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.
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.