I missed Shakespeare’s birthday celebration because I was in the middle of final, final edits. Those of you who are writers are keenly aware of the abject horror of final, final edits. Basically the publisher says to you: “Here is your last chance to catch embarrassing typos, missing words, misplaced commas, etc. After you sign off, your work will be paraded naked through Amazon and, if you missed anything, you will be the laughing stock of the literary world. But what do we care. You’re not making us any money.”
And you know, don’t you know, don’t you know, that despite the many, many, many times you and your editor and the proofreader go over the manuscript, as night follows day, something will be missed.
Oh yes. That nasty little bugger – the Typo That Got Away – is hiding somewhere in the text, somewhere weary eyes haven’t a chance of finding him.
However, that first reviewer, oh yes, never fear. Your first reviewer will find it. And they’ll dangle it in front of your face as if to say – “what kind of a writer are you anyway?”
Sigh. The second worst thing about final, final edits is – guess what – it’s Circus Barker time because you know if you don’t start out of the gate with 35 five star reviews well, you might as well have never written the book at all. You’ve just frigging wasted all the years of your life you devoted to writing it.
I’m not a huge fan of Kafka but when it’s Circus Barker time I feel like I’m devolving into a giant praying mantis, sliming all my friends and colleagues.
I know what. This time I’ll do it a little differently. I’ll offer a reward for the Typo that Got Away. Dead or Alive. Or better yet, I’ll sell my soul to . . . Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice
27 thoughts on “The Typo That Got Away”
This very well could be even more stressful for your editor and proofreader. I saw a quote today that applies: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi
Good point! And I love that quote. Thanks.
Oh I so empathise with this. My first, ‘Oh look, you’ve missed out an I’, came from my husband. He who got bored with helping me on the final final check, argh! X
Jan, I know it is a stressful time, but try and enjoy the moment as well and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done something that many only dream about (including me).
Wishing you lots and lots of luck with the publication.
I do not envy you, it is the need to beg for reviews from friends that is probably the worst part. James Joyce got over the punctuation issue by just not bothering with any! Best of luck.
Good luck with the new book, Jan! (And the quest to detect any hidden typos!)
Reblogged this on Happily Ever After.
Thanks for the re-blog Billie! Hope all is well in your corner of the world!
Okay, a friend just found on the FRONT COVER of my final, final edit the mis-spelling of Los Angeles! This was after at least a dozen people saw the cover and said they loved everything about it. I shudder to think of the embarrassment if he had not pointed it out.
Oh boy! That happened to a friend of mine. His book actually made it onto Amazon with the adjective EXTRORDINARY!on the cover! Luckily the publisher withdrew it.
I no wat, yo meen JAN, eye poof reed, meye blog over ant over, 2 caught, any air-ors, oars 2 manny kahmas, butt eye m lucky, eye fort-chu-net-ly may-ache fool missed aches, sew mi fine-all, fine-all, ed-its r kwick ann, eeeasie, may bee eye shud rite a boo-cook 2!!!!! Whot du u tink, JAN, shood eye rite A boo-cook, oar knot?
Chin up, fellow victim of the slippery, slimy, ruthlessly cruel typo! We can’t let that scoundrel stop us! Dat’s wot eye dink!
I’m fairly sure I’m riding in the same boat as you, Jan.
We had the initial edits, the initial proofreading and my last go round with the edits, then the ARCs were created. After being given mine, I just put it aside and didn’t even read it, as I was told it would still be going through one last line edit and one last proofreading before being deposited back on my desk. But what astonishes me is that things that weren’t missing the last go round now are. Like a word was taken out, or a new quotation mark was missing. I’m continually scratching my head at the amount of people editing my book and the new typos that have been inserted.
I’ve just handed in my last (final final) edits.
I will not hold my breath for perfection. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for excellence. At least typo-wise.
Boy, do I feel your pain. 🙂
Glad to share the boat with you! Let’s hope that the typo gods have mercy on us!
I’m in final final edits myself and discovered a wrong word in my carefully crafted prose that slipped through numerous readings and four editors. Agh!
I share your Agh! We should form a club!
Isn’t the reward the editor’s salary? Best wishes on that last slog. You’ll find those nasty buggers, every one. Cheers.
I’m sure at least one little bugger will pop up! But I guess that’s just part of the game, sigh…Thanks so much for stopping by!
Best wishes in catching most, if not all, of the little buggers, Jan. Good luck! 🙂
Ha ha ha. Hilarious, Jan! I’m working on my final edits now and this is exactly how I feel. Thanks for the laugh!
You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping by and best of luck finding the Typo that Got Away.
Great post. I’m experiencing a few of these issues as well..
Sorry to hear – just remember the typo that got away cannot be stopped so its best to ignore him and when spotted, shrug your shoulders, it happens to all writers!
YES. Just YES.
On the other side of the coin, I once proofread someone’s dissertation and noticed that the complicated subject matter was spelled perfectly throughout–except on the title page. I e-mailed the author to ask if he did that to test me and got a horrified response in reply. The poor guy was sweating bullets through the computer. (I felt good submitting my bill for that one!)
The Circus Barker time (is this an established expression or did you make it up?) is probably why I don’t write. I’d hate doing it so much, even though I know nothing happens without it. And so I don’t do a thing.
Well, you did it, and since I like to proof-read, itching to find that error now… Is there ice-cream? 😉
Ohh, now I see that this is a rather old post. Any tips on how you dealt with Mr. Circus Barker?
A circus barker is a person who stands outside a tent and yells “come on up” to people who are walking by. I’m afraid I did rather poorly as one. I decided life is too short to put myself under such stress!