Writing style / bad form

58 replies
Someone reviewed my ebook (it's not done yet, I just sent them the pdf), and they liked it. But they said that I use a lot of run on sentences, and bad punctuation. And they gave me some examples. I saw what he meant, but really I don't think it's such a big deal. My book is written in a very conversational style and I think that the most important thing is that you get your message across clearly. I think he's being unnecessarily pedantic. He's an editor, that's probably why.

My writing is good and yes I do sometimes bend some rules I guess, but who cares? It's not like I make spelling mistakes or say their when I mean they're, or anything like that. I tried to write like I talk, and I see nothing wrong with that.

What do you think?
#bad #form #style #writing
  • Profile picture of the author NK
    It should fine as long as your message is clear and easy to understand. That said, it's always a good idea to keep your work concise with as little spelling and grammatical error as possible. Not saying you should get your ebook edited professionally, but just go over and fix whatever error you can find.
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    • Profile picture of the author ajbarnes777
      Us online marketers should always strive to improve our writing skills. With that said, when you have a few mistakes in your product that was accidentally overlooked during editing and proofreading, I don't think it should be too big of a deal. That of course is if the author took the time to edit and proofread or hired someone to do it.

      Other than that, if there is one thing that can get my nerves running are the grammar police! For example... ("Out of the 4,000,001 words in your ebook, I noticed misspellings on pages 4, 18, 36, and 48... plus you had a couple of contractions that were incorrect... plus 3 of your paragraphs were too long... plus I noticed you wrote you're instead of your in paragraph 86, but other than that, I thought your product was freaking amazing!")
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      • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
        Adopting a conversational tone in writing is not an excuse for bending the rules of grammar. Your writing can be informal and friendly but it should still adhere to the basics of good grammar.

        Why? Because good grammar ensures that our words and sentences are structured in a way that can be understood by other people. If grammar is ignored, then there is a possibility that the meaning of what you write is unclear. As you say yourself, "the most important thing is that you get your message across clearly." Poor grammar is likely to hinder that objective.

        This doesn't mean to say that you should be aiming for grammatical perfection in everything you write but your grammar should be "acceptable" to the majority of your readers. My definition of "acceptable" here is having the least number of mistakes that the largest number of your readers won't recognize as mistakes!

        It might be worth paying some attention to the criticism you received from your reviewer. Having lots of run-on sentences and poor punctuation in your writing will be noticed by many of your readers, not just grammar pedants. Recent studies have shown that poor grammar and spelling mistakes in sales letters or website copy can result in large numbers of lost sales. In the case of a book, this could mean more refund requests or less chance of someone buying another book from the same author.

        Of course, if you are writing for your own blog and the posts are simply personal musings, then you can write in whatever way you please. You can even write in gibberish if you want. However, if your aim is to look professional, you have to get your grammar right and this means having as few mistakes as possible. This is particularly so if you are exchanging your writing for money.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Originally Posted by James 0 View Post

      If your book satisfies the buyer, then that is enough.
      It doesn't sound like he was satisfied...

      You speak of "bad" form and punctuation. Isn't "bad" bad?

      Why not aim to be good?
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I think conversational style is fine. I think run on sentences and bad punctuation are awful. I think your reader is right on the money and you'd be smart to take his suggestions seriously.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    You should try to make it as readable as possible. That being said, I have seen some pretty poorly written excellent information.

    If an ebook teaches you how to make a million, would you really care about some grammar mistakes?
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    • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      You should try to make it as readable as possible. That being said, I have seen some pretty poorly written excellent information.

      If an ebook teaches you how to make a million, would you really care about some grammar mistakes?
      Perhaps not, but if that ebook was so full of grammatical errors that you couldn't follow the advice given it would be a pretty frustrating read!
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  • Profile picture of the author DoubleOhDave
    Run on sentences can be extremely irritating. The point of a sentence is to have a point. If someone doesn't understand the point of a few sentences, I doubt they'll keep reading many more. Just my 2c as a proofreader.
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  • Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

    Someone reviewed my ebook, and they liked it. But they said that I use a lot of run on sentences, and bad punctuation. And they gave me some examples. I saw what he meant, but really I don't think it's such a big deal. My book is written in a very conversational style and I think that the most important thing is that you get your message across clearly. I think he's being unnecessarily pedantic. He's an editor, that's probably why.

