I’ve been cleaning up after a nightmare accident, born of negligence or fatigue or revision blindness. Some of you might have noticed my announcement on Facebook the other day, where I asked everyone with a copy of my book to contact me. Why? Well, it started quite innocently when a good buddy of mine started reading my book for review, in between several others – she reads like I breathe. Near the beginning she found a few typos which she told me about.
Naturally I cringed, how had they got through several beta readers, a professional editor, not counting the millions of re-throughs I’d done myself? I didn’t know, but I corrected them, then re-published it the Amazon.
Then she contacted me again. This time with a hellish piece of information. Two chapters had been somehow switched around? When? How? This, in a novel I published over a month ago! I almost swallowed my own tongue and scrambled to my Scrivener file. I read through to the point she had found the offending error and on my way, saw more typos. Little nagging things I never saw before. My heart sank. My temperature grew. My sweat glands pumped out their juices.
What if she hadn’t been brave enough to tell me? I’d never have known! Thank you for honest, brave friends!
I put the chapters in the right places, corrected the typos I found on my way, and quickly pulled the Smashwords file from sale (the file I’d paid to be formatted and had only just uploaded), then I republished again to Amazon. Since then I’ve had to email every reviewer, everyone who I gave the book to, everyone who I knew had purchased a copy, and try to explain my nightmare. I felt (still fell) grim. Beyond baffled and humiliated.
Then I heard from another online friend and fellow ROWer Shan Jeniah, who said she’d proofread for me. I am beyond grateful for this. She could have asked for a refund and slammed my lack of professionalism.
But how did this all happen in the first place. I did what I was supposed to – Every stage? After the edit, I corrected those issues she pointed out, and did another read-through after that. Done! Right? Wrong.
I should have waited a month or so to do my final read-through.
I clearly never saw the glaringly obvious, the ugly truths. I was perhaps revision weary, blind to issues that require my attention. Not only that, but at some point during the re-through, I must have clicked something on Scrivener switched two chapters around without even knowing? All of which meant I published what I thought to be an edited novel, when in fact, I published a novel in need of more attention.
I won’t lie, I have wept and slept very little since all of this. I’ve also worked really hard, reading through the 125k MS making corrections where necessary, while applying the suggestions of Heather and awaiting the suggestions of Shan. I hope between us, this MS will be in a much better shape.
I’m frazzled with it all now, to be honest.
So, let this be a lesson to you all: Beware of Scrivener’s unintentional ability to move stuff. It will and it can. And be aware of the final read through, you must leave a large enough gap between it and applying those final edits, otherwise you may be weary of the words on the page and well, that might leave you blind.
I wish I had the cash to hire several editors to work on it, like the larger, traditional publishers often do. But I don’t, so this is all I can do.
Shah the Writer
Future blog posts, my last ROW80 update, and this. I’ve had to give up all my time to Findng Esta again.
Shah the Marketing Wizz
All of my efforts have fallen foul. I can’t even talk about the wasted hours at this point. I have people out there about to hit me with awful reviews, I can feel it.
Shah the Publisher
I now need to pay (again) for someone to reformat the Smashwords file (once all the corrections are made) and re-upload it. Oh joy. I’m in no rush right now.
Shah the Blogger
Still reading this book.
I’m honouring my sponsor role at least, as I’ve done all my visits and then some. I’ve also shared lots and attended to all my emails.
I hope to provide a much more positive and upbeat update next week. Sorry, but crikey, I feel a bit weighed down with it all.
Have you ever made a catastrophic mistake? Any advice for this little puppy?