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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Errors in Novels

Whether it's an independently published book or if there is a team of editors and proof readers hired by a publishing company, typos and grammatical errors happen. I see this as another plus for independently published novels, as it's so simple to upload another version of the novel if you are alerted there's an error. Here's what Earlene Fowler has to say on her FAQs web page about the publishing industry. 

Q: Speaking of errors, why are there so many spelling, grammatical, time/place errors in your books? It drives me crazy!

A:  If it drives you crazy, can you even imagine what it does to me? I and all the editors, copy editors, proofreaders, etc. do the best we can in catching errors, but we are all just human. Sometimes the errors are mine and they just aren't caught by the many people who read my manuscripts. Sometimes the errors happen after I send the final manuscript in. It's not that people don't care about their work. Almost every person I've worked with in publishing cares deeply about putting out a good, accurate book. But with the merging of so many publishers, the laying off of so many employees, most people who are still working in publishing are horribly overworked. Like any business where the employees have more work than they can handle and are on a deadline, errors happen. Can they be fixed? Usually. If I am told about the errors between the printing of the hardback edition and paperback edition, I can ask that they correct the errors. After the paperback is out it is almost impossible to get anything changed as it costs my publisher too much time and money to do that. So, if there's an error in one of my paperbacks, it really does no good to tell me as there isn't anything I can do about it (for example my HUGE error in Kansas Troubles where I call the Kansas City Chiefs a baseball team! Hey, I blame that one on my husband, Allen, who is from Kansas and did read the manuscript. It slipped by him completely! I personally know nothing about any kind of ball team). I realize that errors are frustrating to many readers out there (especially English teachers), but it is something that is beyond my control. Trust me, no one hates seeing an error in my books more than I do. I feel compelled to say one more thing about this. There have been some readers who actually scold me for these errors and tell me they will never read one of my books again because of them. That saddens me greatly and I hope that this explanation helps them see that to stop reading an author you enjoy over some mechanical thing the author has no control over is heartbreaking. (P.S. I now know the baseball team's name is the Kansas City Royals!) 

What are your thoughts?


Joanne said...

I do find it a bit surprising to read a published book from a huge author, like Stephen King, and there's an error. After all the checks and balances, indeed humans ultimately push that final button. As an independent author, I have proofed and proofed and proofed my work and then there's something wrong on that printed page. We are lucky that it can be fixed. Think of those poor monks back in the day using a caligraphy pen. Ooops.

K9friend said...

Much as we may wish for a perfect world (or book), I'm afraid it may not be possible. All we can do is the best we can.

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