66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
As always, a staple, but this edition's editing and content errors make it hard to read and harder to rely on
, August 11, 2009
The shame is, you can't get along without this book. No other book in the industry does what this one does, and we all know it. But this edition is an embarrassment. It is riddled with spelling and other typographical errors, so much so that I can't read it without stumbling over them. In the first couple minutes of flipping through it, I found a dozen obvious errors - sometimes two or three on a page. Whole sections use Æ instead of em dashes. Reading those sectionsÆespecially because they appear without warningÆis painful.
Continuing the trend, in coordinate sections on opposing pages from each other, certain heads
Use Certain Capitalization Styles
Use other capitalization styles
Heading styles are mixed even within a single section on a single page. The genres portion of the book is a good example of this. Check out the end of it: romance (one cap style for heads), fantasy, sci-fi (another cap style), and horror (both cap style uses in coordinate heads on the same page).
Did a proofreader even look at this?
Worse yet, just after I consoled myself that no matter the incompetence of the copyeditor, compositor, and proofreader, the content was the same essential stuff, I found an error. Not only an error, but a flat contradiction. I can't recall the entry name - it made me so mad I put the book away and haven't looked at it again since I got it - but I remember the error, clear as when I read it. This particular publisher's entry listed genre works the publisher is not now accepting. Among these was horror. In the next sentence, the publisher was quoted as needing certain genres of work - among them horror.
What a dilemma:
* Is WM's summary list of do-not-sends in error - perhaps a holdover of the previous edition?
* Is the publisher's quote of please-do-sends in error - again, perhaps a holdover of the previous edition?
Good questions - and unless someone writes the publisher, I doubt we'll ever know. And if one list (and who knows which?) is in error, then what should we _not_ send? what _should_ we send? We simply can't know.
Worse yet, who's to know how many other places throughout the book this same thing has happened - and in less obvious ways? In a book such as this, which makes its name and earns its position by being current and correct (have you heard it pitched as the sure way to avoid querying the editor who left three years ago?), mistakes such as this are unpardonable.
Yes, the book is essential, as it has always been - but we'll all have to look past the mistakes, every single one of them. Of course, some mistakes we can't look past; we won't know about them until we address a query letter to last year's editor, until we send the wrong genre to the wrong publisher, until we mail our letters to dead addresses. Faux pas like these don't win writers friends in the publishing industry, and until this book is proofread for mechanics, for sense, and for errors against this year's MS, it won't win any friends among writers.