The Difference Five Minutes Can Make

Book and candle

It’s quite an enviable accomplishment to write a book, right? I mean, for all the millions of people who say they could write a book, or who intend to write a book, very few actually carry out the thing to its end. So those few who do complete such a noble task must care a lot about the quality of their work…you would think.

I recently used the Look Inside feature on Amazon to check out someone’s first book, a self-published work, which they had proudly announced. The punctuation in the dialogue was all wrong, blatant errors, all the way through the pages displayed. What so bothered me about that was, how easy would it have been to pick up a book within arm’s reach (we all have one that close, or almost I hope) and just flip through the pages to see how dialogue is punctuated in professionally made books? Five minutes–that’s all it would have taken, if that. We’re not talking about researching Middle Ages battle strategy in Russia here. And if the author was writing about such, I might question the validity of their claims based on the care she did not take in learning about punctuation, or having it checked by someone.

Further, if this author has a desire to attract attention of a professional nature, she may have just killed it, and that’s too bad. Your book is your baby. You can afford five minutes–most would argue far more than that–to make sure you get the basics right. Honestly, it’s that easy.



  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself! As a writer, I have also picked up numerous grammar books and looked through them time and time again, only to be left baffled by the complexity of English in general. I’m a native English speaker, too! But, I see my flaws and right them by hiring editors to help me.

    Yes, my books are my babies – they mean the world to me and have cost me so much of my life. I will never regret them, but I would regret putting them out there unpolished.

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