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IT’S just an apostrophe, but don’t discount ITS importance

Posted by Maria Murnane | September 9, 2014

I receive a lot of email from authors who have questions about how to market their books. When the emails are well-written, I naturally assume that their books are probably also well-written. I know we’re never supposed to assume anything, but if the authors show attention to detail in their emails to me, it seems logical to presume their books have also been carefully edited – and thus worth reading.

Do you know the difference?

One detail that makes me smile is when authors correctly use “its” and “it’s.” The difference between the two can be extremely confusing because, while most nouns require use of an apostrophe to denote possession (e.g. “this is Maria’s blog”), the possessive of “it” does not.

Here are some examples:

CORRECT:

I’m wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It’s a story about a family in the South and its battle with alcoholism.

INCORRECT:

I’m wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It’s a story about a family in the South and it’s battle with alcoholism.

CORRECT:

I’m having trouble getting my book noticed despite its appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

INCORRECT:

I’m having trouble getting my book noticed despite it’s appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

When I receive messages that correctly use its and it’s, I immediately notice the author’s grasp of grammar – and take the book more seriously as a result. It makes a good impression, and that’s what you want to do when you’re promoting your book.

Just yesterday I saw a crowdsourcing campaign for a woman trying to get funding for her novel. Unfortunately, the summary of it was riddled with grammatical errors, which made me feel bad for her because I knew it would hamper her efforts, no matter how amazing her book might be. On the flip side, paying attention to detail will help create a positive first impression, which can open doors for you and your book.

-Maria

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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