    My writing is good and yes I do sometimes bend some rules I guess, but who cares? It's not like I make spelling mistakes or say their when I mean they're, or anything like that. I tried to write like I talk, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    What do you think?
    I'm not born in English speaking and get hammered all the tim for bad grammar etc.. I even get told people lie me need to be shut down by government. I know one day we will not have freedom, but till them i say screw them do what you want and screw their stupid rules, be free my friend, say what you want and the people complaining are not perfect, you are not perfect, I"m not perfect they are just dark devels thinking they are and they are not.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trummer
    Keep your controversial style - but maybe it is better to make the sentences short - easier to understand and to read.
    Make your readers happy!
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

      I saw what he meant, but really I don't think it's such a big deal. My book is written in a very conversational style and I think that the most important thing is that you get your message across clearly. I think he's being unnecessarily pedantic. He's an editor, that's probably why.

      What do you think?
      I think you may be a bit confused over the term "conversational style" here. There's a difference between conversational style and transcript style.

      Several years ago, the hot trick for creating quick products was to do an interview, then have the interview transcribed. Many marketers, including some that should have known better, sold the raw transcription as the product, sans editing.

      These were some of the hardest things I've ever had to read.

      In your case, you already know what you want to say, so in your head it sounds fine. To someone reading your style for the first time, it may be confusing and/or difficult, and many won't make the effort.

      One of the neat things about ebooks, especially with Kindle, is that you can clean up your manuscript and simply upload it again. Anyone who has already bought will get the new and improved version when they sync their reader device.

      Originally Posted by HelpingYouBeAnExpert View Post

      I'm not born in English speaking and get hammered all the tim for bad grammar etc.. I even get told people lie me need to be shut down by government. I know one day we will not have freedom, but till them i say screw them do what you want and screw their stupid rules, be free my friend, say what you want and the people complaining are not perfect, you are not perfect, I"m not perfect they are just dark devels thinking they are and they are not.
      You're right. You are free to do what you want. They, too, are free to do what they want. In the Kindle marketplace, that means they are free to post bad reviews, ask for refunds, and not buy your books based on those poor reviews.

      Like they say, the customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer...
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke Dennison
    i think effort in how you write a WSO and grammar is important, but if you have solid information, then I think people will forgive you if you have a few mistakes in it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Ok here are some examples that he pointed out to me (his comments are underneath the quotes):




      "Ok that might be a bit cynical, but it does happen, right?"

      - Missing comma after "OK"
      - OK should be in all caps



      "When I was younger I laughed whenever anyone said, “Watch out, she's...” or “Watch out, she'll...”*

      - Missing comma after "When I was younger"
      - Failure to format a quote properly, thus "When I was younger, I laughed whenever anyone said, “Watch out, she's...” or, “Watch out, she'll...” [he means that I didn't put a comma after "or"]



      "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."

      - Run-on sentence




      I really think he's being over the top. I think my writing is fine. He even said himself that it's well written and very readable. When I said earlier about punctuation, this is the kind of thing I was talking about, as opposed to being clueless (i.e. missing full stops, no spaces after commas and full stops, etc). I don't think he was criticisng my general use of punctuation, just certain technical things like the above.

      Even though he may be strictly / technically correct, dies this stuff that points out really matter that much?

      The only thing that I can think of which maybe, possibly, might be a little bit of an issue, is that throughout my book there are a lot of quite long sentences. For example there are often paragraphs of about 50 or 60 words which contain only 2 sentences.

      But The nature of my book requires me to make lots of desciptions and definitions, so for example I might say "a slow, torturous, excrutiatingly boring and monotonous hour in which you may or may not feel like just walking out and forgetting about the whole thing". I just made that up to illustrate.

