Everyone has run across indie books with errors. It reflects poorly on the author, the book and on indie books in general. Some readers may tar all indie books with the same brush after experiencing one too many of them that haven't been edited. Editing is not the same as running a spellchecker! The reasons can be seen in my review of Solutions America by John Ndege which is the subject of this blog entry. A professional editor would have been a really good investment for this book if Ndege wants to be perceived as producing a quality product.
I was initially interested in Solutions America due to the author's history and experiences. I thought he might have some unique observations. That's why I requested his book from The Bookplex. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that the process of reading Solutions America was challenging for all the wrong reasons. My review can be found below.
This book by a Ugandan author with a background in banking in his home country represents a different perspective. I can see how John Ndege’s experiences have led him to his outlook on America’s political and economic systems. Although I have numerous disagreements with this author, I was interested in what he had to say about the positive impact of Ronald Reagan’s policies on the third world, and I thought that his observations about immigration issues were particularly valuable and cogent. I did think that Ndege doesn’t have a good understanding of the American political spectrum. His idea that the extreme left of the Democratic Party was responsible for drafting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will amuse left of center readers who favor the single payer universal health care plan of Europe and Canada.
This book’s biggest flaw, however, is lack of editing. Ndege actually states that he didn’t think the book was ready for publication. It’s very probable that he went against his better judgment in order to air his arguments before the U.S. presidential election this November. He should have hired an editor and delayed the release of this book. An editor could improve the book’s coherence and professionalism. I normally don’t comment about editing if there are a few spelling errors here and there, but in this case the volume of errors is egregious. It’s particularly noticeable that all words spelled with two letter L’s have had one L removed, leaving a space in the words. I believe there was an attempt to use a spellchecker early in the manuscript. My evidence is the substitution of incorrect words for correct words that are evidently not in the spellchecker’s dictionary. One example was the substitution of “Shiatsu” for “Shiites”. Having an incorrect first name for President Herbert Hoover probably isn’t a result of spellchecking, but it’s nevertheless an important error. There are also missing words and grammatical errors. At some points in this book, I had to pause for a moment to make sure I understood Ndege’s original intention. Clarity is so important. Readers should not have to struggle to grasp an author’s meaning. I also think that the outline structure further contributes to the impression that this book is a rough draft that isn’t really finished.