Insecure Writers’ Support Group: typo-phobia

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“Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!” Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post! Can you believe that? September just flew by. Some lovely friend on Facebook tells me that Christmas is only eighty-two days away. Gah! Add another 18 days to that and you’ve got the due date for my baby. That means I’m going to be a Mum in about one hundred days. Oh my goodness!!!

So anyway, some exciting news for you. Yesterday, I received five proof copies of The Big Smoke,Β so I got to experience the thrill of seeing my writing in a physical book for the first time. Such an awesome experience! (In case you’re wondering, I ordered five copies to spread the America-Australia shipping costs and to have some hard copy ARCs up my sleeve). Mark, my thoughtful husband, video-taped the experience so I could share it with you:

Unfortunately, about sixty seconds after Mark pressed stop on the recorder, he uttered those words no author wants to hear: ‘There’s a typo.’

‘Haha, good on you,’ I said, confident he was joking.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t. As you would expect, I’d checked the final manuscript over and over again, scouring it for any errors. But I hadn’t been quite so fastidious with my final electronic book proof, which includes the ‘About the Author’ and ‘With Thanks’ sections that were never part of the manuscript. And sure enough, on the ‘About the Author’ page (which is the FIRST page of the book), I’d typed ‘thier’ instead of ‘their’ (in a sentence I’d changed at the very last minute). NOOOOO……

Thankfully it was identified at the proof stage, right? Crisis averted! But as a result, I’m now paranoid that the story itself is littered with typos that both I and my copy editor have somehow overlooked. I’ve given two proof copies away to people to read, under strict instruction that they’re to let me know if they spot any errors. So they will share the blame if any suckers slip through! Β πŸ˜‰

I know that, at the end of the day, a couple of typos in a book of more than 130,000 words is not the end of the world, but the perfectionist in me is losing sleep over it. What if it’s not just one or two that have slipped through? I wonder as I lay in bed. What if there are ten in there? As a reader that would drive me crazy, and I’d lose respect for the author. What if I become one of those authors even though I’ve tried so hard?

And then I say to myself, ‘Get over it, Cally. You’ve tried your best, and that’s the beauty of self publishing – if there are errors, you can go back and fix them at any point.’

I’m trying to listen to that logical voice. Honestly, I am. But if you pass me in the street and notice that I’ve developed a facial tic, it’s probably a side effect of my latest ailment: typo-phobia. Ahh, the joys and woes of an insecure writer…

In other news, I’ve nailed down another few planks in my social platform, creating my very own Goodreads author profile and Facebook author page. Like me, friend me, follow me, make me feel loved! πŸ˜€

Your turn

What do you think when you read typos in a published novel? How many will you put down to ‘mistakes happen’ before it affects your view of the author/publisher? If you’re a published author, have you learnt of typos in your own work? If so, what did you do?

P.S. Don’t forget toΒ support other insecure writers!



Filed under Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Self publishing, Writers, Writing

25 responses to “Insecure Writers’ Support Group: typo-phobia

  1. !!! I’m so glad you taped yourself opening your books! It’s got to be the best feeling in the world. And look at your cute tummy!

    Typos! *hiss* I think I’m the most worried about the ebook format. It seems like it’s easier to miss them in there.

  2. I’m fairly sensitive to mistakes, but there needs to be several before I consider mentioning it in a review or something. A handful sprinkled throughout a 350-page book is no big deal. It also makes a difference if they’re obvious typos (thier for their) or possible usage errors (like wonder for wander). I’ll no doubt be as nervous as you when I finally put my work out there for the world to see. But if we do our due diligence and get our work proofed, we’ll likely catch most of these things before our books reach the masses. πŸ˜‰

  3. Congratulations, BTW! What a moment!!! πŸ˜€

  4. I have to admit that I notice a lot more typos in self-published work than in traditionally published pieces. I’m not sure exactly why that is, because I am certain that self-pubbed authors care about their work equally as much as traditionally published writers. Maybe it’s because traditional publishers have the process for hunting them down and fixing them figured out!
    If the story is great, and the characters engaging, a few typos here and there are not going to affect my enjoyment of the it though. πŸ™‚

  5. I find typos all the time in published books. The book looks great. So shiny and new. Congratulations!

  6. You know how I am with the whole editing thing, but, really, typos don’t bother me. Mistakes don’t bother me when they are goofs. What bothers me are consistent errors where it’s obvious the author hasn’t bothered to do any real editing.

