Typos and grace under pressure

by eliwinfield in Uncategorized

Dear Reader,

I knew that publishing would in some way move me from writer to author but I think I underestimated the impact becoming a ‘published author’ would have on my life. Something undefinable changes when you publish.  In one way this is good–becoming an author creates new challenges.  When you let those words out into the world, they begin to take on a life of their own. But, in another way publishing is painful and frustrating and draws you out of yourself.  My current challenge is learning how to deal gracefully with the dreaded typo.

Gracefully?  Ha!  My family would laugh at the very word.  When I am learning a new skill, I am not graceful.  A trusted friend found typos in North Watch Keep, and I had a (mostly) private temper tantrum.  I had done my level best to make that story perfect and it wasn’t.  After I got upset, I struggled with a wave of overwhelming self-doubt.  Did I have a gift worth sharing?  Was I really an author?  What right did I have to call myself an author if there were mistakes in my work?   I know.  I know.  More than a little foolish, right?

The members of the Tower, my fabulous HPKCHC dorm mates, reassured me that mistakes happen all the time, and they happen to big authors with huge editorial teams.  I listened to Michael Hyatt explains in  Get Published that typos are part of the process.  You should expect them.  When someone finds them, you deal with them and move on with grace and professionalism.  When Terry O’Dell started talking about editing in her blog , I started to take a deep breath.   It reassured me to I discovered a writer I admired struggles with the same things I do in the first draft–spelling, name drift, manuscript inconsistencies and wan­der­ing Stet­sons.   No one else talks about name drift when they talk about writing.  Everyone talks about typos.

Mistakes happen.  Logic errors happen.  Typos happen.  Even with all the work that goes into a manuscript to make it perfect and the number of people who looked at it before it goes to print, typos and errors hide in plain sight.  Then, when you least expect it, they jump out and grab you by the throat in public.  Writers and editors work hard to keep them from getting published, but it is usually easier for the reader to find them than for the authorship team to see them.   I don’t know why finding errors wasn’t something I expected after publication.  I expect it at work.  When my students find errors in my writing, I usually tell them there is one of me and fifty of them proofreading and they are good at proofreading.  My readers are no different.  They are great proofreaders.

I have not yet gotten to graceful so I shall strive to keep my personal challenges hidden in my private pillow fort. I have been stuck in ‘writer’ mode for a long time.  I was always afraid I was not perfect enough, that others will look down on me because of mistakes in my writing.  The fear didn’t go away because I let a book out into the world.   However, I am not going to hide my head in the sand and ignore the errors.  The joy of publishing an eBook is that you don’t have to sell a print run of 6000 books before you fix the errors.  I have a team of people who are helping, but like the authors I admire, I take full responsibility for the errors. That means, dear reader, if you find an error in one of my books, please tell me and I will do my best to deal with it.

And, if you liked the story, please tell others.  You can leave a review on Amazon, join my author’s Facebook page, or leave a note on my blog.

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