Monday, 4 November 2013

A Typo-Free Manuscript? They Don't Exist!

As authors, we're always being told our manuscripts must be as close to perfection as humanly possible - no typos, bloopers or malfunctioning commas - as readers have high expectations. Understandable. We buy a product, we expect it to be perfect. Which would be great, if we lived in a perfect world. But we don't.
Gone are the days when publishers employed a string of line and copy editors who meticulously perused authors manuscripts before their books were launched. Yet, the occasional mistake still slipped through. Today, with the shrinkage of many publishing houses and the so-called "downsizing" of staff, less are being asked to do more. In the last few years I've seen more and more typos, bloopers and printing errors in traditionally published books than ever before.

Typos in Traditionally Published Books
Recently I picked up a book by one of my favourite authors, (a New York Times best seller) and found the male protagonist's name had changed halfway through the book! Thinking I had accidentally skipped a page - as I hadn't come across this character before - I went back and reread it. Nope, no mistake on my part. Somehow, the editor had missed this whopper of a blooper - the author had changed the name of the male lead and it hadn't been picked up! It didn't stop me reading though, as it was too damn good. I just laughed and carried on enjoying the rest of the story. And any other typo I noticed? Ignored it.

We're Flawed Human beings
It proved to me there's no such thing as the perfectly written book. It's not possible. We're human beings and we make mistakes, and the reader who expects perfection won't find it. Which is why I shake my head at readers who return books because they find the occasional typo in it. Perhaps they belong to that category of mythical creature known as the perfect human being! Yes, mythical indeed.

Technical Problems in Ebooks
These will occur when a manuscript is converted into an ebook. I love my kindle, but it took me a while to become used to the word drops - when the formatting drops a word from a previous line onto the next one, because it doesn't fit.

You can see it here on the fourth line of my ebook, on my kindle. It leaves an odd-looking gap.
My manuscript was formatted by Createspace, the publishing arm of Amazon. Now if the professionals get it wrong, heaven help any self-publisher who strives to do it all on their own! I wouldn't even try.
Friends who've purchased my book say issues like this don't in the least worry them. They're more interested in a gripping story and the quality of the writing. If that's what an author can deliver, then the book's a success.

And for those who struggle to see past these tiny technicalities, there's always the old-fashioned way - buy the paperback!

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As for my book, BLOODGIFTED, it's available on Amazon and Smashwords (as you can see above) as well as iTunes/iBooks, Kobo, Sony and Nook. 
Till the end of this week the price has been REDUCED to $3.99. 
I'm currently working on Book 2 in the series - BLOODPLEDGE - which will be out early in 2014. 
Look out for it.

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