Thanks so much for all the great work you do on the LDS Publisher blog. I really enjoy reading it. [You're welcome.]I'm an aspiring LDS fiction author. I've been studying a lot about writing and have attended several writing conferences. It's kind of ruined reading for me. When I read, I see so many mistakes, it's distracting.My question is this: Why are established LDS authors not held to the same standards as those of us who are trying to break into this business? I've been reading [Amy Author's] newest book. I see so many mistakes she makes. On one page I counted 14 unnecessary "that's" she could have left out. There are POV problems all over the place, and lots of other things which I've learned and been taught are incorrect.I look forward to your insight.
Yes, well. You're never going to find a perfect book. Not even ones that I've edited and/or published are error free. (Gasp! I know. I've burst your bubble and shattered your high opinion of me. Sorry.) However, light-handed editing has been one of my issues with LDS publishing, even before I became a publisher. Twenty years ago, I did book reviews for a local paper and I hated reviewing LDS novels for that very reason. The basic plot might have been good, but the writing was so poor you couldn't get through the story. That is part of the reason LDS fiction has gotten a bad rap.
Things have improved since then. I read a new LDS fiction release last week (not published by my company) that had almost no errors in it. It was great. The quality of editing varies between publishers. IMHO, some companies are nearly always weak in that area, while others are usually strong. However, even the strongest sometimes put out weakly edited books.
Why? Because once an author is established, it's harder to force editing upon them. They argue with you over every little thing. Plus, you know their book will sell based on the strength of their name, and the publisher wants to get it out fast, so they sometimes cut corners in this area. (This happens in the national market too. I can think of several authors whose writing have declined as they've gotten more popular.)
So, to answer your question, why were there so many mistakes in the book you mentioned? Because someone got lazy—either the author (who can't really edit out the "that's"--that is what editors are for), or the editor.
Other posts that touch on the topic of editing can be found here, and here, and here. And here's one from an author's perspective.