Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's all on me - or you

A friend recently finished reading Kicks for a Sinner and informed me that among its 92,000 words were eight errors.  She had marked all the pages so I could make corrections.  I had to tell her in e-publishing, we rarely get second chances to improve.  Once a book is out there, that's it.  Other than mildly depressing me, her efforts had done no good.  While I'd like to say eight errors is a very small percentage, I cannot.  Two maybe would have been acceptable.  I see that many in most books I read.  I combed through that book four times, my editor read it twice, and my publisher once before the book went out into the world, and still eight errors.  The eye tends to skim, especially when tired.  The brain most willingly fills in a dropped article or corrects transposed words and letters.  But when it comes right down to it, the final approval of the galley lies with the author and I own those errors.  They will make me more careful when I get the final versions of Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball and Mardi Gras Madness in the next month.

E-publishing and small presses offer an infinite number of ways for an author to screw up.  No one writes our back cover blurbs for us.  We do.  Same for our biographies.  If they sound cheesy or uninteresting, we have only ourselves to blame.  We don't have research assistants or fact checkers.  I honor my editor for suggesting that "child molester" was too modern a word for the 1920's setting of Queen.  She was right.  Fortunately, "perverts" have been around since 1300 and certainly before that, but few were literate enough to write it down.  However, I do want to assure you Queen is not about perverts, though it might sell better if it were (he flogged her mercilessly with those Mardi Gras beads!).  Anyhow, the word is used in a joking manner in my book.  So aspiring authors, be aware that there is so much more to publishing a book than simply writing it.