Monday, January 16, 2012

Error Proof?

Here in the middle of January with the sky gray, the air cold, and the day too short, I have finally finished the last iteration of fixing WISHFUL THINKING. I've pored over the galley proofs, corrected errors and sent it back. I'll be receiveing ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) next to send out for review and then the final product, the book itself. The scariest part is that in 320 pages of galley proofs, I found 147 errors. Oh, most of them were commas instead of periods, or periods instead of commas, or missing end quotes (and a couple of missing beginning quotes), but I also found repeated words (I fixed those--and some repeats are on purpose), or awkward syntax, or outright mistakes, like a character standing in one line, then three lines later he stands again.

Collector's card
What's scary is that this book has been through so many reads. Not only by me while revising, but also by two beta readers, then me again, then my editor, then me again, then by the copyeditor, then me again, the typesetter (or person who puts it into the way it looks when printed form--they don't really set type any more), then me again. And yet in that last step I still found 147 errors. Now it goes to print. I honestly believe that no manuscript (of any significant length) can be error-free. There will be typos, wrong punctuation, and other mistakes. That's the reason why I have never read one of my actual books. At that point there's nothing I can do about it, so I don't want to know. I've had another author tell me in one of my early books (pre-Gabi Stevens) that I have envelope rather than envelop. Not helpful. I can't fix it. Maybe if it went back into print, which it won't, but in any case not helpful.

Now, in TEMPTATION'S WARRIOR (now available on Kindle and I'm working on the other formats) if I find errors, I can fix them. That's the nice aspect of self-pubbing.

I know some readers get very annoyed with errors in a published book. Every book will have errors. Especially after writing the thing and reading it umpteen dozen times, you can't see your own words. I guess I'm asking readers to be a little more forgiving. Oh, not if the book is error-laden (and I've read a few of those--that's just wrong) but you really need to overlook a few misplaced or missing commas, periods, and quotes. And I'm not talking about the ebook versions of books. I've had more trouble with the format of books than I care to deal with. (Not my own, other books)

Of course, WISHFUL THINKING will be clean now. I hope. :)

Books I'm reading now:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


  1. I have to wonder why readers write to the authors complaining about typos in printed books. It's not like we can do anything about it once it's in print. Do they just want to shame us or make us feel bad?

  2. I think most people don't understand how the printing process works. Maybe they think that by telling us, we can fix things.

  3. Gabi, I'm with you. I never read the final product. I found a lot of errors in the page proofs of Keeper of the King's Secrets, and I understand how it happens when someone is trying to retype a whole novel while also trying to work out the mark-ups of my editor, the copy-editor and me from the CEs. And I go through the page proofs twice to make sure I've caught everything. Then the production manager and one other person goes through it, so after all that, if there are a few errors, I really, really don't want to know about them.

    I didn't realize you'd self-pubbed something. Off to look at it right now!