If you heard a long and loud primal scream last Tuesday at about 5 PM, it was me opening to the first chapter of the hard copy Proof for my Create Space book. Two errors on the first page. No, not huge, not life-threatening, but there they were. Capital letters on the word math. Twice! Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!
I do know my grammar rules. (Mostly.) And I'd given due diligence to choosing my two last minute cold readers, and I had total faith that my manuscript was error-free when I pushed submit. But there they were, two errors on the first page. And I knew better because I'd already changed a few "Math" to "math" in other parts of the manuscript. I thought I had them all corrected.
I proceeded to whine. Is it that bad? Wouldn't they just be overlooked by a "normal" reader? (Apparently they had been.) Aren't a few mistakes OK? Itsy bitsy ones????
Even though I was anxious to get this project done, my gut told me the answer. Nope. No way.
Would I have considered leaving the upper case "M's" if they'd been buried in the manuscript? After all, the reader would be so "rapt" up in the story by then, they wouldn't care if it was a Math book or a math book, right?
Maybe it's like leaving the restroom with your skirt flipped up and tucked into the top of your panty hose. Everything's OK, la la la, until you notice. And once you notice, there is no reversing the embarrassment--even if you somehow managed to get the skirt flipped down before anyone saw it.
Up until I jumped into this self-publishing project, I've made it a policy never to read my books in their entirety once they're out in the world. Probably for the same reason as what I just explained with this proof. Some ugly error would rear up and bite me. Also, by the time I've read a story, book, novel, poem over and over and over through all the early revisions and edits, it's like eating stale bread to read it again.
But after finding those two errors, I decided I'd better eat the stale bread one more time. This was a proof, and changes could still be made. (for a fee) I called Create Space the next morning. (Have I mentioned how wonderfully responsive they have been on the phone?) I asked about costs of changes, and for 1-10 small corrections, it was only $35.00. Whew, I could afford that. After all, it was half the price of an hour session with a psychiatrist.
A deal. And my husband was right when he said,"You'll feel better in the long run."
So the long run means, another seven day wait for Create Space to turn it back around to me. Aggravating, but I'm still alive and breathing.
And, once I wrapped my mind around the fact that stale bread was on the menu, I settled in to read the rest of the book one more time.
Here's what I found: a missed word, "the" and a repeated word: "a". I also found two missing commas before the "and" in a compound sentence. We can argue about this necessity, but I decided if I was fixing things, I put them in. I also found a quotation mark turned the wrong way, and a place in a quotation where I needed the punctuation inside the mark. (It's the British and American thing that sometimes throws me because on some things the Brits make more sense.)
Oh, one more thing. In the printed proof, there was a comma where a period should have been. I checked my manuscript, and I had a period on my copy. It was some kind of a printing fluke, I guess. I made note of it when I sent the manuscript in for the umpteenth time and hoped for the best.
The moral of this blog is, "Eat your stale bread." And if you happen to read the finished copy of this book and find any more errors, don't tell me about them. Or humor me with a kind note that reads something like, "I think there was a little fluke in the printing." I swear by the example above that it can happen.