Vanquishing the indestructible typo.

It’s been said that a cockroach is one of the only things that could survive a nuclear war, along with scorpions and other simple invertebrates. I think you could probably add the typo in any published book to the list.

Typos can survive editors, the attention of beta readers, all kinds of spellcheckers and even being read aloud. In fact, their ability to stay hidden until the book is available to the general public is unsurpassed.

However, as if by magic, once anyone can buy the book they become instantly visible and glaringly obvious.

I’ve seen online that the traditional publishing industry considers up to three errors per 10,000 words as an acceptable level.

Click the link below for an interesting article about the subject.

However, I’m on a mission to eradicate them from my work, it’s a big job but one that gives me great satisfaction, especially when I get reviews like these.

I’m helped greatly in this task by the fact that I’m self-published. When I find a typo or other error, I don’t need to contact publishers or go through any fancy rigmarole.

I can correct my ebook and re-upload it in a matter of minutes.

Not only that, as paperbacks are printed on demand, correcting them is just as easy. Just upload a new interior file and the next time the book is printed, the problem is solved.

Here’s a recent example (from a different book to the examples above) of just how easy it is to make a correction.

I learned of the problem at 1014, a friend had been reading the book and spotted it. I was in the middle of doing something else, once I had finished that, I got straight onto the case.

I fired up my trusty ebook editing software, loaded my master copy and corrected the error. The correction was uploaded at 1052 and accepted by Amazon as an update in review at 1055

The corrected version of the eBook went live at 1218. The paperback version and the box set were next, they were also finished and live on the same day.

So, in a little over two hours, I had erased all evidence of the error.

It’s a bit like the way the news is constantly being edited in George Orwell’s 1984, only in a good way.

Now, I just have to wait until I (or more likely, someone else) find the next one. Because they are always lurking out there.

I’d love to get your comments, please leave them below. While you’re here, why not take a look around? There are some freebies and lots more content, about me, my writing and everything else that I do. You can join my newsletter for a free novella and more news by clicking this link.


6 Responses

  1. Sim Sansford

    Fantastic post!

    I was pleased not to spot a single error in my latest release, only to then go and add a teaser from the next book at the end, republish, and discover the teaser had one when reading the paperback!

    They’re out there folks! They’re real!

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you. To illustrate the scale of the problem, someone spotted a major typo in one of mine, FIVE YEARS after the book came out. It had remained hidden for all that time and from all those readers.

  2. Stephen Bungay

    Being an audiobook narrator I find plenty of them. The tongue usually trips over them, but the brain will see what it thinks *should* come next, not necessairly what *does* come next, and as Mr. Dee says, they survive “all kinds of spellcheckers and even being read aloud”. Part of the audiobook creation process is “proofing”, which (among other things) involves comparing the narration to the text, a read-while-listening session. Yet typos survive even that.
    They are the Tardigrades of the literary world, survivors.

    • Richard Dee

      The more eyes you can get on your work the better. I’ve read my own books so many times, I only see what I think I wrote.

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