Previously, I suggested with tongue in cheek, using the abbreviation ‘E. & O. E.’ as a disclaimer against any errors made in your self-published novel, in order to protect yourself from buyers’ bad reviews, but the truth is that nobody is perfect, and making errors is part of being human.
A couple of years ago, I was approached by a previously published author who wanted her paperback novel self-published for the Kindle platform. She did not have an electronic version of the typescript, so I painstakingly scanned – using my trusty ‘Deskjet’ printer and OCR software – every paper page of the novel, and proofreading it as I went to ensure it was as error-free as possible before publication.
Within the 426-page novel, I flagged up forty errors: an assortment of incorrect spellings, punctuation mistakes, textual inconsistencies, and an incorrect quotation. This book had been copy-edited, proofread and printed via a well-known publishing company who are still in business. When I have mentioned, to friends and colleagues, the mistakes I have spotted in books printed by mainstream publishers, they have invariably tell me that they are always spotting them. It seems to be a fact of life.
Clearly, it is important to get things right when planning to self-publish, but it’s probably not enough to get things as right as possible. A publication has to be as perfect as it can be, particularly so with non-fiction. I’m not just talking about spelling, punctuation, and grammar, either, but getting the facts right, being consistent, and making sure the typography is correct. These things are equally important.
However, as rigorous as we might think we are, we all make mistakes: the writer, the copy-editor, the typographer, the proofreader…we all do it – and that includes me!
The fortunate thing about self-publishing is that it is simple enough to update and re-publish a novel; required when the customer has bought the book and published an error in their review…as I once discovered, much to my embarrassment:
“There was no doubting whose father Edith was.”
Oops! Not my mistake, but one I did not spot the first time round. It’s correct now.
So, if you do find an error among these blog entries, remember ‘nobody’s perfect’, although I do try my best to be. Some days are just better than others.
E & O E