Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mistakes? Who Me?

I was sitting on my sofa yesterday, in my normal position to write, in front of the Olympics and working on a new horror short, when a startling email came to me from my publisher.  A reader had noticed discrepancies in my book and had taken the time to point them out to my publisher.  She (I presume) did this not to discredit me or the publisher, but because she truly was enjoying my book and wanted to identify the errors so they could be corrected.

In subsequent discussions I had with a couple of favored author friends, I was surprised by the reactions.  I was surprised because they were so vastly different.  One author became enraged.  Her typed tirade theme was something along the lines of  "What?  Like she could do any better?" and was filled with indignity that the couple mistakes were even identified.  Two author friends, actually, had that same reaction, one more severe than the other.

Thank goodness for my third author friend, clearly the voice of reason and the one who took the same position as I.  She, like I, was absolutely thrilled about the email.  I was so moved and happy that a reader had taken the time to write the email.  The book in question has been out for a while now, and my first thought was, How many people had seen this and NOT said anything?  So happy was I to have the chance to make the corrections, (as, incidentally, was my publisher), that I am offering the reader who found them and told us about them, more of my books for free.  (Hope she wants them!  LOL)

I am only human, and so are my publishers.  Regardless of the number of edits, line and content and grammar, clearly we all missed this couple of issues.  I hope the reader stops by this blog sometime, as I want to thank her personally and publicly, right now.

     Dear Reader,
     Thank you for the time you offered me, both in reading my books, and having the integrity to notify my publisher about the potential errors you found.  I want to tell you, you were right.  Steps are being taken to make the required corrections immediately.  I am grateful that you cared enough about both me and my books, and my reputation to bring this to my publisher's attention.  Instead of posting a nasty review that would be unrelated to the actual writing, you gave me a consideration few before you have.  Thank you.  I am truly grateful.  If I ever know who you are, you will have free copies of my new books for life.

Authors and writers?  If you don't feel this same way, then who are you writing for?  If you think it's for yourself, you're nuts.  If that was true, you wouldn't bother publishing.  Or struggling over queries.  Or pining for the most perfect agent in the world.  You know you are, right?  Right.

I hope this never happens to any of you published writers at all, but if it does, I hope it happens this exact same way.  Somewhere out there, a reader with integrity exists.  And you know what?  I think there are millions of them out there.  'Cuz you know and I know, at the end of the day, it's you, Dear Reader, we write for.  Thank you to you all.

16 comments:

  1. What an awesome post! I love it. I need to bookmark this for when I start getting reviews-- lol.

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    1. I don't think I've ever been bookmarked before....will it hurt? *sneaky grin*

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  2. I had an early reader (contest winner) point something out to me, too. It was (fortunately) obscure knowledge, as it would have taken quite a bit to write around if I had to change it for some future edition.

    Anyway, I was also thankful. I learned something new and thought it was kind that she'd taken the time to write me about it. She went on to leave me a nice review on Amazon. That helped too :>).

    I think it depends on the nature of the errors and how they are brought to our attention.

    Thanks for the post, Samantha. No matter how hard we try, some things are going to slip by us. May all of us be busted (and accept them) in such a positive way.

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    1. I am living proof of that. I knwo another author who didn't handle it quite so, shall we say graciously? She has lived to regret her outburst. Didn't want that to be me.

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  3. I'm doing the final read on my newest book before it goes to galley and found a major mistake. Now it's fixed.

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    1. Happy to be a cautionary tale for you, Linz!

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  4. I'm with you, Samantha. If a reader found an error and took the time to point it out, I'd be grateful. Even though our books go through multiple edits and are read by several people before publication, some mistakes will still happen. Your letter of thanks is exactly what I would want to say. Pointing out an error is far less painful than a biting review.

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    1. Thanks Patricia. As kind as you are, I already knew that was how you would feel.

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  5. I agree Samantha, that was a wonderful action from your reader, and a wonderful compliment to you, the author that she cared enough to contact your publisher. What a great fan.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I did consider it a wonderful action, but didn't think about it being a compliment. Thanks for another reason to love this reader!

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  6. Readers commit their time and money. It's a definite bonus if they throw in their care and consideration as well.

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    1. Derek, I couldn't have said that better. Thank you!

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  7. At least your readers tell the publishers about the errors, and that is a good thing. I gave your blog a Liebster Award too be sure to check it out for details. I love reading your posts.

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    1. Thanks WolfDreamer, glad you enjoy them!

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  8. Reading this made me really excited to be that Reader. I am sorry if I made some people mad but would you rather have the corrections pointed out to you and correct them? Or have your readers put the book away and not read anything else of yours because of the errors?

    I write stories. Hopefully one day I can make them into actual books and I love having people not only read my stories, love them, and want more but also getting their reviews and comments. Because even though something may make sense to me, it may not for others. Or I can be picturing the scene in my head and try to write it out but not have it come out the way it was meant.

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    1. Thanks Nasha. Keep writing....making little stories is exactly how I started. Keep the dream!

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