It irks me when the "grammar police" shame people online for incorrect grammar usage. The English language is complex, and most of us aren't hip to all the rules. But when it comes to writing books, I am an advocate for grammar uniformity, and here's why:
I used to be a manager at a personal growth bookstore. All day, I watched customers interact with books. They begin by assessing the outside of the book, starting with the title. If it resonates, they will check out the front and back cover. If it looks outdated, homemade, or doesn't fit with the other books of its genre, it’ll promptly be returned to the shelf.
But when the title is enticing and the cover is fitting, the customer will then scan the layout of the book. If the font is peculiar, spacing is erratic, commas are missing (or excessive), or there’s random punctuation, the reader won't stand for it.
Some authors say if only ONE person benefits from their book, that's good enough. They're just happy it's been produced. That's a perfectly valid reason to become an author, yet if you want your self-published book to be taken seriously by bookstores and everyday readers, you'll need a team of professionals.
Some writers argue that grammar is nebulous and enforcing it is elitist. But in book publishing, the standard is Chicago Manual of Style. This provides clarity for readers and guidelines for authors. When hiring editors/proofreaders, be sure they follow this protocol.
Books are collaborative projects. They include ghostwriters, editors, designers, formatters, and proofreaders. These professionals are a gift to both the reader and author.
Proper grammar lets readers get absorbed in the message without visual distractions. It also prevents the author from being dismissed and invalidated without being heard, like what happens online when blogs and social media posts are grammatically flawed.
Want to be sure your book is easy to read?
I offer a free 30-minute session every week on Book Talk Tuesdays. We'll figure out what you need to start, continue, or complete a book you’ll be proud to share with readers.