January 15, 2013
Spell check and then check again - Tracy Krauss
This month our lovely moderator, Brenda Leyland, asked us to share
an anecdote of some publishing or editorial incident that still makes you chuckle, cringe, or cry. I knew exactly the story I would share.
Here's a funny story (although it was disconcerting, too) about the difference between ebooks and print books. A reader contacted me when he was reading WIND OVER MARSHDALE to let me know that he found two errors in the book. Both of them used the word 'sBillyach' instead of 'stomach', and as he surmised, it was because of a 'find and replace' done on the book.
Originally, one of the minor characters was named Tom Chang. My editor felt that this was too similar to the main character's name 'Thomas'. (Rightly so.) I changed Tom Chang's name to Billy Chang.
You guessed it. I didn't specify my search enough and every time the letters 'tom' appeared in the manuscript, it inserted 'Billy'. Think of the possibilities: stomach, tomorrow, stomp... it seemed the list was endless! Naturally, another spell check was in order, and I was able to fix the problem. Or so I thought. I guess even after the most diligent checking, a couple of mistakes still slipped by.
Here is the good news. I contacted my publisher and she fixed it quite easily since the book was still only available in its e-version. This would not be possible with a print book. Either you'd be stuck with a run of books that had the error, or, even in the case of Print-On-Demand publishing, it would cost to get it fixed. (Probably at my expense since I did sign off on the galley.)
Lesson learned? Spell check twice.