Friday, November 05, 2010

Musings on errors

The following is a piece by Bo Parker from a newsgroup post which I like
and use with permission.

Since typos have become one of the topics de jour, even
though such strikes me as somewhat off the track, I'm tossing in my
two cents of comment, which is probably what's it's worth in today's
world. When I first ventured out into the "publishing world" with my
first novel some two and a half years ago, I did so with the goal
suggested by friends--that the book be used as a fund raiser for
local charities and civic groups. I quickly learned that once the
"publishing pie" is sliced, there are very few monetary crumbs that
trickle back to the source for the author or anyone else. Along the
way, I discovered the actual cost of printing the book, which led me
to take a different route, knowing full well the brush with with
which I would be tarred as an author who had a book "published" by a
method not considered "traditional."

Along the way, I did know, as some have said, "at least enough to
have the manuscript professionally edited." That I did. Four times,
by four different "professional" editors. Included in this quartet
was one who had edited published books, another who was recommended
by a published author, and one who had been "certified" after taking
"an extensive test, based on the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA
Handbook, The Gregg Reference Manual, and Merriam-Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary, 11th, edition." Guess what? My published
book has mistakes in it. Some of them are an embarrassment to me. And
they have become a reminder of a comment made to me by a published
author. "Mistakes are why you want to go with a traditional house.
Then they can be blamed on its editors, not the author."

Based on the the majority of opinions expressed so far that
mistakes in published books are a given for a multitude of reasons,
and in a void of suggestions as to how they can be eliminated, I am
left at a loss to understand the rational behind the comment that
mistakes can make a person think less of the author. However, I have
learned a lesson. The first book as a fundraiser has exceeded my
expectations, and publication of the second in the series will follow
the same path, with one addition. On the appropriate page, below
"published by...." will be the statement, "Edited by...." That leaves
me with only one question. Will there be an editor who is willing to
have his or her name published as part of the book?

Bronson L. Parker

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