      But many sentences are short too. It's not like that constantly. And my intro and conclusion to the book as well as my intros and conclusions to all the chapters are very conversational and chatty, so overall there's quite a bit of variation in writing style (but without being schitzophrenic).

      And can I say that I've bought lots of kindle books and I've seen loads of mistakes that even I, a non proofreader, would have spotted. I've even seen unforgiveable mistakes in articles about writing. It always makes me laugh when I see it because at least I can run a spell check and I can read my work and correct stuff. And my speling and grammer is good too.

      And generally I'm very meticulous. I've edited this post many times.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Did he give you a star rating?

        If he gave you 3-5 stars, I wouldn't worry about it.

        The fact that you knew he was an editor from the review tells me he may have been trying to drum up business. Since he said that the book was otherwise well written, with good information, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          Did he give you a star rating?

          If he gave you 3-5 stars, I wouldn't worry about it.

          The fact that you knew he was an editor from the review tells me he may have been trying to drum up business. Since he said that the book was otherwise well written, with good information, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
          My book isn't done so no one is giving me any stars. I still have quite a way to go before I can upload it to amazon. I just sent him the pdf.

          I don't think he was trying to make it sound like there's a ton of problems in order to get me to hire him, because when he said that I need an editor he said "not me, you can't afford me".
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      • Profile picture of the author Darren Dillman
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        Ok here are some examples that he pointed out to me (his comments are underneath the quotes):




        "Ok that might be a bit cynical, but it does happen, right?"

        - Missing comma after "OK"
        - OK should be in all caps



        "When I was younger I laughed whenever anyone said, "Watch out, she's..." or "Watch out, she'll..."*

        - Missing comma after "When I was younger"
        - Failure to format a quote properly, thus "When I was younger, I laughed whenever anyone said, "Watch out, she's..." or, "Watch out, she'll..." [he means that I didn't put a comma after "or"]



        "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."

        - Run-on sentence


        Yeah, I think he is being way too picky. I can get what you're saying in each instance without problem.

        If you aren't messing up the grammar like you mentioned earlier and your reader can understand it then that is normally good enough.

        If you are not writing about perfect grammar and perfect punctuation I say you are in good shape.

        I say give your rough copy to several non-editors or English teachers for that matter and see what they say.

        You don't have to get it perfect, you just need to get it going.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Johnny, speaking as an editor myself, I do believe that all written work should be the best it can be. If you deliberately don't want everything perfect, that's your choice. But unless somebody reviewing your book knows that, they'll usually offer their opinion.

    I could certainly be called a member of the "grammar police," but I don't see that as being negative. It's what I do and I'm proud of it. I have lots of happy customers.

    If I offer a review, I don't do it to drum up business. I do it to help the writer improve the product.

    God luck with yours.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      God luck with yours.
      I see what you did there...
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I was testing to see if anybody WAS watching hehehe. well picked up.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      I can't stand it when someone tries to be claver by pretending to make spelin mistaks just to be cute. I think it's in terrbly bad taste, and very juvenille. If you ever catch me doing it, shit me.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    However, it had the desired effect. It made my point for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      However, it had the desired effect. It made my point for me.
      I was kidding. Didn't you spot my mistakes? I didn't mean any offense / offence (I never know which one it is).
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        My book isn't done so no one is giving me any stars. I still have quite a way to go before I can upload it to amazon. I just sent him the pdf.

        I don't think he was trying to make it sound like there's a ton of problems in order to get me to hire him, because when he said that I need an editor he said "not me, you can't afford me".
        My misunderstanding. The way I read your opening post, I thought you put the book up and got a review.

        Maybe he has a point...
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        • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          My misunderstanding. The way I read your opening post, I thought you put the book up and got a review.

          Maybe he has a point...
          It took me a few moments to get that.
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          • Profile picture of the author cainbrian
            Especially if you are writing conversationally, you want to write like you talk. Run-on sentences may not be such a bad thing especially if you actually talk in run on sentences (there are some people that do, most seen with younger kids or people who are learning a new language).

            Grammer doesn't mean crap. However your writing style should reflect your personality and how you communicate in-person.

