Pardon My Mistake


oopsAs an independent author, there is not much of a barrier between my work and the reader. I have added layers over time including an editor, beta readers, etc., but, even with all of those precautions, mistakes can slip through into the final product.

My first book went through iterations. I had a typo on the back cover, missing page numbers, bad formatting on the kindle version, etc. I was a newbie.

There are purists out there that think that a book should remain in it’s pristine state once it’s published. It’s a snapshot in time that should never be altered. But then God invented Photoshop.

photoshop

I’m more of the mindset in our eBook and print-on-demand world that we should correct errors and continually work toward creating the best product possible. Of course, you should try to do this up front before your book sees the light of day, but what if things do slip through.

Although the figures vary, but many sources agree that the average self-published author makes less than $500 per year. Between promotion, cover design, and editing, corners get cut and errors might sneak through.

correctionSo tell me, as an author, do you get insulted if someone points out errors? Does it depend on the forum they choose to mention it (telling you via email vs. via a review on Amazon)? If you are made aware of errors, do you change your work that’s already published?

Please let me know in your comments. This could be a valuable discussion.

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Pardon My Mistake

  1. I’d be amazed if people don’t correct known errors, if they don’t it seems highly unprofessional. And if mistakes get pointed out that’s a helping hand, but I know some people can get uppity about that sort of thing.

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  2. Hard to say I’m “happy” when people find typos in my work (as in I’m not happy they snuck in), but I am glad when a reader cares enough to contact me with their feedback. It can be quite helpful. And I admit to having reuploaded my first book several times in the first few months following its release. I won’t rewrite a book once it’s out, but killing typos – absolutely. One of the advantages of being self-pubbed is the abiility to update and reload the files as often as you like.
    I, too, contact other authors if I see typos or blaring formatting issues – but I do so directly – never in a review.
    In my opinion, making general comments in a review about a book having typos is not the way to go. Even if the author fixes the typos,the negative comment is in the review forever.

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  3. Don,
    As a writer, I am first a reader. Because I have done quite a bit of (mostly unpaid) editing over the years, and because by nature I am somewhat of a grammar phobe, I often find minor mistakes in the writing of even the most seasoned author. One major flaw I found in a book years ago was not even by an independent author, but by a seasoned veteran whose first edition of a new novel actually made it to the shelves with four full pages MISSING. It happens. I do think that it is important for the reader to point these out, in some sort of private way, giving the author the chance to correct the error if it was his or her own. Errors are inevitable, and if they are few and far between, I do not think they deter from the reading experience, however I think it is quite personal whether or not an author makes changes to the original work based on feedback. Every case is different. Often, I may see something where the wrong word has been used, “they’re” versus “their” perhaps, and it does not necessarily make me lose confidence in the author.
    Michelle

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    • I agree Michelle. It’s when you see multiple avoidable errors. That being said, I’ve read work by indie authors where the story was compelling and I plowed through despite the poor punctuation or grammar errors. I’ve then offered the feedback privately and even offered to help them find an editor. I think many authors believe that editors are cost prohibitive. I am fortunate that I have a dear friend that does my editing in return for payment when I can swing it or dinner or airline tickets. There are freelance services, however, where you can pay a nominal fee for editing. It may not be the same level that you’d get from a publisher, but it’s a fresh set of eyes.

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  4. Don, I like the subject of this post. I have several blogging friends that have pointed out errors and typos on my blog. I am grateful when they do this. As writers we need to be a little thick skinned. The author who is not ready to accept criticism, well, they should look for another line of business. I do provide a contact me on my blog. This allows my friends and followers to reach me privately. So, there is no awkwardness in them pointing out an error. Many bloggers do not offer this option. As you stated, you wouldn’t want to learn of an error on something that is published. That would make the author appear like an amateur.

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  5. I usually know when I have made an error. If it’s in a blog, it’s easy enough to go back in and correct it. I don’t know what is involved in editing other venues. What I appreciate having pointed out to me is when I make a factual error…containing false or mistaken information–someone’s name, the wrong century, mixed-up facts–not typos or glaring spelling errors that should have been discovered and corrected. The thing is that when I make an error…typing or spelling, I usually know it. But if I guess at a birth date–say someone was born in 1945…when it was actually 1955, that is an error that needs to be corrected…ten years is a long time in someone’s life. A typo is one thing…a deliberate guess is something else.
    Here’s an actual example from my newspaper writing days…under deadline pressure I had forgotten the name of a prominent judge involved in a breaking news story…so I took a stab at it…. his name was James, not Harold. (ouch)

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    • I agree with your philosophy. My pet peeve is when someone acts as a troll and calls out an error in a review or other public forum. I haven’ t had this happen to me, but I have seen other authors go through it. My first question to a troll would be, “Let me see your book.”

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