Tuesday 4 November 2014

Fool proof?


That final stage before we upload to the printers is so crucial. We’ve edited three times at least: the structural edit, the line edit and the copy edit. Now we proof read and we do that after the text is camera ready. Some odd mistakes can creep in at the end.
Here are a few examples of what we’ve found recently:
·         Some formatting jumped and some strange line-throws appeared as a document was changed from Word into a PDF. We think that this was because the original document had been written on a Mac and paragraph breaks were forced.
·         A couple of words collided into each other. We had to put the spaces back in. 
·         One story was written as a letter. We used a special font for that. Every other paragraph reverted to our Normal style.

The ones that get away
We never manage to spot them all. Three people proof read in our company. At least one person has never seen the text before. The other two are often the original author and editor.
We sent out the ten complimentary copies recently to an author. He wrote to say that he’d found a typo on page 21.
“There’ll probably be a few more,” I said. “On average there are 15 typos and similar mistakes in a published book.”
“I reckon it’s more like 18,” he said.
Well, we fix them as we find them on e-books and after 1000 copies are sold on printed books.

Publishers make sensitive readers
As I’m also an academic that marks many students’ scripts any mistake leaps out at me. It interrupts the reading and often makes me chuckle. You didn’t spot that then, did you?          

Part of the charm
The imperfect book anyway has a certain charm. According to how the publisher has corrected post-publication rare copies can come into existence. The very first piece of fiction I ever had published had a third of its story shopped off at the end. Quite a serious fault but in the end not disastrous. The book also had one author name wrong and one of the pictures was placed so that it gave away the ending of another story. All of these faults were corrected on the next print run.
However, the new copies did not have a new ISBN number. So the copies with the faults became rare.
My complete story was emailed to everyone else in the book and so now some quite prestigious writers know who I am.   

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