So yesterday, my formatters sent me all my electronic files for SAVAGED DEVOTION, and I checked each one and approved them. My formatter uploaded the Apple file to publish in a few days (I can’t as I don’t have a Mac), and the remaining files are in my book folder waiting for me to upload to the other retailers. So far so good.
Then today, I began checking the draft of the print version and right there on the copyright pages was a Big Ugly Obvious Mistake. It had the wrong year. This is entirely my fault. I sent the wrong information and I missed the error in every file I checked until the very last one. But hey, at least I caught it…eventually.
I hate making mistakes, and worse, I hate causing others extra work to fix it. So it’s not a great feeling, but it’s rarely fatal. It’s just a mistake. In fact, I can guarantee that despite two different editors who worked on this book, some errors will get through in the published versions. Typos and other things slip through all our best efforts.
I want a perfect book, but that’s an impossible standard. And it’s exactly the kind of thinking that freezes me creatively. The truth is readers don’t usually love books for their error free perfection, but they adore them for their characters and story. Readers are wonderfully forgiving of authors being fallible if they write a compelling story.
Mistakes are Rarely Fatal.
What I try to do when I make a mistake is this:
- First, own the mistake. All mistakes in the books are mine. All of them.
- When it causes my team extra work, I try to always claim the mistake, ask them to fix it and to charge me. My editors, formatter and cover artists are valuable professionals and work as hard as I do. And they deserve to make a living as much as I do.
- Let it go. It’s okay to be fallible.
- Believe in myself and my ability to create imperfectly wonderful stories
So that’s my thought for the day. Happy Wednesday!