Yesterday, while flipping through a printed copy of my new What's Wrong With Trump? I was shocked to see that the index included NBC newsman Chuck Scarborough (who is not in the book), instead of MSNBC newsman Joe Scarborough (who is in the book). The shocking discovery came after dozens of read-throughs and careful examinations. The tedious indexing process starts out automatically and then requires human intervention. Apparently I had a senior moment ("brain fart") while intervening, and replaced Joe with Chuck.
A few weeks ago I uploaded an updated version of the Trump book. On the photo credits page I had typed "Rachel Masssow" instead of "Rachel Maddow." On a keyboard the "S" and "D" keys are adjacent. This particular error is known as "fat-fingering." It's annoying, sometimes funny, common—and had to be corrected.
A few years ago, while going through the latest proof of my then-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.
The error, however, is in the PDF 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 tediously re-created the headers and re-uploaded the files. This time I carefully examined the PDF file and the problem evaporated. Poof.
- 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, or vice versa. If you've copied text from the web, it's crucial that you find straight quote marks and apostrophes (properly called "prime" and "double prime", but maybe foot and inch marks) and replace them with proper "curlies."
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 years 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.
- No book is perfect, but you must try to minimize errors.
- Any time you fix an error in a book, you may create more errors.