Embarrassing Mistakes

It started out fine. In fact, the morning started out like any other morning. I sat down with my cup of coffee (which is about 3 cups with my giant mug.) I checked my Amazon stats and sighed, lamenting how hard it actually is being an indie author and seeing low romance sales but plenty of erotica reads and sales. Then, I flipped over to my email.

There it was. Another BookSprout review notification for Pistol Fire.

I got excited. It was getting great reviews. I happily opened it and saw another 5-star rating.

But this one was different. This one had a private message from an ARC reader named Tima (look for that name in Disco Bar as thanks to her.) It went something like this:

Tori, I think you mean “countenance” instead of “continence.”

That’s right. I had written the words “His continence was calm, soothing even.”

Now, I was writing about a 50-something man. His continence may have been soothing, and that may have been impressive to my main female character, Libby, who is in her mid-40s. As a woman in my mid-40s, I’d take a man with a job, all his teeth, and good continence any day.

However, I meant countenance. I even typed that out. But here’s what probably happened…

  1. I spelled it wrong, and my system autocorrected it to something I did not intend.
  2. I read my work back, and the read back was probably close enough that I didn’t notice. Or, I was dealing with a kid asking for tacos or both kids fighting and wasn’t listening as well as I should have been.
  3. I ran it through Grammarly. Spoiler alert. Grammarly catches nothing but what I don’t want it to catch.
  4. I sent it to my proofreader, and she also saw what we want to see when reading.

But here’s the thing…It was so funny, I almost left it in. I almost left it in and gave a big middle finger to the world and was prepared to say that I meant what I wrote. Yes, world, Brock has soothing continence, and it’s sexy as hell when a man can hold his shit together…literally. It’s a Depends commercial waiting to happen.

By the way, this is my favorite meme…ever. It pretty much works with anything I fuck up in my life.

But wait, there’s more.

Jump to October 2nd. Winning the Witch had been out a day, and I had a Bookbub New Release feature getting ready to run on the 4th. Thank fuck for the reviewer named Jenn (look for that name in Disco Bar in May) who pointed out that I look like an idiot (not her actual words) for not knowing how to spell koi.

At first, I was like, “I know how to fucking spell koi. What the hell?”

When I pulled up my manuscript, I did not laugh this time. There it was throughout…coy. Fucking coy. I wasn’t talking about being coy. I was talking about a fucking koi pond.

Here’s what I surmise happened there.

  1. I had written so much over the summer, I was trying to save my shoulder when I sat down and did Winning the Witch. Many of you know that I had extensive physical therapy on my shoulder for semi-frozen shoulder last year. Pain was settling in again because I sat at my desk and typed straight for 4 months. I did speech to text for a good portion of this book. Whenever I would mean koi, the system typed it as coy.
  2. Read back didn’t catch it because it sounds the same. I blame my crotch goblins again.
  3. I really don’t know why I even fuck with Grammarly before sending it to proofread. It’s honestly useless.
  4. Proofreader missed, probably reading with context over that part.

Now, I’m not mad at my proofreader. Katee Robert tweeted about this very shit a few weeks ago. Apparently, someone found a mistake in one of her books and fileted her over it, saying it was unprofessional.

Robert’s response-She literally has 12 people look at her stuff before it’s released, whether it be self-published or at a traditional house. They still miss stuff.

Or something to that effect.

Basically…she’s Katee Robert FFS.

Ya’ll we miss stuff. Proofreaders and editors miss stuff. As someone certified to teach English, I know there is an actual thing in our brain where we look at the first letters of a word, maybe glance at a couple more letters, and assume the rest of the word, especially given the context. Our brain works with context clues a lot when reading. (I assume that happened with the countenance/continence issue as well as koi/coy. Our brains hear the word and hear it in context and keep going.)

The big five houses miss stuff, and they have professional line and content editors and much more money for beta readers and proofreaders than any indie author has in the bank. Content editing can run thousands of dollars, and indies have to foot their own bill for that. I have an English teaching certification, audio read back after every chapter, my own read through and editing, Grammarly, a former English professor that now proofreads for local authors in her retirement, and a few regular first readers that I can count on to tell me when I do dumb things. That’s what I can do right now in my career. I think most readers passed over it too, again using context.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to my ARC readers who have told me when they find stuff. We can’t change things without being told about it from the people with early copies. Because of Jenn, I was able to fix it before I had a big BookBub day. Unfortunately, I’d already done my print run for Witches in Cottleville, so anyone that bought the book there will have coy coy coy. I did tell some buyers about it, and one was like, “So, it’s special first edition?”

Sure, we’ll go with that.

It’s so fucking mortifying that I told my husband I was done writing. I said I would never write another word. I did talk myself off that cliff, but I walked around beating myself up for a good two days, sweating that Amazon would get the updated version approved in time for my promo.

Authors are human. We do stupid things sometimes, especially new indie authors trying to juggle 500 things like cover creation, writing the book, marketing it, and actually having jobs and families. Sometimes, we don’t make sense.

One author told me she loaded the wrong version of a book that was only half of the book. Someone messaged her about it a couple of days after release. Another author loaded the entirely wrong book, and nobody found it for a year.

I haven’t done those things yet, but I can see how it’s easy to do. We’re all human, and we’re all creating for fun and our own sense of creation here.

Thanks for being patient with me.

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