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.