Errors of past work

Yes, I know it exists. And then, when little sister number two, re-reading my book that she just so happens to love, comes bounding through the hall pointing out that I had an instance of “parent’s” instead of the correct parents’ or simply parents, there is that slight groan of knowing another error exists.

Letting go of the need to correct everything every time is a big deal. I know Dangerous Rainbows is riddled with them. I don’t particularly care – I never intended for that to be a great work – which, by the way, is why it’s about free everywhere. But to find out that TLP still has two misused parent’s is an arrow to the knee. And I’ll never forget that my first edition, of which I still have 12 printed copies or so to hand out, says retractable claws like those of a wolf, instead of the correct retractable claws unlike those of a wolf. Yes, my characters have traits but aren’t bound by the exact physiology of the creatures those traits are influenced by. It’s not as fun, and it’s also not in line with the back story.

But yes, I know errors do exist. I’ve even corrected some of them in a 2012 edition of TLP (most notably wolf claws). However further revisions would require much more work. Suddenly my kindle previews are adding “CHAPTER TITLE” – those exact words – in some odd places, and I don’t know why. I’d have to remake my entire kindle version. And getting a new pdf to createspace requires some updates to software that isn’t behaving right now.

But the hard part is leaving a past work alone. My next book will be painstakingly edited. I use a slightly different rule of grammar and consistency. It’s a much more evolved work in several ways. Though my basic writing style (in terms of story) has only slightly changed, the way I use grammar is better, probably. Certain words and phrases are used in certain ways. I have a better sense of keeping things consistent the entire way though.

It’ll be better for The Lupine Chevalier. It does, however, come at the expense of time. It also means that when the errors do appear in the final version days/weeks/months/years after publication, there will be another groaning.

One of the things that people online tend to dislike about self-published works is errors. Bestsellers also have errors. Professional editors miss things. But knowing someone has self published means you may not mention it if a bestseller has three errors, but two errors in a self-published book will make those same people put it down and say it’s riddled with problems.

See, I know there are errors. I’ve fixed thousands of them. I’ve gotten my error rate down very, very low. I know that even with three pairs of editor’s eyes and several revisions on my own there are things that are still out there.

But I know they exist. They are valueless though. In the future I’ll have to make an errata page, assuming my readership ever jumps above ten people (it’s not hyperbole if I don’t know the number to begin with!) and brings in any significant amount of money.

For now, slowly going through it again, and again, and again, correcting all the while. As for the past stuff… I’ll correct the most offensive ones if they make a real difference. Otherwise… well, whatever, it’s in the past.

We’re all about growing, after all.

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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