A question for authors: what is the editing process? Not the stuff you do, but the copy-editing sweeps made before publication? Is there software involved? Is it…evil software?

Here’s the thing. I noticed twice in CE Murphy’s Walking Dead that the word “dredges” was subbed for the word “dregs”. I hate this kind of thing. Snaps me right out of the story. Only long enough to grimace unattractively, but still, it’s like a sloppy cut in a movie. Jarring.

So I see this, and I think, surely, one of my favorite authors would do no such dreadful thing.

Soon afterward, I am tearing through SJ Day’s “Marked” books, and there it is again. Dredges for dregs. I’m not wrong: the phrase was “dredges of society”. At this point, I became truly suspicious.

I wanted to compose a post, but I didn’t take notes as I was reading (like I’d do that) (okay, I might, sometimes), so I went to Amazon to see if any of the books were searchable. Day’s Eve of Darkness was. No dredges. But there was a dregs, plain as goats, right on page 220, where it should be. Looking at the version uploaded to Amazon, is it clearly earlier than the final release.

This means that some time between Amazon’s version and the final release, one last sweep was made with some diabolical piece of software (because no human editor would commit such a horror), and lo, dregs became dredges.

Luna published Walking Dead, while Eve was a Tor book. What do Luna and Tor have in common? Perhaps many things. But most of all, evil, evil software.

7 Responses to Dredges

  1. Meljean says:

    That is weird. And it’s also odd that a different version was released to Amazon — it’s not like they get ARCs uploaded as Kindle books; the searchable versions should be the same as the final versions (although I guess a mistake might have been made).

    Supposedly the only change from when the book is typeset to when it is finalized are the edits on the galleys, so if Amazon does have an earlier version, someone would have to physically go in and change it to “dredges.”

    …so I have no idea. Unless Luna and Tor share a proofreader who doesn’t understand the difference between dregs and dredges, it does seem like it must be the software :-/

  2. Cat says:

    Someone’s been busy, and the cover on Amazon last night has changed to the standard, but the one on Eve of Destruction still looks the same:


    Looks like a galley to me?

    Now I’m even more curious as to where the glitch is.

  3. Cat says:

    From CE_Murphy via Twitter:

    Hm. Dredges/dregs could be my mistake & nobody ever caught it. Lemme check.

    Yep, that was me. Confession: I didn’t know there was a difference between the words. But nobody caught it, either. 🙂

    OTOH, sometimes things do get changed after the last time I see the ms. There are commas in WD I specifically didn’t want.

    So she did do that dreadful thing, but nobody’s perfect. Very surprising that it went uncaught! Now to see if I can snag SJ Day.

  4. S. J. Day says:

    I’m rather horrified by this. I went through every file I have for DARKNESS and DESTRUCTION. Not once was “dregs” written as “dredges.” The word was never *corrected* to “dredges” at any point either.

    So it would appear that the error was added to the file during the conversion process (which is done by Ingrams Distributors on behalf of Amazon). Tor/Macmillan sends the final file to Ingrams, who then processes it for distribution as a Kindle file.

    I’m more than a little concerned to think that someone might be changing text in the books after they’ve been finalized by the author and publisher.

    (BTW, the galleys for all three Marked books were four-color ARCs, so they had the final cover on them from the beginning. That image you posted… No idea what that is.)

    Thank you for the heads up. I’m going to run this by Tor, too.

  5. Cat says:

    And this is where I stick my head in an oven.

    I no longer had a copy of Eve of Darkness, so I headed to the bookstore to snap a pic of the page, for physical verification. My memory isn’t the best, and I had to be sure.

    On the way there, I remembered something. Something that left me swearing and blushing. It wasn’t SJ Day’s book at all. It was L.L. (Lori) Foster’s Servant: The Kindred that had the dregs/dredges error.

    That book, I still have on hand. It isn’t searchable on Amazon, so I skimmed through again to verify. There it is “dredges of society” on page 76.

    My deepest apologies for panicking Ms. Day.

    I suck. Too bad my oven is electric. Maybe the microwave…

  6. Jeroen says:

    You’re back to regular blogging! Yayness!

  7. Cat says:

    Oh, kinda. Maybe sometimes. 🙂

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