If you're wondering why you should bother with a copy edit....

I got a very nice review of Trang on Futures Past and Present--it makes me happy on a day that has mostly been spent drinking hot fluids and blowing my nose.

Now, after you go and read it and marvel at what nice things the nice man has to say (he's so nice!), I want to draw your attention to the paragraph that reads:

Now, production values.  Once again, an indie author has put together a book that is essentially error free.  I only noticed one typo (although I don't remember what page now).  There was an interactive table of contents.  The formatting was good, and the cover told you this was a novel set in space.  Somehow New York can't seem to figure this out.

Isn't that just so much, well, nicer than:

As for the technicals, there are plenty of typos and typesetting errors. A second set of eyes would've cleared these up.

That was from the review in the New Podler Review of Books, which was written before I had Trang copy edited. Now that review was also mostly positive, and I had and still have absolutely no problem with it--the criticism was perfectly fair, and indeed, a second set of eyes did clear those errors up.

Which is my point. No matter how much a reviewer likes your book, there are going to be complaints--their job is to be critical, and there is no such thing as a perfect book. The idea is to minimize those complaints to things like, "I wanted more about the characters, because they were just so wonderful!" or "I can't wait for the next book to come out!" or "I never wanted the book to end!" not, "For God's sake, get it copy edited!"

Think about the difference in implications between those two excerpts from a marketing perspective. The first excerpt tells readers, hey, this lady's stuff is top quality--even better than what New York turns out. Yeah, he's just talking about the copy editing and the formatting and the choice of cover, but the implication is that the book is just as good if not better than something you'd pay $10 more for. The second tells you that, meh, it's sloppy, and she didn't put enough effort into it.

When I say things like, it's impossible to really enjoy a story that has a lot of errors in it, because your attention is constantly being interrupted--well, you are seeing the proof of that right here in those review excerpts. While I certainly think that changing the cover and description resulted in Trang getting much better reader reviews, I also believe strongly that having the book copy edited--getting rid of all the crap that was cluttering up the book and blocking people from becoming truly immersed in the story--was equally important.