Sunday, February 19, 2012

Get It Right

Aside from a court summons, few things will jar a reader out of a novel’s vivid and continuous dream so much as typos and misspellings.

The Dogs of Mexico was perfect. Willing beta readers had found gobs of mistakes—odd hitches and glitches of all sorts. Good. Thank you. I uploaded to Create Space and ordered four copies.

When they arrived, I started reading. Gaaaaa! I beelined it to Office Depot and bought a pack of 100 little arrow stickers and used them all on penciled notations, all the while praying no one would order Dogs before I got it revised.

I uploaded this new “perfect” version to CS. When the proofs arrived, I started reading . . . What! My brain went cockeyed; heart attack imminent. In short, I used up those 100 stickers again, and then some.

Okay. Finally, it really is perfect. Just as I’m ready to upload a third time, I get an email from my good friend Tosh McIntosh, author of Pilot Error. He pointed out just over one full page of missteps. I’m struck dumb. Some I had already caught; at least half I hadn’t, including a glaring typo on the back cover: “Pulishers Weekly.” Since I had already formatted the novel for CS and Kindle, I had to do a separate search through each one again.

Now I’m ready to upload to CS and Kindle again . . . but I hesitate . . . what else have I missed?

Dean Wesley Smith’s blog of Feb. 10, states:

But even on the great jobs out of traditional publishers, there are no such things as Perfect Books. Just doesn’t ever happen. And forget tastes in that equation. Every book has mistakes. Lots of them.

Smith has at least a hundred publications under his belt, and while I give credit where credit is due, I suggest that perhaps he can afford be a little more cavalier about this than the rest of us.
Flaubert spent an entire day trying to decide exactly the use of one comma in Madam Bovary. I like his work ethic. Despite my snafus (or perhaps because of them), I say louder than ever: Take your time; get it right.