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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What can go wrong with a book?
Here are 50 ways I messed up


Some sad rules of life in book publishing: 

(1) The bigger the book, the more errors it will have.
(2) Every time you try to correct an error, you risk creating more errors.
(3) If you strive for perfection, you will never complete the book.
(4) No book is perfect.
(5) Errors will be caught by readers, reviewers and nitpickers like me.

Carefully check your book for bloopers. (I've been guilty of all of them.)
  1. Factual errors
  2. Spelling errors
  3. Grammar errors
  4. Words or dates you meant to fill in "later" but didn't
  5. Wrong typefaces, particularly when text is pasted-in from another source
  6. Commas that should be periods -- and vice versa
  7. Straight punctuation that should be curly "typographers' marks"
  8. Curlies that curl in the wrong direction
  9. Missing spaces between paragraphs or sections 
  10. Flush-left justification that should be full justification
  11. Bad justification in the last line of a page
  12. Chopped-off descenders where you decreased line spacing (leading) or if the bottom of a text box is too close to the text
  13. Wrong-size bullets
  14. Text not aligned at tops of pages. (Professional page formatters try to align tops and bottoms.)
  15. Rivers
  16. Too-big word spacing
  17. Normal letters that should be ligatures (more for large type than in body text).
  18. Accidental spaces after bullets
  19. Improper hyphenation
  20. Misaligned numbers in a list
  21. Roman text that should be italic, and vice versa
  22. Normal text that should be boldface, and vice versa 
  23. Ignoring highlighted warnings in MS Word.
  24. Automatically accepting MS Word suggestions 
  25. Gray text that should be black.
  26. Insufficient space adjacent to images
  27. Images or text boxes that floated over the margin.
  28. Images or text boxes that 'slid' down and covered up footers
  29. Missing periods at sentence ends 
  30. Missing opening or closing quote marks.
  31. Missing page numbers
  32. Pages with numbers that should not show numbers (blind folios)
  33. Periods that should be inside a closing parentheses -- or outside
  34. Repeated words 
  35. Wrong headers, missing headers, switched verso and recto headers
  36. Subheads that are too close to the text above and too far from the text below
  37. Too much space between lines in a multi-line title, chapter name or subhead
  38. Inconsistencies such as 3pm on one page and 3 P.M. on another.
  39. Inaccurate internal referrals such as "see comments on page 164" 
  40. Words that shifted from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page
  41. Chapter names and page numbers in the table of contents that don't reflect a change made in the actual chapter name or the first page of the chapter
  42. Chapters missing from the TOC.
  43. A topic not in the index because you added something after completing the index
  44. Words that should have been deleted but were not
  45. Names that were changed in some places but not in all places
  46. Paragraphs that accidentally merged
  47. Missing photo or illustration credits 
  48. Credits for deleted photos or illustrations.
  49. Photos or illustrations accidentally flipped left-to-right
  50. Wrong ISBN or other information on the copyright page 
I'll discuss errors on book covers in the future.

(dog photo from www.Fotolia.com

3 comments:

  1. Gee, you sure fucked up a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I've done at least 40.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've done 58! What do I win?

    ReplyDelete