The print proof copy of The Fairlawn Investigation arrived today. Just paging through it quickly I immediately spotted a humongous screw-up in chapter headings that leap from the pages, slapping me in the face. There are TWO Chapter 2s. There are inconsistencies in font size, and the use of digits versus spelled out numerals. How this ever got by me when I was putting the book together mystifies me as it's never happened before! I must have been editing on another planet- planet GoofUp.
I guess, when you scroll through a computer layout of ones novel, view it in digital proof layout when you're putting it all together and you don't take the time to look at an enlargement of every single page because you find it TEDIOUS...then you'd better order a print proof copy in order to catch what would be tremendously embarrassing errors BEFORE you okay the proof and your book is suddenly out there with your name on it and you find yourself wanting to crawl under a rock in shame!
This is why I like self publishing- because, if I was a lazy person and just approved this book and it went out for sale on Amazon and THEN I found the OMG MISTAKES, I can always pull the book and fix it, whereas big name authors don't have the luxury of yanking their books with boo-boos off the market- and believe me, I've seen some big publishers let books with errors that, as an author, would make me cringe and grind my teeth to dust, go out to the reading public. I've thrown such books aside in disgust- both with the author for not catching this stuff and the publisher for going forth and publishing unacceptable editions that will never grace my personal library shelves. Don't they employ proofreaders anymore? What exactly do editors do? Don't they read the books, or even look at them? Are they lazy? Ignorant? Or just out to make money off a hard working writer- who should also be ashamed of themselves for submitting a work with so many mistakes.
Anyway- as a self publisher using the CreateSpace platform, I can quickly pull a book that I discover doesn't meet my standards, correct it in a day or less and have it back on the market within 36 hours of pulling it- and readers probably won't even know it was a hot mess when it made it's debut.
Anyway-advice to all self publishers is proofread your work, make it the best it can be...and then order a print proof and read it again because there are gremlins in your computer who enjoy messing with your hard work! You're bound to spot it once it's in print! Your work represents you as an author- if you're work is sloppy you won't make a good impression of persnickety readers, you won't earn the respect you want to receive. And you'll have that gut clenching experience of finding your wonderful book selling for a quarter in a bargain book bin at a library book sale or tag sale.
My books are a reflection of me and who I am as an author/writer- I want them to look their best when they leave home- like it's school picture day. I certainly don't want them looking neglected, as if I don't care what other people (ie. readers) think; like I just wanted them out of the house.
Respect yourself, respect your work, respect the intelligence of the reader- order a print proof copy and actually read it, examine it with a fine tooth comb, pull out a blue pen and don't be afraid to write all over the pages. If you're going to put a book out there, then make the effort to make it the best book it can be.
A proof copy is a powerful plus in the author's tool box.