            One of the beliefs that I choose to take on, is that my meaning of my communication is exactly the response I get. If I do not get the response I want, I must be open and flexible to changing how I communicate.

            Let your target market be the judge of your abilities, if they respond the way you want them to respond - awesome. If not, then you need to develop how you communicate your message, and it usually doesn't start with grammar.

            hope that helps my friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author amalgam
    If you are going to be doing a lot of writing, you might want to invest in one or two software programs to help correct grammar and punctuation. These programs are far from perfect; however, they are useful to correct your writing and teach you along the way. And they do catch the type of mistakes you were referring to.

    For important work, I would suggest a proofreader if you can afford it as they will help you with more than grammar and punctuation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
    It does. And I think that's a good philosophy. Do I get points for spotting "grammer"?
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    • Profile picture of the author cainbrian
      Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

      It does. And I think that's a good philosophy. Do I get points for spotting "grammer"?
      Dropped out of college twice, "what can I say... you caught me...lol"
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  • Profile picture of the author ErinWalsh
    I started as a writer. I moved up the ladder in the company from there.

    I always wrote in a conversational tone and mannerisms, but I used proper grammar and spelling. On occasion I'd make a mistake, but my editors caught them. I feel that if you are going to ignore your editor's advice you deserve for your stuff to not be read and get bad reviews when you do finally put it up for purchase.

    I HATE buying a book and not being able to concentrate on what the author is trying to say because of all the bad grammar and spelling! If I'm editing their writing the whole time I'm reading I put it down and don't pick it back up. Then I tell everyone I know it's unreadable. The occasional error is forgivable, but you sound like it's more than that.

    TLDR: Listen to your editor.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Originally Posted by ErinWalsh View Post

      I started as a writer. I moved up the ladder in the company from there.

      I always wrote in a conversational tone and mannerisms, but I used proper grammar and spelling. On occasion I'd make a mistake, but my editors caught them. I feel that if you are going to ignore your editor's advice you deserve for your stuff to not be read and get bad reviews when you do finally put it up for purchase.

      I HATE buying a book and not being able to concentrate on what the author is trying to say because of all the bad grammar and spelling! If I'm editing their writing the whole time I'm reading I put it down and don't pick it back up. Then I tell everyone I know it's unreadable. The occasional error is forgivable, but you sound like it's more than that.

      TLDR: Listen to your editor.
      I don't know. You might be right, or maybe I've given the impression that my book is riddled with the kinds of issues that would be reasonably considered unacceptable by readers. I don't know if I'm in a position to judge it but it does sound ok to me when I read it. Then again I would say that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
      Originally Posted by ErinWalsh View Post

      I started as a writer. I moved up the ladder in the company from there.

      I always wrote in a conversational tone and mannerisms, but I used proper grammar and spelling. On occasion I'd make a mistake, but my editors caught them. I feel that if you are going to ignore your editor's advice you deserve for your stuff to not be read and get bad reviews when you do finally put it up for purchase.

      I HATE buying a book and not being able to concentrate on what the author is trying to say because of all the bad grammar and spelling! If I'm editing their writing the whole time I'm reading I put it down and don't pick it back up. Then I tell everyone I know it's unreadable. The occasional error is forgivable, but you sound like it's more than that.

      TLDR: Listen to your editor.
      Personally, I think you may have missed the example he posted. The reason I say that is because there are no spelling mistakes. There are a few missed punctuations but that's about it.

      To be honest, the guy's editor is being far too picky. There comes a point when you have to upload the thing, instead of combing through it for a month. There are errors in every book, no matter who edited it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Melkur
    Since you're now aware of the errors, such as they are, would it be such a big deal to correct them?

    Personally, I find grammatical errors distracting, to the point where they may detract from the credibility of material I'm reading. If the author can't be bothered to check and / or fix them, how do I know they were any less careless in their research? Of course, nobody's perfect and errors will always creep in. But there's a big difference between missing an error and deliberately not fixing one that you're aware of.

