Archive for February 15, 2018


I spent 16 years publishing and editing a magazine. Nearly a third of my professional life has been spent looking for typos and it’s sort of a force of habit by now. I can spot a typo heading down the road, out of the corner of my eye at 55+ miles an hour. I’m notorious for it at times, but there is one writer who can always get them by me, every single time no matter how often I look at their work. That writer is me. Now if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you are probably not surprised and at times autocorrect has not been my friend, but I am continually amazed how often I just plain miss things.

Case in point—I’m currently reading my own book, Enough. Now I have read this thing backwards, forwards and sideways, before I hit publish and I thought I had it pretty tight, and for the record, it is pretty tight, but it’s not flawless, and that drives me crazy and leaves me scratching my head and asking the age old question:

How did I miss that?

I know what you might be thinking, “Why didn’t you hire an editor?” Well the reality is the profit margin on a self-published books is relatively small (often non-existent), and editing fees would most definitely take the project way into the red, and besides “I edited for 16 years…” (I say to myself somewhat overconfidently). Still I ask myself, with all that experience, “How could I miss it these annoying little typos?” Let me see if I can answer my own question.

Have you ever met a child whose behavior is atrocious? Have you noticed the only one who doesn’t seem to notice is his parent? Why don’t they see it? I mean after all they have no problem seeing problems with other people’s kids. The reason is simple. They’re too close to it. They’re too familiar and so it is with our writing. We know what we’re trying to say so editing our own work is really hard. It’s easy to miss the flaws in something you’re really invested in.

So what can we do about it? Well maybe rather than paying an editor, you can find another author and d a swap. You read their book, they read yours. At least this will make your glaring errors stand out. Of course, in the publishing world, if you get a company to publish your book they will assign an editor or maybe even a team of editors to you, so that may be the way to go. Of course the issue with that is, you have to decide you’re okay with waiting to be picked, and that got old all the way back in my freelance days.

Now to be clear, the few thing I found are not horrendous, and the book is still really readable and probably the best thing I have ever written, the flaws are just annoying. I do hope you’ll read it. When I finish reading, I will probably take another run at editing. The nice thing about self-publishing is you can always make things better.

One last thought, nobody’s perfect (except Jesus), and I’d rather release and re-edit than withholding it until I achieve an unattainable perfection.

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