So here I am, nearly ready to publish my next novel, DEAD SIGHT, just waiting until some beta readers finish up, I do a few more edits and then rush off to hit “publish” on my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing page.
And then it happens.
I am told there are errors in my book. No — not the one that hasn’t been published yet.
DEAD SLEEP — the book on Kindle since July 1, 2013 and in print since October. With numerous proofreaders, a few beta-readers, dozens of ACTUAL readers, I was handed a list by two different people this week of a few errors in the book.
Just kidding. Sorta.
I mean, who doesn’t want a perfect book? I worked really hard to make sure everything was just write on that book. Even when I had it formatted for print in October, I found a dozen or so errors desperately in need of my attention, and they were fixed. Or so I thought.
None of the errors were atrocious and some were ones that most people would miss, but regardless, they were still errors. Like “the South Dakota,” for example or “class country music,” instead of classic. Fairly minor, but still problems.
The book has been fixed in Kindle and will soon be updated for future print editions, but that brings me to the issue of perfection. Of course, I, as a writer, strive for perfection. I can’t tell you the actual number of people who have read through that book without seeing or mentioning those errors until now. As an author, it isn’t something you want to hear, but it’s necessary to learn and grow.
I read a book in September the first weekend it was out. I’m not going to say what book, but the author was also independent and is considerably more successful than I am. As I was reading, I found two or three errors. I was shocked. Surely someone with the writing ability such as he does not make errors and certainly someone who has sold as many books as him can get all the errors fixed before publishing? I was taken aback. I tried to forget his success (although he might call his success small, compared to mine, he is enormously successful) and his sales and thought of him as another person. A fallible person.
I sent him an e-mail and addressed the errors, telling him, “if it was me, I would want to know.”
The author was grateful and agreed with me.
Next thing I know, I published my next short story a few weeks later, ANT APOCALYPSE. Three days later, this author contacts me with a few mistakes he found and suggestions for improving the story. Obviously, I wood have liked to have fixed all the issues before I published? Sure…but here’s the thing. Whether the book has been out three days or almost eight months, there is bound to be a few errors in it. Thankfully eye found them quickly, revised my manuscript and re-published that night before I’d even sold a dozen copies.
Mistakes are bound to be in nearly anything, and it doesn’t matter if it is self-published, like me or my friend, or traditional published. In the fall, I read a book being pushed by some in the media as “the next Harry Potter” series. It was interesting and I did review it on Amazon. (I don’t know about the whole “next Harry Potter” thing, but okay…) Anyway, I was probably about 75% of the way through it (sidebar — I now judge many books on how far percentage-wise I am through it) when I found a glaring misspelling. Not just a mistake. No — an honest-to-God misspelling that any spell check program would have noticed and put a red squiggly line underneath.
We’re all prone to mistakes. It happens.
But it is how we react to and fix those problems that defines us.
I’m no anticipating any, but if you dew find an error, hit me up on Twitter @wswardstrom or my e-mail. I’d love to hear from you even if you don’t find any errors, and I’d especially love a review on Amazon or your own blog.