Oops….

?????????????????I’ve been working on preparing four self-published books to go up on Amazon later this fall.  It has been a lesson in tedium, patience, and perseverance like none other!  Checking every sentence, word by word, for errors introduced through the scanning process (as in, a number one for the letter “L” or an apostrophe in place of a quotation mark), watching for things that have changed since the books were first published (who hunts for a pay phone anymore?) and trying to improve the prose itself have been very time consuming.

Then now and again, there are things that make me stop and laugh. The scanning process, it seems, has a bit of a sense of humor.  It may correctly interpret the word “the” for five pages, then suddenly convert the word “the” into “die.”  Definitely changes the meaning of a sentence!   Some of the changes are completely nonsensical.  And then, there’s the sentence I came across yesterday.

??????????????????????????????The scene: the heroine is hunting for cattle in rough country.  Someone  sabotaged her saddle by  slicing through most of the billet on the off side of the saddle.  Now, a billet is a heavy, very sturdy leather or nylon web from which the cinch hangs from the saddle, and when one saddles a horse they’re tightening up the cinch on the left side of the horse–so except for quickly checking to make sure nothing is twisted on the right side, it would be more easy to miss carefully executed damage to the billet-especially in the dark shadows of early dawn.  The scanning fairy, however, changed the word “billet.”  So the sentence read…

Mandy frowned. “I’ve never seen a bidet break like that.”

I guess not.  Especially on a saddle!

On an earlier book, I had a heroine setting a table with  “mocha placements” …only,  scanning changed it to “mocha placentas.”  Eeeuw!  I’m just thankful both errors were caught, but I know I’ve seen some oddities appear in my own published books as well as some books I’ve read.  You can bet that if you do find an error, the author is horrified…and that there will be lots of readers who let her know about it, too!

Without naming specific books or authors, of course, have you ever found any such little typos that made it into a published book?

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11 Responses to Oops….

  1. Kathleen O says:

    A few, but not very often… I just over look them and read on.

  2. Kylie Brant says:

    Too funny. And you’re right, that scanning process is horribly tedious! I had to insert cell phones and change having my characters look for a phone booth, LOL.

  3. GunDiva says:

    I just overlook them and move on. Especially if I know the book has had to go through the scanning/conversion process. That’s a big ole pain in the butt.

  4. Oh yes, the process is painful and tedious isn’t it? But I’m sure it will repay the investment with interest!

  5. CateS says:

    I’ve always had jobs that included proofreading… since ‘spell check’ came about — I found some wild errors… but nothing like bidet for billet – I love Ellen DeGeneres’ Clumsy Thumbsy where smarts phones auto correct texting..
    http://photos.ellen.warnerbros.com/galleries/clumsy_thumbsy_autocorrect

  6. roxrustand says:

    CateS, Oh, gosh. You just stirred up some memories! I had a HTC Thunderbolt cell phone from Verizon until the very day I could turn that puppy in for something else. Even the Verizon clerks said it was the worst ever. It randomly called people from its phonebook…not just butt dialing, but when it was laying on a table. Sometime embarrassing calls, like, an editor I hadn’t worked with in years. And text messages—it would change spellings and words and sometimes, at the last moment, I would see something TRULY AWFUL flash by as the message sent…before I’d even hit “send” ….and then I’d have to send profuse apologies. I love, love, love my iPhone5 !!!!!!

  7. Betina says:

    Rox, I had a nightmare on my hands when one of my early books came back in galleys. Every “bride” had become a “birdie.” It was an historical with a wedding and there must have been a hundred instances of “birdies” in my book. Sigh. And i only caught “most” of them before they went to press. And your the/die thing must be more commonplace than we’d ever imagine. I just read as big suspense where that very thing happened at least three times. It stopped me dead in the middle of reading, so I was a little shocked at how that got though.

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