Even though my own grammar and punctuation is not perfect, by any means, I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to what I’m reading. I’m sure there’s stuff I don’t catch simply because my own skills aren’t perfect, but what I do catch is sometimes enough to drive me nuts.
So, my question is, how much is too much? For independently-published works, where do you draw the line on an unacceptably high number of errors? I give much more leniency to formatting errors because I can understand that sometimes that’s beyond the author’s control. However, in regards to grammar, punctuation, and spelling, if I see three in the first quarter of a book, I get fussy. I understand why people self-publish, and I fully support it, but if a person want to be taken as a professional, he or she needs to present professional work.
If I have to email an author and ask (and I’ve had to do this way too much recently) if they’ve had their work edited for grammar and punctuation, then it has not been a professional presentation. Especially when I end up sending that email less than halfway through the book! Talent is, to be quite frank, not enough. It doesn’t matter how awesome the plot of someone’s book is, if I have to wade through countless errors while reading it, my estimation of that author drops rapidly.
Keep in mind that I am not talking about stylistic choices. Hey, you don’t want to use the Oxford comma? Good for you. Might drive me nuts, but good for you. Is it your style to hardly use commas? Okay, that makes me twitch, but if its a consistent thing that I can easily identify as a stylistic choice I will give it a pass.
However, if I’m reading a book and I come across incorrect homophone choice and inconsistent punctuation? That screams unprofessional presentation to me. Again, I know this isn’t something that matters as much to a lot of people as it does to me, but….but…ARGH. It drives me nuts. I can’t help it. I’m sorry, but it makes me want to bang my head against a wall!
Anyone want to weigh in? Am I too much of a perfectionist?