You are not an editor: A cautionary tale

The holidays were particularly awesome in the Marting house—due to scheduling issues at Le Day Job I’ve had two three-day weekends since Christmas and Santa left me Sephora gift cards, which have already been put to use (oh, Benefit cosmetics. You are so expensive, but your Boing industrial-strength concealer is the best out there.) (I’m a night owl and do my best work when the sun goes down, and Le Day Job requires me to work, uh, days. I’m very familiar with the concealers out there.). We spent Christmas Day with Mr. Marting’s family and Boxing Day with mine in my hometown of Peterborough. Good times all around!

In November, I received a big box of books and promptly listed a giveaway on Goodreads. I sent out the winners’ copies on Friday. There’s an interesting/horrifying (to me) story behind Supernova’s paperback edition. I typeset everything and uploaded a PDF file to CreateSpace way back in September and ordered a proof. I was so excited at holding said proof in my hands—my first published novel!—that I approved it and immediately ordered a bunch of copies. Hurray! I thought. Holy crap, I’m really an author now! I have a proof! Take that, high school math teachers who told me to stop writing dirty limericks in my notebook margins! I’m officially a storyteller of sci-fi romance! Everyone who ever poked fun at me for wearing Star Trek T-shirts can bite me! HAHAHA!

My credit card safely tucked away in my wallet, I lovingly posed the proof* on my coffee table and texted a picture to my husband at work. Then I leafed through it again, and saw IT.

A typo. In the dedication. The first freaking page.

The one thing my editor didn’t touch.

The word “balanced” was missing the D.

I think you can guess what my reaction was.

When I called CS, it had already gone into production and I couldn’t cancel it. I was polite with and thanked the kind operator—who I’m sure has been the recipient of many diatribes from enraged authors—popped an Advil, muttered a few more choice expletives that insulted my own intelligence and level of literacy, and fixed the file. I figured I’d wait until I received my box of typo-ed books and give them away as Christmas presents. Friends and family understand when you forget to put a D on the end of “balanced. Reviewers, not so much.

I waited. And waited.

The books never showed up. The god who looks over overexcited self-publishers looked down on me and smiled, and I’m sure I’ve just used up my quota of grace due to that mistake. CreateSpace sent a new box of books via priority mail with the corrected file. It arrived two days early and I had to greet the delivery guy in my pajamas, but it arrived and the books were correct. And then I listed the Goodreads giveaway and gave copies to family members, beta readers, proofreader, and long-suffering friends (okay, authors? You can get irritating when you talk about your book all the time to your friends. Give them a copy when it comes out!).

In Celestial Chaos news, I’m about 5,000 words shy of its final (final-ish?) word count, which means the first draft will be done in a couple of days. It’s still on schedule for a spring release, and I have every intention of making the print edition perfect the first time around.

*I arranged it on an angle, which counts as posing.

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