So, here is a 3 star review that I received today.
Grammar almost killed it.
"I like the storyline a lot. The writing is atrocious. The author used incorrect spelling, contractions and punctuation. She also used words that do not exist. It made for a very difficult read. The author really needs an editor. If the author happens to read this, I volunteer to edit for you. I love your story. email@example.com "
I honestly did attempt to get an editor but several of the ones that i contacted responded that they were booked up. My book is up for free tomorrow if anyone would like to take a look at it and tell me if you agree with this review. And if so maybe point me in the direction of a good editor that will not break me. Afterall, I am not writing for the money, just because I love to write.
If somebody was that nice to offer to VOLUNTEER to help you edit...and they appreciated the story despite that....CONTACT them.
Unless of course, you're only writing for yourself and not for potential sales. If that's the case, why bother using KDP?
To me, reviews are precious and can give you a few wonderful things:
understanding of your story through the eyes of a fan
suggestions (for good or ill) on how to improve as a writer
a badge of honor that says, not only was somebody motivated to buy but also to take the extra step of reviewing...that's HUGE.
Other than that, what I would do is what I do with my writing: take a step back, use the software you have, re-read the entire thing and fix everything you can find. Of course, you'll still have some issues more than likely...but you'll catch the most offensive, / egregious.
I actually did send her an e-mail (a really nice e-mail) thanking her for her offer and asking her some questions about what I could do differently to improve my book. And let me clarify: I have a full time job as a nurse and I love to write. Yes, I write for myself but I also want to share my writing with the world and if I sell my books, well that is an extra bonus.
My book is set in the South and I used alot of Southern slang. I just wonder if that is what she is referring to. I edited and re-edited and re-edited.....actually it took me months to edit. Thank you for the advice:)
Hi, Heather. I just looked at the sample. It definitely needs editing/proofreading. All the semicolons I saw are incorrect, as is the punctuation around dialogue tags (a dialogue tag is the "he said" part). That latter problem is creating sentence fragments all over the place. Some words are used slightly incorrectly, such as pain "emitting from" feet. Several comma rules aren't being followed.
That said, I'd be careful about letting this reader proofread for you, however kind and genuine the offer may be. Someone who's not a pro can end up introducing as many errors as they fix. Maybe this person is a top-notch proofer, with there's really no way to know.
The best bet is to find a professional to do it for you, and if it takes some months before that person can get to your book, so be it. It's really better to delay a few months that to put out a product that your reviews will tag as problematic, 'cause those reviews don't go away, even if after you fix the problems. Unfortunately, the pros are expensive; there's not much way around that.
I re-read what I wrote...hopefully you didn't take my comment the wrong way. The only thing I meant was if you have somebody interested in helping you, the nice thing to do is at least say "thanks but no thanks".
Now that I read the bit about the southern thing...as a reader, I don't really care how something is structured, as long as it's consistent and I can pick it up quickly because it is consistently applied.
The best advice I've ever seen is from J.A. Konrath, which paraphrased, is the best thing to do if you're a writer is write.
And seriously, if you're not writing for the money, then why bother putting your book out for people to pay for? Put it on a blog or something. No editor needed in that case and no heartbreak over reviews like that.
And just a warning, if your free download takes off, you can expect a lot more of those kinds of reviews. They tend to come with high visibility.
And how, Becca. I am a professional writer and editor and proofed my book thoroughly, and I had a friend who is a pro proof it for me, and after 49 5-star reviews (and 9 4-star, 2 3-star, and 1 2-star who said it was" too short), the other day a guy praised the story up and down, but said he was giving it 4 stars because of proofing errors. I contacted him, and what he had noticed was a missing "a" and a "the the." That was it. In the whole book. I am going to go find them, fix them, and reload the book, but sheesh.
I'm sure he was telling the truth, because I type "the the" all the time in emails. Some mental hiccup. But is that worth a star?
Thanks everyone for the words of wisdom. Any recommendations on a good editor? I'm not really sure how much to spend. I did get a little confussed with some of the different types of editing that people do. What would be the best option for what I need?
I read the sample and for me, grammar did kill it. If I had the entire book I would not have continued reading. If I had paid for it, I would probably ask for a refund. That's a shame, because there might be a good story in there.
I don't think the reviewer was referring to southern slang. The sample is riddled with errors in grammar, punctuation, dialog tags and word usage as the posters above have pointed out. Toward the end of the sample it changed tense.