was better to spend my time and life buying paper copies.

Yet it's still frustrating. And I appreciate y'all letting me vent a little about it. I promise that this won't be all that I post about at this forum.

~ Steve (Greybird), Los Angeles

[Originally posted in another topic, and moved here. Apparently one can't start a topic until after one's first posting.]
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 03:11:45 am by Greybird »

Sphynx on April 20, 2007, 10:18:19 pm
[/b]FINALLY!!!!!!:

I'm not mad, someone else in the world noticed the complete lack of attention to copy editing and proofing!  I had started to wonder if I had stumbled, Win Bear-like, into and alternate, and worse, world, where proof-reading was a forbidden craft :).

Like you (in a lesser way) I have a relevant background: a baccalaureate in Computer Science (lots of writing code, where syntax matters) with a minor in English/Technical Writing.  Through my minor coursework, I learned quickly that, as a poor speller, I must pay attention to what I write, and what I read.

Until I read your post, I had almost given up hope of getting this question answered: What do copy-editors & proof-readers at major publishing houses really do?  They certainly don't appear to proof read, as almost every novel (and most non-fiction) I've read in the last 10 years has had at least one confusion of the words: THEN and THAN.

Thank you for asking the "forbidden" question  :P

Rocketman on April 21, 2007, 11:30:14 am
One thought about that I had was maybe some of them are the girlfriend (or guyfriend) of the editor and that they quit there last "career" as a waitress or fast food despenser to take up their new positon.   ;D

Frank Bieser on April 21, 2007, 04:48:52 pm
Mea culpa!  Did I spell that right?  ;)   I can't speak for publishing prose books, but for graphic novels, the plain truth is that changing typos in the lettering costs more in time than the price of a good copy editor.  A lot of post formating work is done on each page, so often when a page is finally reviewed, a decision has to be made about whether or not it is worth fixing a particular typo.  A missing period at the end of a sentence in a word balloon is not worth the time it takes.  But if there are multiple problems with lettering, or if the error blurs the intended meaning, we'll fix it.  And then sometimes, we just miss them.  Considering how small a team we are, I think we do pretty well.

I routinely see typos in Marvel and DC books, who have teams of people working on them.  So, I don't feel too bad.  Besides, comics are notorious for this sort of thing, and one may argue it gives them a certain charm.  Certainly a cop-out to english teachers and copy-editors, but the sort of thing that actually appeals to most readers.  A bit of imperfection makes it more human.

Rocketman on April 21, 2007, 10:39:24 pm
I hope that everyone know that I was just kidding on my last post.   ;D I even included a few typos just to laugh at myself.

Frank Bieser on April 22, 2007, 10:55:43 am
I hope that everyone know that I was just kidding on my last post.   ;D I even included a few typos just to laugh at myself.

Well, I was wondering what a "positon" was, and just how difficult it would be to take one up.  ;-)

Just so I'm clear, I don't take any offence to anyone's criticisms regarding our publications.  Anyone who's daft enough to put their work out in the world for all to see is frankly asking for it.  So keep those slings and arrows coming (just be sure to buy a t-shirt or book while you're at it).  :-)


Sphynx on April 23, 2007, 07:51:46 pm
Mea culpa! Did I spell that right? ;) I can't speak for publishing prose books, but for graphic novels, the plain truth is that changing typos in the lettering costs more in time than the price of a good copy editor. A lot of post formating work is done on each page, so often when a page is finally reviewed, a decision has to be made about whether or not it is worth fixing a particular typo. A missing period at the end of a sentence in a word balloon is not worth the time it takes. But if there are multiple problems with lettering, or if the error blurs the intended meaning, we'll fix it. And then sometimes, we just miss them. Considering how small a team we are, I think we do pretty well.

I routinely see typos in Marvel and DC books, who have teams of people working on them. So, I don't feel too bad. Besides, comics are notorious for this sort of thing, and one may argue it gives them a certain charm. Certainly a cop-out to english teachers and copy-editors, but the sort of thing that actually appeals to most readers. A bit of imperfection makes it more human.

