The Kind of Publicity You Don’t Want
Skipping a proofread can cost three or four stars.
P. T. Barnum, the flamboyant showman of the nineteenth century, famously said, “All publicity is good publicity.”
Perhaps all publicity is good publicity for the person who’s famous for being famous. Any day that a spotlight-seeking celebrity gets to push past the paparazzi’s cameras, bask in an overflow of attention, and get fingers tweeting is a good day.
Maybe we should finish the quote attributed to P. T. Barnum: “All publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.” That sounds a lot like Barnum was stressing the importance of proofreading.
In the world of Bible publishing, perhaps not all publicity is good publicity. If the goal of a person or business is to simply become famous (or infamous), Barnum was right: any publicity will do. But if the goal is business success, you want positive publicity. You want good buzz, positive word-of-mouth. You want consumers praising your products. In today’s world that means you want five-star reviews.
The fact is, consumers read reviews. You probably do too. You may have even done it this week. You visited your favorite online retailer, the one that has your favorites list, shipping address, and credit card on file. You found your must-have product. You looked at the price and then scrolled down to the reviews section. That make-or-break-a-sale section. What are people saying about your item? The answers can cause you to add the item to your cart or move on to a different product.
This process is no different for people shopping for a new Bible.
One of the most powerful ways to spread the word about your Bible project is through these product reviews. Four- and five-star reviews can help drive distribution. But a Bible with consistently low ratings will just become stored inventory. The publisher loses out on the sales and ministry it might otherwise have had.
Imagine investing months and months of your time and labor editing a Bible project. Imagine your joy at seeing it roll off the press. And now imagine the horror you’d feel if you read an Amazon review like this one.
Is this a typesetting problem or a printing problem? We’ve seen pagination issues like this land in both places. In fact, for a Bible with these problems, three stars is quite generous. But any shopper reading the review itself will certainly move on to another Bible—or not buy a Bible at all.
This project now becomes cases of Bibles that can’t be distributed.
It helps to know that every Bible project is going to involve errors during development and typesetting. It also helps to know that those mistakes will be found by someone. They can be found by a trained proofreading team before the Bible goes to press or by alert readers after it’s been published. The former is a private affair, between the publishing and proofreading team. The latter? Well, you can see just how public this becomes by looking at the online reviews we’ve reprinted below.
(Note that we removed the names of the Bible product and publisher from the following reviews. However, we are happy to say that none of the negative reviews were for projects proofed by Peachtree’s Scripture Integrity Team.)
Some think, “With 31,000+ verses in the Bible, is a single typo really a big deal?”
Consider the following review from Christianbook.com:
When our team reviews a Bible, we ask to see front and back matter as well. Those pages are typically put together quickly and usually at the last minute, which makes it easy to miss errors. The following review is from a Bible that we did proofread. Unfortunately, the editor never sent us the presentation page. A single typo on that highly visible page cost this publisher two stars:
People read and rate Bibles differently than they do fiction or nonfiction books, where typos are inconvenient but acceptable. When there are typos or other errors in a Bible, readers often return it, seeing it as defective. We all believe God’s Word is perfect. It’s difficult to accept that the publishers of Bibles are not.
A reliable Bible proofreader will help protect you from costly mistakes. With a good process, reviews like this one can be more of the norm.
And this one:
“All publicity is good publicity”? Not when you’re in the Bible business. Obviously P. T. Barnum did not live in the always-connected, always-vocal online world.
Proofreading helps avoid the pain of bad reviews.