  7. I downloaded the Big Smoke today and shall begin reading it tonight! I’m very excited.

  8. Congratulations on holding that book in your hand! I think that trumps a “thier” typo. πŸ™‚ Seriously, focus on the excellent thing you have just accomplished. I can’t imagine how much work self-publication would be (the thought scares me), so I admire you wholeheartedly! Remember, your readers (if they even notice) will forgive you because you’ve told them a great story.

  9. SO EXCITED FOR YOU! (And for me ‘cos I’m going to order it. Do you want me to wait until you fixed the typo? I want to get paperback…)

    As for the typo thing, don’t let yourself stress! I’ve seen typos in bestselling traditionally published books. *Shrug* I agree with Melissa, they only time they’d bother me is if someone is clearly using the wrong word. Even then, if the story is engaging, I wouldn’t care.

  10. Yay for getting your books!

    *sighs* Typos. The bane of a writer’s existence. But typos happen in ALL novels. No matter how many different people look at a book, they still crop up. I do notice them, but they don’t usually distract from the book. Fix what you can and hope for the best. πŸ™‚

  11. Sorry, there is no way to avoid a typo. To many hands on the typesetter, but I solved that by having a contest at my book launch. The person who discovered the most errors — got the prize. I wanted to acknowledge it and head it off at the same time. Admit it, and make it fun — some readers love pointing out errors. You can pick up almost any book and find an error, we’re humans and machines are only as good as the human operator.

  12. Hi Cally, nice to meet you.
    Typos? Every author from J.K.Rowling to Dean Koontz has typos. Not to worry, a few is just what it is. The really important thing is that you did your best and hired professionals with the rest. Good for you.

  13. Pingback: Insecure Writers Support Group « Poeta Officium

  14. Facial tic! You made me laugh πŸ™‚ Don’t worry, Cally – it’s all good! I’m sure The Big Smoke is such an amazing read that if there are any typos no one will notice them in their haste to turn the pages and find out what happens next πŸ™‚ Links. I need links! I will love you everywhere, but give me easy links! πŸ™‚

  15. Cally, hon, relax. It’s all good. Stress is not good for the baby. As to the typo…hey you know s@#t happens, right. I’ve read a few self-pub books and helped the authors find missed typos. The worst one was in a book published by a leading house. Can’t remember the authors name, but the book was called Need. I loved the book until they got to the end and were talking about using railroad ties to imprison the faeries…how the iron in them weakened the faeries. Uh, see the thing is, railroad ties are the big wooden cross pieces the rails mount to. Now railroad SPIKES, that would be made of metal. Little words here and there…no big deal. But something that says you didn’t do your research and neither did your editor? That’s a whole ‘nother story. Take a deep breath, relax. It’s all good.

  16. Arlee Bird

    How cool. What an exciting time. You’ll probably be okay with fixing the typos and like Andrew mentioned I think a lot of people don’t notice them unless the are recurring and blatantly obvious.

  17. Oops. Sorry. I’m a durp. BTW congrats on the book. That is sooooooo exciting.

  18. Eeeee! So exciting! So glad you recorded the moment – gives us a taste of your joy πŸ˜‰ And the book looks SPLENDID!

    Typos … I can stomach two or three. I know mistakes happen. Any more than that and I start getting annoyed! Which is why I know what typo-phobia is like – I don’t want the possibility of other people getting annoyed at my work!

  19. What a fun video! Thank you for sharing the moment with us. πŸ™‚

  20. That was so cute!!! Thanks for sharing it with us! They look great, and so do you mama! πŸ™‚
    You know, I find typeos all the time in bestselling trad pubbed eBooks, so don’t sweat it. As long as their aren’t a ton, it’s expected. The beauty of epubbing is that you can go in and fix. With print, that’s another story, but seriously one or two typeos aren’t gonna ruin the story.
    Congrats on your book bday!!

  21. How fun πŸ™‚

    You look and act as excited as I hope I will, one day, (minus the dress, of course πŸ™‚

    Congrats and well done πŸ™‚


    Oh no, what a shame 😦

    If there is the odd one or two and I’m enjoying the book I don’t tend to notice, but occasionally I’ve come across books where there are loads, and I really get fed up then 😦

    I tend to immediately blame the editor lol


  23. I’ll joke about almost anything. I won’t joke about typos.

  24. Hey Cally! I hope this makes you feel better. I’m reading Maggie Stiefvater’s new book ‘The Raven Boys.’ And I have found a ton of typos. So, so sad. I think we can handle an e before i…or i before e…yeah, u know what I mean.

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