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Friday, March 3, 2017

Book errors can hide anywhere. Look very carefully.


No matter how many times you read, re-read and re-re-read, you're bound to find mistakes in anything you've written. It's best to find them before the book is published.

Last year, while going through the latest proof of my new Internet Hell, I found a few silly errors—and one really mysterious error!

In the headers (A.K.A. "running heads") on some, but not all, of the pages, there is an unintentional space in the word "Internet." The space did not appear in previous printings of the book and is not in my MS Word file. [below]



The error, however, is in the FDF file. 

I have no idea why the PDF shows a space that is not in the original Word document. For my early books, I used Adobe software to create PDFs. For the last two dozen or more book I used the PDF creator included in MS Word. I never had a problem before.

I re-created the headers and re-uploaded the file. I carefully examined the PDF file and it was fine.

  • I failed to obey one of my major rules about publishing: Carefully examine your book in multiple formats. Some errors will appear on printed pages that are not obvious on a PC screen. Some errors will appear in a PDF that will not be obvious in a word processing doc. It's also important to magnify the page images on your screen. Maybe a period really should be a comma, and vice versa.

Back in 2009, just minutes before I had planned to send a book to the printer, I decided to check my table of contents. I had a feeling that as I changed the length of some chapters, a page number might have changed.

I actually found three wrong page numbers, and two chapters were missing from the table.

Apparently, I didn't learn the lesson well enough. Another time I was trying to find a chapter in one of my books that has many chapters. I couldn't find it by flipping through the pages, and I couldn't find it by studiously scanning the table of contents.

When I looked even more carefully, I realized that the last entry at the bottom of one page of the TOC was Chapter 51, but the first entry on the top of the next page was Chapter 53.

There was no listing for Chapter 52.

I felt like a blind idiot.

A few months ago I uploaded the first version of my new Typography for Independent Publishers for sale on Amazon. Then I realized that it had the wrong version of the cover, with a missing word and an ugly empty space—a dreadful error for a book about typography.

  • IMPORTANT WARNING: Any time you fix an error in a book, you may create more errors.
Two days ago I uploaded the cover and interior files for my latest book, Love For & From My 4-Legged Son—How an ordinary golden retriever became an extraordinary dog, to CreateSpace for printing and distribution. I assumed there would be a dozen or so errors to fix. I needed to make more than a hundred repairs. OUCH!

It's better for me to find them than for readers and reviewers to find them.

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