So, now I have two digital novels being published on three sites, a beautiful website, and membership in three authors’ groups, all of which email me at least once a day. I’ve sold fifty or sixty books. I’m on my way, to whatever that way will lead me. I still don’t understand the Share button on Facebook and I have a bit of trouble buying The Solarium for my new Nook app (somehow my sister-in-law in upstate New York has slid into my account), but all in all, I’m feeling pretty good. Very good, in fact.
Then the friend to whom I’ve sent the paper copy of The Solarium sends it back, wrapped in plain brown paper. Not that it needed to be sent that way, like a dirty book, but that’s the way Sally, a sensible non-digital person, sends everything. She attaches a note: “A great read, Jo. I don’t remember the rhododendrons at the sorority house, but Frank had a car so maybe we didn’t need to sneak behind them at the ten o’clock curfew.” Then she added, “I started to mark the insignificant typo errors, but got caught up in the story, so I went back and made a list of a few slips I noticed.”
The list was forty items long. Since this is a manuscript I had massaged word for word, at least ten times, I suspected she was getting a little loopy. I had downloaded a perfect piece of work. The number one rule of self-publishing is “Make sure you’re sending perfection. Review your offering before you punch the Okay key.”
I thought I had. But there they were. Forty missing to’s, for’s, from’s, in’s, a’s and the’s , a couple of pronoun confusions, and the worst of all, the main character’s name had morphed from Madge to Margo at least once.
I spend today correcting the book, following Sally’s notes, then republishing it. I’ve learned two things. It is a wonderful gift to have a friend who tells you like it is, typos and all. And it is both humbling and empowering to be able to undo one’s mistakes.
If only that were possible in the rest of one’s life.