You no longer have to live with your mistakes.
December 14, 2015
THERE WAS A TIME in my life when I refused to read any book I had written.
I kept the book on the shelf.
I kept the cover closed.
I dreaded what I would find inside.
I was working with major publishers.
The books were professionally edited.
The books were professionally proofread.
But, in the dark, fearful corner of my heart, I knew I would find a typo or two inside, and I would go to my grave with that stain on my soul.
I wasn’t paranoid.
I knew typos existed, and they were out to get me.
Typos are the gremlins that taunt and torment every writer.
They wait until we’re fast asleep, and then they pop up in the manuscript.
I can almost hear them laughing in the early morning darkness.
The first book I ever wrote was The Unending Season about Callaway Gardens, one of the great attractions of the South.
I couldn’t wait to see the book.
I couldn’t wait to read it.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a genuine author.
And now I was one.
I read it, and I was shocked.
I was stunned.
I was travel editor for Southern Living at the time, and the full color, coffee table quality book was published by Oxmoor House, the magazine’s book division.
I had edited it.
Ten other editors had gone over the manuscript line for line, word for word.
It should have been perfect.
The Unending Season had two misspelled words.
One was the name of the president of Callaway Gardens.
And the other was Callaway itself.
On one page, it was printed as Calloway.
We had all read the word so much we no longer paid attention to it.
The gremlin whipped us all.
Both typos were like knife wounds to the heart.
I knew that someday my obituary would begin: Caleb Pirtle III, who misspelled Callaway in his book about Callaway Gardens, died early today. Typos were ruled as the cause of death.
For so many decades of my life, writers were prisoners of the published word tucked inside those book covers.
Make a mistake.
Live with it.
Thank God, we no longer have to be shackled by our errors in print.
The digital revolution has freed us.
Make a mistake?
One of the biggest complaints I read about indie authors and indie books is the number of typos and errors found in those published works.
The mistakes don’t have to remain that way.
They don’t have to haunt you forever.
For example, my wife wrote and published her first book last year, a wonderful little Cozy mystery called The Mah Jongg Murders.
One of her closest friends read it.
She found three typos.
Linda was appalled.
She had been an English teacher.
Typos were the unpardonable sin.
She taught at a Catholic school.
Catholics didn’t even allow confessions for typos.
She jerked the book off Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
She immediately corrected the typos.
She saw a couple of other things she didn’t like.
And now Linda is totally re-writing the book.
She doesn’t have to go through life as the victim of an editor’s mistakes as I once did.
She can re-publish a book she’s proud of, one devoid of misspelled words.
That’s also the freedom all authors have.
If you or someone else finds a mistake in your book, don’t hesitate. It takes less than a minute to yank the eBook down from the eRetailers.
You can do something about it.
You can fix it.
And, believe me, every error should be fixed even if you have to yank that damned old eBook down more than once.
I sleep better because I did.
Within twenty-four hours, the eBook can be back in circulation again.
Only this time, no one can criticize you because your work is poorly edited.
For writers, it’s all about second chances to be accurate.
Don’t miss out.
It’s an opportunity I thought would never come.
One of my novels I like best is Deadline News. If you find a typo in it, please let me know, and I will fix it.