28 Errors

How I felt after discovering the errors.

Peeved. Vexed. Disgruntled. Upset. Miffed. Angry. Embarrassed. Piqued. Irked. Irritated. Riled.

That’s me.

I finished my review of the first printing of the novel. I found lots of errors. Others found more. 28 in total. That seems like a lot. I did a little research and found that almost all books have typos – even those published by the major houses and even books, like the Bible, that have been around a long time. The number of errors that various people considered acceptable varied from zero (an admirable goal) to three per page. For the 352-page Spark, that would be a mind-blowing 1056 errors. I’d have a hard time reading a book with that many errors. Luckily, not all errors have the same impact.

Typos: Easily forgiven and the type of error most readers don’t catch – unless they are glaring in a way that makes the reader stop reading to understand what the writer really meant. Most of the 28 fell into this category. Bizarrely, the copy editor and I were each responsible for about half of the typos. Yes, errors are introduced by the very people charged with catching and correcting those errors.

Homophones: Hour vs. our; there vs. their vs. they’re; past vs. passed; meet vs. meat. These grate on our sense of literary justice. Grammarians start sharpening their knives, gathering firewood, or building gallows because of these. I didn’t find any of these.

Misattributed dialogue: I had several lines of unattributed dialogue that I figured was clear enough that I could avoid all the “…said Feral” minor annoyances. It wasn’t clear, so the editor fixed it by attributing a single line to the wrong character. 

Technical errors: “Hey, Chad, this writer rounded pi to 3.141592 when it should have been 3.141593. Moron!” Again, most readers aren’t going to notice these. My publisher’s style guide dictates fractions be spelled out, i.e., one-half rather than ½. That would have been okay except that the paragraph in question was a discussion of fractions in base-two. So, the copy editor replaced 1/10 (that’s one-half in binary) with “one-tenth.” Ouch. 

Wrong word: Hindi is a language. A Hindu is someone who practices Hinduism. I blew it and I have Arnav Gupta to thank for the correction. This one shames me. 

Lesson learned: Re-check the final document before sending it out to print. My publisher agrees and is changing their process. 

The corrected version is now available on Amazon. Go buy it. Then read it and leave a review.

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