    Judging by the content of your posts, your style is chatty and easy to read. Things like OK not being all caps would be slightly irritating to me, but not fatally so. Missing commas would be more irritating, but, again, probably not fatally so (unless it actually changed the meaning of the sentence!). I'd say you could probably get away without fixing them, but isn't it better to make a product as good as you possibly can before you release it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Katie Rich
    You asked for a review and received one, if you don't like his review then ask someone else who you don't think will be as picky and perfect.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Originally Posted by Katie Rich View Post

      You asked for a review and received one, if you don't like his review then ask someone else who you don't think will be as picky and perfect.
      Alrighty..
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
        Ok let me clarify something.

        This is a forum. We are all sitting at our computers reading words, quickly forming an impression of what the other person means, and then responding. There's no voice tone, no body language, nothing. Just words.

        I'm not in the slightest bit offended at the critique that I've been given, nor am I offended by anything that has been said here.

        What does annoy me ever so slightly though, is the fact that it's very hard to be understood on a forum. Some people here have gotten the impression that I'm offended. I'm not.

        But when someone criticises my work, I have the right to form an opinion of their criticism. It works both ways. If someone asked me for criticism and I gave it and then they criticised my criticism, they would be most welcome to disagree. Otherwise that would make me arrogant. Expecting someone to blindly agree with all criticism is ridiculous and hypocritical. Like I say it works both ways.

        I take pride in the fact that even though I make mistakes, at least I try to apply some thinking when someone comments on what I do. I don't have to agree with what they say, not all of it. Just because I asked for comments doesn't mean I have to agree with them all. My work may not be 100% satisfactory to the commenter, but the commenter's comments aren't going to necessarily be 100% satisfactory to me. If I disagree with a comment, it may or may not be out of sheer pride and complacency in any particular case, but that's between me and my conscience to work out and I'm a big boy and I'm humble when I see what I think is fair criticism. I can handle it. But first, I have to get it, and agree with it. Sometimes it takes a while for advice to sink in and to finally accept it. I might kick and scream at first but I usually get there in the end. I'm not that stupid.

        And here's something else. Some of you are disagreeing with each other. Some of you are saying that the guy who looked at my book (I did not hire him, it was a favour) was a bit over the top, others are saying he was right. Some of you are saying that I should not change my spelling to american spelling, some of you are saying that I should. Some of you are giving advice like it's gospel, some of you are just throwing out suggestions and basically saying do what feels right. Some of you are effectively saying take his advice with a pinch of salt, and some of you (especially those who are editors) are saying well, geez, you asked for advice and now you can't take it (which is not true).

        So I'm going to stick with my usual philosophy, which is :

        Humbly ask for advice no matter how stupid I might sound
        If I don't get it or I don't agree, say so
        If I agree, apply what they suggest as best as I can
        Given the choice, ask for advice from people who can handle their criticism being criticised
        Look at all criticism objectively as a whole and build an overall impression from it


        By the way I will definitely give a lot of thought to what I've been told. I'm giving myself a break from looking at my book and focusing on other things like my sales page and ironing out a few other things. But when I get back to it I'm going to be ruthless, despite what I've been saying. I'm going to give it a go and just follow the advice that I've been given, if I can stand doing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aniblow
    I agree absolutely with katie. Your book's been reviewed by people you trusted to do the job. The first thing you need to do is trust their recommendation.
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  • Profile picture of the author BellaGeen
    Hi Johnny
    I think that Internet is flooded with bad English. It is annoying and irritating most of the readers. I know that for fact, because I work with non-English speakers a lot, and I get the responses from their customers.
    You can stand out easily.
    Do it.
    Fix even "Ok"
    And make the sentences short. Very short.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Originally Posted by BellaGeen View Post

      Hi Johnny
      I think that Internet is flooded with bad English. It is annoying and irritating most of the readers. I know that for fact, because I work with non-English speakers a lot, and I get the responses from their customers.
      You can stand out easily.
      Do it.
      Fix even "Ok"
      And make the sentences short. Very short.
      Oh yes I do plan on tidying it up. I have to resist the temptation to be precious about what I've written. I haven't looked at it much for a couple of days but when I do I'll tighten it all up. I'll try to be ruthless and objective. It's just that I worked so hard on it and I tend to switch off after a job is done. But it's not like I'll have to add anything so it shouldn't be too bad.

