Yes, that glossary, just two largish-print, badly written pages, has thrown my credibility and reputation clean out of the window. I dread to see the reviews if and when they appear on Amazon. I feel thoroughly defenestrated.PhilB wrote:... oh dear, that doesn't sound goodGraham wrote: It makes me want to "thcream and thcream 'till I'm thick".
It is the inevitable result when publishers take it upon themselves to do things without possessing the necessary knowledge. Many editors believe that they know better than the author, and this is particularly dangerous when this applies to specialised, technical or semi-technical books. I suppose that I move far too slowly for the comfort of the publisher, so perhaps they felt it expedient to do as much as they could without my involvement. I just wish that they had exercised a bit more caution, thought about the consequences of what they were doing, and had not booked the print run before the redesign was finished, thereby setting dangerously short deadlines. The trouble is that with excessive meddling from editors, the author loses control of his work and the result can easily turn into an unmitigated mess. I have a feeling that the glossary will come back to haunt us in the form of lost reputation and probably reduced sales. Once people find cause to start laughing at you, the game is up.
With regard to the Law & Grimes' and Greg Hughes' books; it is very difficult to get the balance right, an author must know and judge his target audience well in order to know what to include, what to leave out, and the level of technicality necessary in order to satisfy that target audience. Also, in the rush, tumble and panic of things it is very easy to omit something important or to assume that an explanation isn't necessary. I have come across this time and time again in cookery books: "Do so and so (replace so and so with a pseudo-French word here) by your favourite method." If you haven't got a method you certainly will not have a favourite one, more so if you don't know what the word means.
As to so-called typos; it is unfair to blame the editor or the publishing house for everything. Most errors of this sort are solely the fault of the author. In these days of word processors and electronic transfer there is very little, if any, manual transcription involved and thus very little opportunity for typos to occur at the publisher's end. The editor has a job to do, mainly to make the writing fit the available space, which usually means chopping out superfluous stuff (unfortunately stuff that the editor unilaterally deems superfluous), abridging long passages, and, hopefully, correcting poor grammar. All of this usually goes smoothly enough, but can sometimes have unintended consequences, like changing the author's meaning, chopping out important stuff, or leaving inter-page cross-references orphaned. It is when they start adding things that one really needs to get worried.
However, there is only the author to blame for the cardinal sin of publishing recipes that do meet expectations or, even worse, those that do not work at all. An editor is unlikely to mess with the recipes apart from, may be, converting between metric / imperial / U.S. measurements, but even that should be the responsibility of the author. The reason that I decided to write my first book was because in the early 1980s there were so many obviously unworkable recipes published in the books and magazines that I thought that they were doing significant damage by discouraging beginners who thought that they had done something wrong. In these days of brewing software there is no excuse for publishing recipes that are mathematically unsound.
Despite all of the wisdom that I have expounded above, my first book was terrible; I cringe now just thinking about it, leave alone when I go back and re-read it, so I fully understand how a book, particularly a first book, can go horribly wrong. It is just down to lack of experience. At least the recipes worked though.