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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Case of the Never Ending Typos

Image from John Carpenter's "The Fog"
After a professional edit and several proofreads by people I'm not related to--plus my own read- through--any fear of typos in my book should recede into the mist like the evil pirates in The Fog, right?

Cue scary music.  They never leave. They're just waiting under your bed until you fall asleep.

I was looking at my e-book manuscript, Barking Mad At Murder, with the intention of turning it into a Nook edition, when I found a hideous typo.  Something so sloppy that it makes me cringe just the think about it.  Something so embarrassing that it makes that dream where your standing in front of the class in your underwear sound like a good time.  (Isn't it odd that, even in our dreams, we subconsciously retain enough modesty and good taste to keep on our underwear?)

A complete scan brought up a few additional mistakes that never should have made it past my grammar-paranoid eyes.  Had I not let the manuscript set long enough between readings and "filled in" what I thought it should say instead of reading what was on the page?  Were my eyes simply tired from reading the manuscript so many times?  Was I suffering from a rare form of mental stuttering that would allow me to think that "She took a a thingamabob--"  sounded perfectly natural?

Hundreds of people had already bought this book. Did they think I was an idiot? If so, they were kind enough not to say so on Amazon.  My mother suggested that, since so many people hadn't caught the mistakes in the first place, maybe the readers didn't notice them either. Thanks Mom, but that's not the point.

After I let loose a cry of anguish and shook my fist at the sky, I did another grammar check, fixed the errors, and uploaded the new manuscript.  Then I changed my address and telephone number and started thinking of a good pen name for future books.

Is there ever a point where a writer can feel safe about typos?  Do YOU ever feel safe about typos?

3 comments:

  1. Oh Jackie, I can soooo identify. My strategy is I never go back and read after publication, unless forced by an event or something. There are always GREMLINS--and they're clever little devils. The newest wrinkle for me in all this is, trying to get two books out in audiobooks, which means a voice person is reading--and low and behold, booboos found when they were trying to read! Four editors, and still booboos... Be assured, yours is not the only cry of anguish or fist shaking.

    Great blog!

    Madeline

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  2. I can identify too, ladies. I had to re-publish because of typos overlooked by my editor, on my first book: ones that I had become blind to after reading the ms what felt like a hundred times...and ones that my handful of readers failed to take note of as well. Humiliating to say the least! Am thinking of hiring two editors for the next one:)

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  3. Please fix these glaring misspellings and contraction mistakes. Love the concept and plots but the sheer quantity of editorial sins have left me relunctant to go further on the journey with you. I am choosing to vote no with my wallet. Tighten it up please.

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