      I'm in the UK and the guy who looked at my writing suggested that I change some of my spelling to US spelling, in order to appeal more to a US audience. Is that a good idea?
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      • Profile picture of the author NK
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        I'm in the UK and the guy who looked at my writing suggested that I change some of my spelling to US spelling, in order to appeal more to a US audience. Is that a good idea?
        IMO, it's really up to you. If you have your stats and know that a huge portion of your customers will be from the US (or at least, more than the UK), then it could be worthwhile. The rest of the world wouldn't care as much and chances are, the majority won't even notice the difference. It's just replacing some words with the mass search and replace tool so it won't take you long to actually do it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Katie Rich
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        I'm in the UK and the guy who looked at my writing suggested that I change some of my spelling to US spelling, in order to appeal more to a US audience. Is that a good idea?
        No. You want to write in a comfortable and conversational style, so why would you pretend to be American? It will just look false, especially if you ever do a video to go with the book.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        I'm in the UK and the guy who looked at my writing suggested that I change some of my spelling to US spelling, in order to appeal more to a US audience. Is that a good idea?
        I don't really agree with certain parts of your writing and I do think that this guy has some valid points, but this confirms to me that he's being overly critical.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

    Someone reviewed my ebook (it's not done yet, I just sent them the pdf), and they liked it. But they said that I use a lot of run on sentences, and bad punctuation. And they gave me some examples. I saw what he meant, but really I don't think it's such a big deal. My book is written in a very conversational style and I think that the most important thing is that you get your message across clearly. I think he's being unnecessarily pedantic. He's an editor, that's probably why.

    My writing is good and yes I do sometimes bend some rules I guess, but who cares? It's not like I make spelling mistakes or say their when I mean they're, or anything like that. I tried to write like I talk, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    What do you think?
    Yeah, I think it should be fine... That reminds me to be more aware of who I'm giving my book to for review.

    Writing a ficiton Kindle book I'd see this as a valid argument but when you are writing a non-fiction info product, writing as you speak is much better IMO. It just seems to flow better.
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    • Profile picture of the author colorado1850
      When you've got a question like this - where you kind of think you might disagree with the editor - read his edited version and your original out loud. Read it out loud to someone. What do you like better? It's definitely okay to disagree on some points with your editor.

      Earlier you said:

      "But The nature of my book requires me to make lots of desciptions and definitions, so for example I might say "a slow, torturous, excrutiatingly boring and monotonous hour in which you may or may not feel like just walking out and forgetting about the whole thing". I just made that up to illustrate. "

      Yikes.

      It would be "...slow, torturous, excruciatingly boring, and monotonous.." to read a sentence that took so many words to say 'boring'. You are not required to use so many words to tell the reader what you mean.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        What do you think?
        If you don't want constructive advice - don't hand out review copies to people who actually know something about grammar, sentence structure and punctuation.

        "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."
        That sentence is a mess - you should notice that when when YOU proofread your book. Conversational style is good - but rambling conversations not so much.

        That reminds me to be more aware of who I'm giving my book to for review.
        You are being a bit "precious" about it and it's wise to leave it for a few days and then read through it again. It's easy to get too close (and defensive) when devoting time/effort to one project. Perspective may change when you have a bit of distance.

        If you give review copies to people who aren't good with grammar or structure and don't write anything themselves....the reviewer might be glowing in his praise.

        But it's the serious critic that helps you make your book BETTER.

        kay
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  • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
    You've received about 600x the advice you need but as a copy writer who has written HUNDREDS of long form and short form sales letters, AND as a creator of my own information products....... heres my 2 cents:

    (Above is a run on sentence.)

    There are 2 writing styles used by the likes of me.....

