|Diagram from wikipedia by Will Heltsley|
Here is an interesting diagram I found today on wikipedia while researching what the correct term was for two words which are spelled differently but sound the same and have completely different meanings. The word I wanted was homophone.
Why? Well I found an interesting thumbnail image of a self-pubbed ebook cover in one of the many facebook forums I frequent. And yes, if I was being my usual pedantic self, I would probably have written fora, but forums seems to be the accepted norm these days and God forbid, I rock the boat often enough as it is.
This thumbnail looked interesting so I read the post and clicked on the link to amazon. The blurb didn't blow me away but I thought I'd look further so clicked on the "look inside" feature. And what did I find? The second line of the first chapter had a mistake that clearly indicated the author didn't understand the difference between a common word and its homophone. Now I'm not naming names or even the word, because that wouldn't be fair, but wake up, self-published and indie authors! This isn't a game. You're putting your book out there as "published"; you are asking people to pay money for it. Amazon is not a critique site and you can't expect readers to edit your work for you. If you can't afford to pay an editor, then trade beta-reads with a friend or writing colleague - sometimes just a fresh pair of eyes can be enough.
In my opinion, even typos are a no-no, but they are at least forgivable. Punctuation can be tricky and we don't always get it right, but we owe it to ourselves and our readers to do our best. But not understanding words - the tools of a writer's trade - is unforgivable.