July Question

Am I correct in assuming that you are as dissatisfied as I am that the editing and proofing process failed to change “effect” to “affect” on page 27, line 35 of Madness in Solidar?

While I would prefer all of my books to be error free, or at least typo-free, as would any author, that’s an unrealistic expectation for several reasons. First, as an author, I do occasionally make typographical errors, and since I submit my books in electronic format, the initial typographical error is mine, not someone else’s. Second, although that book was read before publication by two editors, a copy-editor, and a proof-reader, errors still occasionally occur. Third, as upsetting as such errors may be, they tend to represent a very small fraction of the words in a book. Madness in Solidar is 180,000 words long, roughly, and an error in one word still represents a typographical accuracy of 99.99945% on the word level.

I know that such typos can be upsetting, but all I can say is that a great number of people do their best, and I doubt very seriously that there are many books published totally free of typographical errors.

10 thoughts on “July Question”

  1. David says:

    I have heard that some publishers used know typographical errors to determine if someone was pirating the publication, in the days before digital formats.

  2. Charles Elkins says:

    I read the book when it came out and greatly enjoyed it. I don’t see typos since i make so many in my own written work which is always done on tight deadlines. If you get upset with typos, try audio books. The typos might not be so obvious and Mr. Modesitt’s books make great spoken stories to listen to as you walk.

  3. LauraA says:

    On that topic, I enjoyed “Treachery’s Tools,” and I wonder if you have a way for readers to submit the typos they noticed for correction in the paperback edition, as some authors do. Your books are remarkably free of typos in general, considering the rate at which you write them, and I’d like to contribute my help if that’s something you’d welcome. In “Treachery’s Tools,” I spotted 15 or so instances that you’d probably consider addressing if you had the opportunity. Thanks again for the enjoyable series!

  4. Mike D says:

    I did spot some ‘wrong word’ typos in _Treachery’s Tools_

    ‘passible’ should be ‘passable’ in 4 places.

    == barely passible dark lager ==

    Mike D
    Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames

    1. Thank you. They do slip through, no matter how hard we try.

  5. soch says:

    I listened to this today, and then I read this question in the FAQ… It’s funny how our days can have themes to them sometimes.


  6. I am a copyeditor/proofreader; we do try our best. I have been very fortunate to proofread several of your books for St. Martin’s, just finishing Assassin’s Price. It is my favorite so far. I do like happy endings, and I often make up alternate endings or epilogues. I’ve worked with many authors through the writing process and know how easily events change back and forth. I don’t want give anything away here, but I have a plan for Palenya. Thank you for making my work fun; I am so happy when I get one of yours.

    1. As you’re about to find out, if you haven’t already, I also had a plan for Palenya.

      Thank you.

  7. Bartleby the Scrivener says:

    I’m one of the pedants who becomes irrationally upset by typos, grammatical errors, and so on, and I have to say I really appreciate your response to this.

    You directly addressed the issue, explained that considerable work is performed to catch and correct these errors, and then pointed out the extremely low rate of incidence of such errors.

    Your notation of the low rate of incidence of the errors was particularly helpful. I’ve worked in the manufacturing quality industry, and most manufacturers can only dream of an incidence of noncompliant product that is ~1/180,000 instances. 🙂

  8. John P Pearce says:

    Since I seem to be one of those people who can’t not notice typos, I would happily volunteer to proofread anything you write. Get 2 or 3 of us OCD people and you would likely never have another error.

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