    1). The "conversational" tone - used in "salesmanship in print" type content (sales letters). This is the style that promotes the idea of writing to someone as if you were talking face to face. This is appropriate for sales letters

    2). The "acedemic" style - the kind we learned n school. Punctuation, sentence structure, grammar and body structure are important. You write as if you're teaching someone - not talking to them. This is appropriate for the educational information products you create
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Johnny - I've created probably 100 information products, written over 700 newsletters, and had three books published. I'm not saying that to brag, but to illustrate that I might know a little about the writing game.

    There will be people who care about the mistakes. The more mistakes there are, the more people there will be who care. Some will let you know, some won't. Of those who let you know, some will be kind, and some will make you want to choke them.

    How you write is up to you. But if you want to be known as a good writer, then you need to minimize the mistakes. If you want to minimize the complaints, then you need to minimize the mistakes. If it's a commercial product and you want to minimize the refunds, then it's crucial that you minimize the mistakes.

    Editors are pedantic for good reason. They make us writers look better. It's up to you whether you want others to perceive you in the best light possible, or if you want to settle for a dimmer view.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
    That's true Mike. No need to apologize. I do appreciate all the input, I really do. If all this was face to face I'm sure we'd all understand each other first time round. Sorry about the rant, I just wanted to clarify that's all. I'm definitely going to do an overhaul in a couple of days, when I have a bit more distance from it. I wish I could pm someone with a paragraph from the book but my inbox is almost full.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

      That's true Mike. No need to apologize. I do appreciate all the input, I really do. If all this was face to face I'm sure we'd all understand each other first time round. Sorry about the rant, I just wanted to clarify that's all. I'm definitely going to do an overhaul in a couple of days, when I have a bit more distance from it. I wish I could pm someone with a paragraph from the book but my inbox is almost full.
      Don't be so sure that we'd all just get along if we were face to face. When people are invested in a subject, emotions get involved. That's true with plain text on a forum (thus, the invention of 'smilies') or face to face.

      Putting aside your work for a couple of days is a good plan. I like to put things aside for a week if I have it.

      Try reading your text out loud. Or better yet, use one of those text-to-speech applications. Many times, what sounds fine in your head sounds clunky or confusing out loud.

      As for the spelling thing, I wouldn't worry about changing things. I just finished a good novel by a UK writer. The first couple of times I read about "tyres" scraping a "kerb", I had to think about it. After that, I just forgot all about it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
        Good idea John. I'm downloading natural reader now. I don't like hearing myself read anyway so that will be a big help, thanks. God bless the internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
    Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

    My writing is good and yes I do sometimes bend some rules I guess, but who cares? It's not like I make spelling mistakes or say their when I mean they're, or anything like that. I tried to write like I talk, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    What do you think?
    Conversational is fantastic! I do agree that some things will detract from people hearing your message. For me, run on sentences would annoy me so bad I wouldn't read on. So would tons of spelling errors. I'm not big on strict grammar rules. And I will break rules there.

    Short, punchy sentences simply work better.

    People can mentally digest it easier (same with those long paragraphs). Do you recall that thread from a newbie here where everyone ripped her to shreds because she didn't know how to break up paragraphs?

    That's what happens when people see stuff that irks them. If it's once or twice, that's no big deal - but if it was enough to make him comment, it might mean it was excessive.

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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
      Originally Posted by TiffanyLambert View Post

      Conversational is fantastic! I do agree that some things will detract from people hearing your message. For me, run on sentences would annoy me so bad I wouldn't read on. So would tons of spelling errors. I'm not big on strict grammar rules. And I will break rules there.

      Short, punchy sentences simply work better.

      People can mentally digest it easier (same with those long paragraphs). Do you recall that thread from a newbie here where everyone ripped her to shreds because she didn't know how to break up paragraphs?

      That's what happens when people see stuff that irks them. If it's once or twice, that's no big deal - but if it was enough to make him comment, it might mean it was excessive.

      I must confess, I don't actually know what a run on sentence is. I looked it up and I still don't get it.

      I was told that this...

      "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."

