What if I missed a typo? I proofread those galleys so thoroughly I can recite most of the stories by heart. My husband proofread them. The editor proofed them and hired a professional reader, too. All of us found different things. Is that good or bad?
What if I spot an error when my copies of the book arrive this week? Will it be like finding a cigarette burn on a new table or a wine stain on a favourite sweater? Will the book feel ruined to me?
What if other people find a typo and don’t tell me? I still recall the error I found nearly thirty years ago while a communications flak for an insurance company. The woman who edited the policyholder magazine was meticulous about proofreading. She had just dropped the latest issue off at my desk when I let out a little, involuntary gasp.
“What?” she demanded.
“Nothing,” I said.
She’d reprinted the words to the Simon and Garfunkel song “Old Friends” on the cover. Except it read “Old Fiends.” She never forgave me for spotting that. In a meeting later that week she referred to me as “Miss Eagle Eye in her prison suit.” (I thought that navy pinstripe number of mine was quite smart.)
A friend who just learned her book is going into second printing is happier about being able to correct typos than she is about the brisk sales. I can relate.