Those of you who know me (or as well as anyone can be “known” in an online, social media world) know that a huge pet peeve of mine is making an error. Whether it’s a typo, or a spelling error, or a missing dialogue tag, or misplaced apostrophe, or even a factual mistake or inconsistency, I can’t stand it. If someone pinned me down and asked what I thought my strength was as a writer, I’d say the mechanics of writing. Seeing an error in a book I’m reading literally and figuratively pulls me out of the story.
Why do I bring this up now? Because in the span of two hours last night, I received a message from a reader, followed by an email from Amazon, pointing out separate errors in Gabriel’s Redemption.
CRAP! The book that’s been out there the longest (albeit the one that was written first, before I had ‘grown’ I suppose), suddenly gets caught with errors. And that irks the hell out of me.
The reader pointed out an issue in a scene where someone who was knocked unconscious just seconds ago watched, with tears in his eyes, someone else being dragged from the room. I immediately pull up my Scrivener file, scroll down to that chapter, and spit out my evening coffee. Son. Of. A. Biscuit. So I go through my original files to see how the hell this happened, and there it is. There is one line that should have been struck from the final edit, but got left in, changing the entire scene to one with a major hole. Completely my fault, so I spit more coffee (by this time my wife is glaring at me and handing me paper towels with the look “you will be cleaning this up.”)
Now I’m cleaning up coffee and my novel at the same time, and getting more and more angry at myself. How could I have let this slide? Tomorrow (Feb 2nd) is the one-year anniversary of publishing Gabriel’s Redemption, so it’s been out in the wild a year, being purchased by well over seven actual, honest-to-goodness readers, with a logic hole I could drive a truck through.
Finally get the coffee cleaned up, and wham. An email from Amazon:
During a quality assurance review of your title, we have found the following issue(s):
Typos have been found in your book.
*loc; 742; “It reminder Gabriel of” should be ‘It reminded Gabriel of”.
Please look for the same kind of errors throughout and make the necessary corrections to the title before republishing it.
Pow, another shot to the chin! More coffee spit, and now I’m ready to chew my left arm off to punish myself.
I pride myself on having clean work, so these types of things really kill me…probably even more than a poor review. An author, self-published or not, should always be putting out the most professional work possible, and I missed stuff. Terribly disappointing.
I know there’s a prevailing thought out there that a few typos and errors are acceptable for self-published authors, and at $2.99 or $.99 or whatever, are to be expected. But that’s just not my mindset. To me, anything that could be corrected, should be corrected, and before someone spends money on the product.
OK, rant over. Where do you fall on the acceptable error argument?
UPDATE: Someone emailed me asking if I left out a word when I said “purchased by well over seven actual, honest-to-goodness readers”, like maybe I meant seven hundred, or seven thousand, or seven million (right…), which would have been funny and ironic in this post. But no, didn’t leave anything out…I don’t release sales numbers so that’s my way of being as vague as humanly possible…