I was recently directed to a book by a fellow social networker, the author, that I considered purchasing. Writers helping writers and all that stuff, stuff that I actually do believe in. When I got to the overview of the book, it was poorly written. Or at least, poorly edited. There were words missing, and the sentences didn’t flow. Did I buy the book? Nope. Would I have downloaded the book onto my Kobo and read it for free? Nope.
The reason is two-fold. First, I’m a slow reader. Not like, super-slow, but I take my time and really delve into what I’m reading. So my reading time is valuable to me, and I don’t want to waste it. Second, I’m a writer. Or at least I aspire to write. The advice from successful authors is to read, read, read! I don’t want to read something that is poorly written and pick up bad habits. For example, if I’m having an issue with punctuation in dialogue, I’ll pop open a book I have handy to find an example and see how it’s done. That doesn’t work if the book is poorly written, and I can not expect to learn very much if the overview hasn’t even been edited.
Now I’ll be the first to admit, when Letters to my 10-year-old Self first hit smashwords, there were a few spelling errors in the introduction and overview. These were minor booboos that I missed when I edited it, just once… but that my mother caught immediately and pointed out to me right away. (Thanks mom!) I guess with the excitement of the book being finished and ready to send out into the world, the other stuff didn’t really matter that much. But if even one person didn’t download the book because of those little errors, I wouldn’t blame them one bit.
So to sum up, as a writer, take every single step seriously. Abate the excitement that comes with your finished project and put as much focus on each step as you do on the actual book itself, because snobs like me, (and my mother) will assume you did.