Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Perfect Publishing Doesn’t Exist

Dear Major Publishing House,

On page 54 of best selling author’s book, Doodlebugs are Cute, there is a typographical error. Instead of the word “processed,” someone used the word “preceded,” ruining the meaning of the sentence. I’m letting you know because you don’t want the book to look like an indie published book.

I wonder how many emails like this, big time New York publishing companies receive. Probably none. Probably because readers don’t feel as comfortable writing the big nonentity corporation as they do writing the indie publisher.

This is just my opinion, of course, and maybe those people who email me about errors they spot in my books, or write it up in a review also write the big guys and complain about errors in the books they publish. And mention it in their review of the traditionally published opus.

Then again, maybe they just feel indie publisher/writers are more approachable. I’m going to make a major confession here. I love hearing from my readers. And I appreciate that they take the time to write even if sometimes it’s just to let me know I made an error. Truth is, I figure if the big guys are allowed errors in their books, then I’m not going to panic over minor ones in mine.

Over the years, I’ve copyedited millions of words, trying to ensure everything from periods to spelling is correct. And yes, now I have beta readers, a copy editor, and proof reader, but we’re only human and sometimes we miss something.

Just like the big guys.

Yeah, those large publishing houses make mistakes. I’m not only a writer and indie publisher, I’m also a reader and I read a lot. It’s no major revelation to me that traditional publishers make errors. In fact, I’ve noticed an increase in errors in recent years.

This is probably due to staff reductions which means fewer eyes watch over the publishing process. I also think the editors rely more and more on spellcheck and automatic correction. One New York published book drove me crazy because the word discreet (careful, diplomatic) was replaced by discrete (distinct, separate). I’m not sure who made the error, the author or the editor. I do know the word made its incorrect appearance several times during the novel. No one at the publishing house caught the mistake.

Now I’m not saying an indie publisher/writer should publish a book full of grammar and/or typographical errors. Being an indie publisher means you want to work extra hard to make everything about your published work as perfect as possible because you are going head to head with the big guys.

What I’m saying is that readers shouldn’t establish a different standard for the indie publisher than the one they use for a traditional publisher. And if you’re walking the indie path of publishing, don’t beat yourself up if a few errors get past all the people you hoped would help you catch them.

And always, always keep in mind that autocorrect will happily change “Ellis” to “Alice” without any input from you at all.