I hope that everyone know that I was just kidding on my last post. ;D I even included a few typos just to laugh at myself.
Well, I was wondering what a "positon" was, and just how difficult it would be to take one up. ;-)

Just so I'm clear, I don't take any offence to anyone's criticisms regarding our publications. Anyone who's daft enough to put their work out in the world for all to see is frankly asking for it. So keep those slings and arrows coming (just be sure to buy a t-shirt or book while you're at it). :-)

Frank: Your post made me realize that I do hold comics and GN literature to a different standard. Because more/most of what you read in GN is dialog, not scene description, etc, I don't expect the same perfection I demand (and don't get) from text only publications. Additionally, I hold a company with larger staff/budget resources, such as the major publishing houses, to a higher standard than a small start up like yours.

Speaking of small startups, the best (least errors) novel I've read recently, was Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow published by Mountain Media Books. So it appears that a large staff/budget is not a requirment to produce quality books.

41 mag on April 24, 2007, 02:31:52 am
aw fer cryin' in yer beer.
  if the most you can do is raise hell about something mis-spelled or a problem with case book or verse go back to your damned english class.people,real people make mistakes. the worst part of our recent society is that no mistake ,however small is overlooked.  or for that matter forever dissected.
    Neil and scott you guys done a helluva job. the hats off to ya's

Frank Bieser on April 24, 2007, 09:17:40 am
Speaking of small startups, the best (least errors) novel I've read recently, was Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow published by Mountain Media Books.  So it appears that a large staff/budget is not a requirment to produce quality books.

Sure, but it helps. ;)   Yes, Vin and Co. did an outstanding job on their book.  You should see far fewer errors in our next printed work, The Architect coming to book stores in August.


Sphynx on April 24, 2007, 07:57:53 pm
Speaking of small startups, the best (least errors) novel I've read recently, was Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow published by Mountain Media Books. So it appears that a large staff/budget is not a requirment to produce quality books.

Sure, but it helps. ;) Yes, Vin and Co. did an outstanding job on their book. You should see far fewer errors in our next printed work, The Architect coming to book stores in August.

Frank: Semi-technical question - in producing the online serialization, you or Scott have posted (somewhere in the forum) that the resolution presented is lower that "print ready" art used to produce the print editions. Does this help with editing/proofing issues for the print edition? Or do you have to generate the "final" masters for the printing process in order to create the lower resolution images used online?

Frank Bieser on April 25, 2007, 06:33:33 pm
Frank: Semi-technical question - in producing the online serialization, you or Scott have posted (somewhere in the forum) that the resolution presented is lower that "print ready" art used to produce the print editions.  Does this help with editing/proofing issues for the print edition?  Or do you have to generate the "final" masters for the printing process in order to create the lower resolution images used online?

The art is done at the higher "print ready" level.  It is backed down to 72ppi for display on the web.  Because Scott and I live 1500 miles apart, I do not see the lettered art until it has been uploaded for display on the web site.  It is at this point, that I catch the typos or less obvious semantic issues that Scott missed.  When I find problems, Scott has to go back to the high rez verions, and make the corrections there, then back down the corrected page for web display, and upload it to the server again.  Kind of painful, but at least we know whatever errors we catch when the page goes up, we won't have to worry about in the printed version.  If we worked out of the same office, this would be a lot easier of course.  But we continue to refine our process.

We didn't have that with TPB:TGN, and so a lot more slipped through.  The nice thing about web serializations is that we can fix problems even after they've been released on the web.   Thus, our online readers help to serve as 3rd line copy editors for us.  It's the microsoft model of product release. ;)

RannFox on October 18, 2007, 06:16:32 pm
Guys guys guys they have medication for that little OCD thing, you know that every little thing has to be perfect. LOL

The story was free online take your meds and enjoy a great tale and don't look a gift horse in the mouth!!!

 

anything