The bain of an author’s journey – fixing errors! Why? Because, as you correct spelling, style and grammatical errors, revisit hanging verbs, and carefully go through sentence starters, connectors and length, you are also likely to add more errors! That’s right – fixing errors can lead to creating new ones. What is the solution? I don’t really know except to put the book down for a few days and then go through it again.
Any author will tell you that errors in their final work are the scourge of editing. But, embrace them! Why? Simply because they make your work more valuable! “Really?” you, may ask. “How?” An example from 3 WISE MEN will illustrate this.
When I received the final formatted version and launched it (version 1), I had the chance to sit and review the Kindle copy in just a few sittings. It may have been the fresh eyes, or the extra coffee, or the fact that I was on holiday, but, to me, there were too many “flaws” to be entirely happy with it; and so I did a few minor, but significant changes – changes that improved the flow and avoided repetitious phrases, etc. These changes should have been picked up during the professional editing phase. However, with the new product in front of me, I was now much more critical of the text, the characters, and the more subtle elements of style. These draft copies are the rarest and most valuable ones and they expose the weakness of self-publishing for all to see. But, they also serve as examples of the hidden power of self-publishing – the ability of an author to have a far better product in front of readers within a day or two! The alterations may have not seemed necessary but, to me, they certainly were. After a short period of rigorous review the book – version 2 – was longer by a few more pages too!
“Are you happy with it now?” asked my wife. “Yes, it is good to go!” I announced proudly as I ordered 10 “Author copies.” A few more Kindle ones were also purchased by others during our low key marketing campaign to family and friends. Then, behold, a keen reader spotted a very minor – and I mean minor – mistake. But, it was unacceptable and it was on page one! It took less than a few hours to have the correction and reformatting done. A day later, it was online ready to purchase. This (version 3 or 4) will be used at the book launch.
So, will there be any further changes? Perhaps, but I would expect them to be too subtle to really matter. For instance, the title on the front cover might move down a few millimetres, and I might alter a small amount of inside text, and perhaps add a short author bio. But don’t expect anything as major as the alterations from version 1 to version 2. The former are now – like really early collectables – super rare versions without any value. But, from a writing viewpoint, they are priceless examples of a major stepping stone in the journey of a flawed author!