Nothing is ever simple!! Last week someone posted a review on one of my sweet romances saying that it was full of spelling mistakes and typos. I thought, 'I'm sure it isn't!' and left it at that. Yesterday, someone else posted a review of the same book saying that they could tell I'd self-published it because of all the mistakes. ????
Now, I'm rubbish at spelling and proof reading, I'll freely admit - I'm dyslexic and have a kind of scrambled word blindness that means I simply don't see errors (on the plus side, it means I can enjoy a book in a couple of hours), but that book has been through not one but TWO professional copy editors, once when it was first published, once when it was published again in a large print edition. And I checked it again before I published it.
I dug out the file and checked it very slowly and carefully with a ruler. No mistakes. And then it dawned on me - the people reading my books are American! There are a number of small differences between British and American English, in spelling, in syntax, in vocabulary and even in punctuation. To readers from the USA, my British manuscript doesn't look right. I can't spell colour, I say aubergine for eggplant, I put my full stops inside the quotation marks and so on.
So, what to do? I'd probably make a horrible mess of it if I bought the Chicago Style Manual or similar and did it myself because I think in British and find copy editing hard. I cannot afford at this stage to have my books copy edited for the American market - and what about one's other international readers? I'm pretty sure Canadians use British English, and so do Australians. Amazon have different sites, but Smashwords and All Romance do not. It would be complicated and difficult to have two or more editions, anyway. Yet I can understand that readers don't want to think they are spending money on a rubbish book that is full of mistakes.
So, for now, I'm going to try the simple answer to the problem of American readers thinking British English is full of mistakes - on Tuesday, I'm going to take all my books down, one by one, from all the places I spent so long posting them to in the first place (growl) and put a notice at the beginning of each book explaining that they are English books by an English writer and have been copy edited in the UK and so feature British spelling.
I hope this will help many readers understand the situation. If you know any other ways to solve this problem, please let me know!
A BIG PS: Since writing this it occurred to me to check the book again in a Kindle viewer - and you know what I found? Mistakes - swarms of pesky typos. So, if you are one of those people who wrote a review, THANK YOU!! I'm proof reading them all again. If you'd like a coupon for a free book, or if you'd like a signed paper copy, get in touch (with the name you used on the review) and I'll be happy to send a free book - you deserve it and thank you again.