I use an editing service for most of my writing projects, but often after the “final” edits are completed, I “tweak” the results, often more than once. Well, perhaps ten or twenty times. At some point you just have to “let go” and give the work you have labored on to the public, and realize as soon as you release it you will find fifteen things you would like to change – all in chapter one.
The danger here though is in introducing new errors to the manuscript. As an indie writer who reads my manuscripts likely hundreds of times during the entire creative process, simple spelling errors are prone to overlooking. I try to reduce that possibility by first reviewing the “final” manuscript in Microsoft Word, then the formatted PDF (on my PC and Kindle and a copy printed at home), then the MOBI file on my Kindle. All of these steps to ensure that when I send to Ingram Spark, it is an error-free product.
Ingram Spark recently had a promo for indie writers – for the period of a month, Ingram waived all setup fees. I’m all about saving $49, so I rushed through my final proofing and submitted on the last day all error-free files – the pdf of the full cover and manuscript (for printing) and the properly formatted EPUB file (for eBook readers). I was quite pleased with myself for meeting this self-imposed deadline.
Still, there is one more check I like to perform before the book goes on sale – ordering one printed copy for myself. Actually, this time I ordered two – I was so confident the resultant product would be perfect that the second copy was for a gift for my mother. She provided material I thought I had lost for the project, From the Loft, a compilation of articles I had written for a magazine years earlier. She would get the second printed copy for Christmas.
I excitedly opened the package, confident of the contents. Immediately I noticed an error, if only a sight one – both front and back covers were slightly off-center. Sizing these for printing is somewhat of an art. Still, the error was not obvious, and I figured most would not see an issue.
Then I opened the book to the last page of the preface. I had changed the last line at the last hour before submission to be “Read, chuckle, enjoy!” But somehow between my typing, proofing and submitting, the “u” in “chuckle became an “i.”
“Read, chickle, enjoy?” Nope. That was in your face (even if few read the preface in books anyway).
Of course, that one error led to a review of the whole book, to which I discovered a few more minor errors and another major one – “Chapter Twenty-Sox.” The review also led to about two dozen minor changes – see the end of paragraph one above. An artist is never satisfied with their work.
The lesson learned? If you rush, be prepared to pay. In the next few days, after I finish my final, final, final reviews of Word, PDF, and Kindle files, I will submit the updated files to Ingram Spark and pay the $49 I had tried to avoid. But the end product is better, and I come away with another tidbit of experience to pass on. And that is why I entered the indie writer world over three years ago – to learn, experience, and share.
And my mother will still get the “collector’s edition” – errors and all.