Why your book has typos

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Several years ago, having a typo in your book really sucked. Why? Well, back then, you or your publisher usually printed your books in bulk. So, you had to live with the typo, give the books away to charity, or trash them. All expensive and unfortunate choices.

Back in 2000, I took an Advanced Technical Writing/Editing Course in CSU, Sacramento, and my professor said her book about Technical Writing and Editing had a grammatical typo. She cringed as she mentioned this, as her choices were minimal and it reflected poorly on her, being a technical writing/editing professor and all!

Today, with POD (print on demand) you have more choices.  You can catch the typo at the proof stage, or perhaps after you or a family member purchases the book at Amazon.com. In this case, you can do the following:

1)You must pull the book down and out of distribution.

2) Make the appropriate changes/edits.

3) Upload the corrected and/or uncorrupted version back to your POD provider.

4) Up to four weeks later, the book will be distributed to all the appropriate channels (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) again.

At the end of the day, the process will cost you about $200 bucks and a headache. Semi-sucks, but not the end of the world.

Same situation with an eBook or Kindle. You will have to:

1) Pull the .mobi or .pub file down

2) Make the correction to the original file

3) Convert the original file to .mobi and .ePub

4) Upload for distribution.

The cost of this process is minimal.

Blogs are great, because misspellings and incorrect information can be corrected immediately. Blogs are more of a collaborative, open source model, as well. Readers may correct you and give you suggestions in the comment area. In this case, you would want to acknowledge the mistake, and add a note instead of correcting the original text, or add your note to the comment stream. A blink of a eye. No harm, no fowl. And it costs you nothing.

Yet, many business owners want to write a book, in addition to their blog, so they can secure media, speaking gigs, and establish even more credibility.

So, if you are worried about the permanence of a physical book or eBook, don’t despair. Here are some reasons our books have typos and ways to avoid them:

  1. Moving too fast. Slow down. Have several people proof your book – friends, family members, and colleagues will be sure to lend a helping hand. Always make sure you order a proof before putting the book into distribution. Proofs are provided by your POD provider, and protects them against any liability as well. (POD providers require that the author or publisher approve the proof before printing or distributing.)
  2. Font substation when emailing your PDF version of your manuscript from a PC to a MAC, or vice versa. This happened to me. Sometimes our computers add little gremlins and weird characters when PDFs are sent from a PC to Mac, vice versa. Again, ordering a proof will catch this.
  3. Not hiring an editor. Everyone should have a professional editor review their book.
  4. Not hiring a proof reader for final review. Even after the book is edited, it’s always a good idea to have a proof reader do a review.
  5. Approving the proof too fast. After your order a proof, ensure you review the proof closely, and have someone else review it as well.
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