Monday, July 21, 2014

Typos, Damn Typos!

So over the last couple of weeks I've been working very hard on the ebook for The Insider's Guide to a Career in Book Publishing. It's amazing how changing the book into epub format really messes with formatting. All of a sudden, there were strange line breaks in the middle of a line, italics that had shifted over two letters, italics that disappeared, and we also were trying to get URLs to be active and those don't always work properly. While checking this all over, I caught a few typos!

Why hadn't I caught them before? Well, I caught an awful lot before! (As did my two proofreaders.) But there always seems to be one more, no matter how thorough you are. In fact, I've found two typos in On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I'm rereading. This is a book that's published by HarperCollins and has been in print for eighty years. So it can happen to anyone!

One was the result of a small change I made at the last minute. I changed the order of items in a list, but I did not tell the designer to move the word "and" which then ended up at the end of the sentence. Oops.

But most of them are due to our brains trying to be overly helpful. It's well-documented that our minds fix things for us. I have read numerous articles about this phenomenon and I know there are some tricks for catching them (but those mostly work only for short works, not book-length manuscripts.) And I know they happen to everyone. But it still doesn't help. I just felt sick to my stomach.

The good news is these are now all fixed! So any books ordered now will have those typos corrected. I'm not promising that there aren't any typos at all (and if you catch any and let me know, I will fix them!) But I know there are fewer than there were. And I'll try to forgive myself and move on.

P.S. if any writer has every wondered if they really need to hire a proofreader before self-publishing a book, Yes, yes you most definitely do!

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