Typos and mistakes

I have been irritated in several of my reading choices lately. These are good books, written by better authors than me. And yet, they are full of mistakes that drive me crazy.

Not typos. I’ll forgive anyone a typo or five. Too many gets annoying, but in a work of many thousands of words I don’t think it’s all that surprising that a slip of the fingers happens and, even with good proofreading, can slip through. No, I’m talking about actual mistakes.

Here’s the difference (in my mind): a typo is an error of the fingers, a mistake is an error of the brain.

Here’s an example: in something I wrote for church last week, I put ‘starts’ when I meant ‘stars’. I do not actually think that ‘stars’ is spelled ‘starts’. But my fingers were going fast and that’s what they typed. The next time the word came up, I typed it correctly.

Here’s another example: in one of the books I read recently, the heroine repeatedly wears ‘sheathe’ dresses. Because this happened so frequently, I am pretty convinced the author thinks that is correct. Her fingers typed what her brain intended. Or, in a different book, some women are showing their ‘mid-drifts’. That’s not a typo for ‘midriffs’, it’s a mistake.

Too many mistakes, and I can’t help it, I will start to think your book is amateurish. I will wonder why you did not hire a decent proofreader. I will start to resent having paid money for it.

I see a fair number of typos in both trad and self-published books these days. In my experience, the majority of mistakes are in self-published books. I wish that weren’t the case, especially in the really good ones, but it is. I wish those authors would make their products as professionally finished as their writing deserves.

And yes, I know I’m opening myself to nitpicking criticism of my own books. I’m not claiming they are perfect. I wish they were. I’m grateful to have editors and copyeditors and proofreaders who help to get them close. But if you spot typos or mistakes, please let me know.

Coming soon!

I finished the content edits on Lying for the Camera last night and it’s now safely in the hands of the copyeditor and proofreader. These are two separate processes but I have hired the same person to do both. Hopefully that will work okay. She anticipates getting it back to me in about 10 days. During that time, I’ll make sure I’ve got everything else in order – the final version of the cover, the back matter, the table of contents. It’s a while since I formatted my own ebooks so I want to remind myself how all of that works. But all being well, it should be going on sale in the last week of September.

And, to celebrate, I am re-launching ALL my self-published books. They will all be getting new covers – I want to have a more consistent look across all the books. I’m also going to do some minor edits of things that people have pointed out. The ginger kitten from Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse is going to have to decide once and for all whether it is male or female, for example. And my American characters in Twelve Days will no longer say ‘bloke’ or ‘biro’. Another thing which I’m going to look into is making a print version available. I can’t afford to do a traditional print run and print-on-demand books tend to be expensive. So what I’m wondering about is an anthology: Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse, The Tycoon’s Convenient Wife, and Lying for the Camera all in one volume. If that comes in at a reasonable price, then I’ll do it. I need to do a print version of Lying for the Camera for some of my Kickstarter backers, but that will be a limited edition and not for general sale.

So these are exciting times. I’ve been thinking about the year ahead and making plans. I’ve got a short story that I’ll finish writing this month and send for editing in October, to publish in early November. My next title from Entangles is due out in December. I’m aiming to write two more books and a couple more short stories by next summer, but I’m still thinking about which to self-publish, which to submit to Entangled, and whether to try again with Mills and Boon. I’ve got a linked series of three books in mind which I think might suit Entangled. And another standalone which is definitely for self-publishing. But there are other ideas percolating that I’d like to try for M&B. Watch this space!