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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mistakes Were Made

This week we were asked to take a look at some common publishing terms and reflect on our understanding of the business jargon.

The word of the day kiddies:

And no, I didn't choose it because it sounds like erotica. Get your minds out of the gutter.

In publishing errata is a loose sheet detailing errors found in a printed book. It's a literal accounting of your failures as a writer even AFTER having gotten published. Now isn't that a slap in the face.

I find a certain kinship with this word because this list of errors reminds us that at every step of the publishing process we are all human. Even though there is a team of professionals working tirelessly to make your work the best it can be for public consumption, nothing can ever be 100% perfect.

When I wrote my first novel I assumed I would just edit it myself. I would print it out, chapter by chapter, and line edit my own work.

Then one day my eyeballs exploded and my brain liquefied.

No, not really. But that's what it felt like. So I hired an editor and I thought, now it will be perfect.

I got it back and my head exploded a second time.

My editor and I swapped that manuscript back and forth at least four times and likely could have done it more (if I hadn't gone broke) and still found more errors.

Once it was published, what's the first review I got on Amazon? One star because the book was "loaded with errors".

That's it. I quit.

No, not really. But my first thought was, how the hell could this book still have errors? I've been staring at it for SIX YEARS. It has to be right by now! But it will never be right. It will never be 100% because the human brain can't pick up every error every time. There will always be mistakes and I've come to the conclusion that these are what makes the book human and reminds the readers that there is a real living, breathing person behind those pages. A whole team of them in fact! And none of them is perfect.

All of this is a longwinded way of saying, don't pick on authors when you find errors in their books. Even the largest publishing houses miss typos or small grammatical errors.

And no, your author friend WILL NOT appreciate you handing them your own carefully constructed errata after you read their book. If you do this, you will no longer have friends.


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