      ...is a run on sentence. But what's wrong with it? When I wrote it, I was imagining myself saying it, and the commas, even though they can't convey tone, they do represent where I would give a very short pause. Maybe I could have use 3 stops instead. i.e. "Well...actually...they are, deep down...I guess". I was trying to convey the pauses that there would be as you stop and think while saying the sentence. You know how sometimes when someone talks they kind of stop for a moment, you know, kind of, like, well, you know what I mean.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

        I must confess, I don't actually know what a run on sentence is. I looked it up and I still don't get it.

        I was told that this...

        "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."

        ...is a run on sentence. But what's wrong with it? When I wrote it, I was imagining myself saying it, and the commas, even though they can't convey tone, they do represent where I would give a very short pause. Maybe I could have use 3 stops instead. i.e. "Well...actually...they are, deep down...I guess". I was trying to convey the pauses that there would be as you stop and think while saying the sentence. You know how sometimes when someone talks they kind of stop for a moment, you know, kind of, like, well, you know what I mean.
        You've just come face to face with one of the challenges of trying to be too conversational.

        What sounds like one long sentence in your head can be broken up into multiple sentences on the page. For example:

        "Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess, but unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves, which is why it's so hard to..."
        I would break that like this:
        Well, actually, they are, deep down, I guess. But unfortunately we live in a world that doesn't encourage them to be the best of themselves. Which is why it's so hard to...
        "a slow, torturous, excruciatingly boring and monotonous hour in which you may or may not feel like just walking out and forgetting about the whole thing"
        I know you're trying to get across how tedious something might be, but piling on adjectives and synonyms isn't the way to do it.

        I would write it like this:
        an excruciatingly boring hour, one that leaves you debating whether or not to leave and forget the whole thing.
        Or, trying a little alliteration...
        an hour so mind-numbingly monotonous you might consider leaving it for the joys of watching paint dry or grass grow.
        Does this help, assist or otherwise render aid?
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
    It does. Yes, splitting up sentences would solve the problem, I guess, sort of, kind of, well, actually, it would, you know, solve it completely, like, you know, totally. And it would result in the shorter, punchier sentences that Tiffany mentioned.

    So am I right in thinking that a run on sentence just means one that is too long in an awkwardly unnecessary way?
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

      So am I right in thinking that a run on sentence just means one that is too long in an awkwardly unnecessary way?
      You've got the basic idea. Ideally, each sentence will focus on one central idea. Run on sentences tend to contain two or more key ideas that would be better expressed in separate sentences. It makes it easier to understand.

      Run on sentences often slow a reader down because they have to separate the ideas mentally. This often means reading a sentence two or more times in order to fully understand it. That's the main problem with them, rather than it being a grammatical issue, IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
    Ah I agree with John - the conversational example you just gave is too conversational. Almost like putting "Ummmm" "ahhhh" in there.

    "A run on sentence is something that can and probably should be broken up but it isn't broken up because the person writing it thinks it's okay and that's because he thinks it's perfectly acceptable to continue rambling on when in reality he could have said it better and shorter."

    A run on sentence is something that can (and probably should) be broken up. The person writing it feels it's okay to ramble. In reality, his shorter version would be better.

    That's sort of the difference
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny1975
    Ok, I get it now. It's a sentence that outstays its welcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Krone
    Originally Posted by Johnny1975 View Post

    Someone reviewed my ebook (it's not done yet, I just sent them the pdf), and they liked it. But they said that I use a lot of run on sentences, and bad punctuation. And they gave me some examples.
    What do you think?
    Hi Johnny, glad you wrote your ebook! Congrats.

    The reading experience is what the reader cares about. If greater impact can be delivered by breaking rules then it's good. If it diminishes impact, then you should find a better way. As a matter of survey, readers prefer short sentences. So don't be afraid to chop them up into separate sentences.

    Here's what I'd do - Go read some samples of current published bestselling books. At Amazon. Copy those authors standards, because they've proven to impact readers to buy their works, over and over.

    Conversational style makes the message more believable to me. Also helps people relate to you as a person. That's critical for the story aspect of your brand.
    I try to use critiques to improve myself and work. In the end it helps make us better. Even though I'm tempted to resist it at first.
    congrats!
    John
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