An American Editor

February 13, 2010

Hall of Shame Nominees 1

Below are the first Hall of Shame nominees received from readers. Remember that if you want to participate, send your nominations to hallofshame[at] and be sure to follow the format shown in these entries.

1.  Permed to Death (Bad Hair Day Mystery 1) by Nancy J. Cohen. 

  • Format: ebook
  • Publisher: E-Reads. 
  • Problem: Poor editing
  • Samples of error(s): Character named Marla written as Maria or Mar1a, incorrect punctuation (e.g. question marks instead of quote marks), incorrect words given context
  • Frequency of error(s): Often
  • Overall Quality: Poor

2. Flatlander: The Collected Tales of Gil “The Arm” Hamilton by Larry Niven

  • Format: eReader ebook
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Problem: Poor OCR/Formatting
  • Samples of error(s): “of Ms skull” instead of “of his skull”; No Table of Contents; Misplaced and repeated chapters.
  • Frequency of error(s): Often
  • Reported: To Fictionwise in March and November 2009; To Del Rey in November 2009
  • Solved: Yes. Fixed sometime between November 2009 and February 2010.

3. Who Does What & Why in Book Publishing/Writers, Editors, and Money Men, by Clarkson Potter.

  • Format: Printed book
  • Publisher: Birch Lane Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55972-056-5
  • Problems: Very bad manuscript editing and layout production
  • Samples of error(s): Design and production: The title page is page 1 (i.e., there are no l.c. roman FM page numbers). Many loose lines. Paragraphs ending with the last word hyphenated on two lines (i.e., the last line contained only part of a word). A paragraph that ends with the verbal phrase “take up” broken onto two lines, i.e., the last line contains only two letters and a period. A page that begins with an ellipsis that ends a quotation from the preceding page.
  • Poor editing: “To try and thank the many people …” “To try”? Should be “To thank the many people…”; “The first was a large group of mostly seniors… together with a few graduate students … who were both attending Brown University.” Both is more readily construed to mean individuals, not groups. Cf. this mistake:”This book…centers on the authors, the editors and the publishers themselves. Together, these three people make…” Three “people”? Three groups. Many many errors of punctuation, such as putting a comma between two parts of a compound predicate; not closing a non-restrictive appositive or putting the comma in the wrong place; ending a sentence with a quote that ends with an ellipsis with only three periods (should be four). Repeating unusual words in close proximity, such as “ostensibly” and “ostensible” within three paragraphs. “…Thirty years ago, the ratio…was about fifty-fifty, whereas now it’s likely to be two or three to one.” Use one form of comparison or the other. Writing large numbers in words, not numerals, e.g., “…in excess of forty-five thousand new book titles…” (And then later he writes “… is approaching the multiple 100,000 mark”).
  • Frequency: Often on every page
  • Overall Quality: Very low


  1. FABULOUS information! Keep ’em coming: it’s like watching a train wreck – to keep from being involved in one!


    Comment by Kris Tualla — February 13, 2010 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  2. I must admit, I skipped straight to the good stuff. I skipped all the introductory nonsense about title and ISBN and whatnot, and read the lists of errors. That last one was so good (bad), I backed up and read the title.

    I love irony.


    PS: I’d give him a pass on the 3-dot/4-dot issue. You see it both ways and both ways are attested in style manuals. Besides, some people obviously need a break more than others. Although “Try and [verb]…” never gets a pass.


    Comment by levimontgomery — February 13, 2010 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  3. […] “Hall of Shame” nominees. They are too detailed to publish here but you might want to go to his blog to take a look. Rich says: Below are the first Hall of Shame nominees received from readers. […]


    Pingback by First “Hall of Shame” nominees up at An American Editor | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home — February 14, 2010 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  4. […] 14, 2010 · Leave a Comment Book Hall of Shame Nominees 1 is found on An American Editor. There are only three listed now, but he’s taking nominations. […]


    Pingback by Book Hall of Shame Nominees 1 « Jack Of All Trades — February 14, 2010 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  5. Hey, thanks for the mention! I hope you’ll all go out and read the book to search for these horrendous typos. LOL. I recall a reader informing me that Marla had been written as Maria in one instance. I looked it up in my original manuscript and I’d had it correct. So apparently the copy editor or typesetter got it wrong. Since my books come out in hardcover form first, I had the chance to get it corrected for the paperback version. Unfortunately, my requests for corrections were not always heeded. As for the ebook versions, errors can happen in the transition process, but I never got to see them to proofread. So writing aside, keep in mind that punctuation and typos may not be the fault of the author. 🙂


    Comment by Nancy J. Cohen — February 23, 2010 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  6. Great stuff, and I would love to add a couple of my favorites. But your email address for submitting nominees is rejecting messages – too many outraged emails, perhaps?


    Comment by Steve McClary — March 8, 2010 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

    • There is no reason why emails should be rejected. The email address is hallofshame[at]


      Comment by americaneditor — March 9, 2010 @ 8:24 am | Reply

  7. […] of Shame nominees received from readers. These are all the nominees I have received since posting Hall of Shame Nominees 1. If you want to participate, send your nominations to hallofshame[at] and be […]


    Pingback by Hall of Shame Nominees 2 « An American Editor — June 29, 2010 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  8. […] reposted with permission from An American Editor blog […]


    Pingback by Hall of Shame Nominees 1 | The Digital Reader — June 29, 2010 @ 7:22 am | Reply

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