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    9/02/2006
    If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything
    This question sort of goes along with this post from the other day.

    If you email or write authors, do you tell them of editing errors or historical inaccuracies you think you find in their books?


    Readers:
    If you do, why?
    Have you ever received a note back from the author?
    And if you don't, why not?
    Does this take you out of the story?
    Do you notice editing errors or historical inaccuracies while reading?


    Authors:
    Do you want to be told?
    Have you ever received such a letter or email?
    What did you do with the information?
    Was the 'error' really a mistake and did you write back to tell them it wasn't?
    Can you request to have information changed if the book goes into a second (third... so on...) print or if the book is reissued?


    This might be different for ebooks because changes can be made to ebooks that can't be made in print. I think. Angiew? Tina? You guys around?

    Labels:

    42 Comments:
    1. Have you ever received such a letter or email?

      Yes. A couple of times that I can specifically remember.

      What did you do with the information?

      In one case, I thanked the reader and explained I had taken a bit of literary license with the subject she was correcting me on.

      In the other, the reader was just so cute, I married him. :)

      By Blogger Alison, at 9/02/2006 12:39:00 PM  

    2. Interesting question, Sybil.

      As a reader, I can't say I've ever contacted an author to point out a mistake in their research or in the editing. Of the two, I don't pay that much attention to typos. I know how easy it is even for the best copy editor to miss a typo in 400 pages of text.

      Errors in research tend to grate on my nerves, however. It's one thing to tamper with history for the sake of fiction; it's another to completely disregard it or to mistate it. Too many errors in research, and I just quit reading.

      I have had a reader contact me regarding an error in my research. I had posted an early excerpt from that story, and she wrote to say that I was incorrect about an aspect of the background history. I was able to rewrite a couple paragraphs to adjust for that. It was pretty minor, but those kinds of things matter. If she'd written to me after the book had gone through galley edits, it would have been too late. In the end, it came down to tweaking a few words on two pages. I was very grateful.

      Those of you who've e-mailed me, even just to say hello, know that I always try to write back, even if it takes two months. :-)

      By Anonymous Pamela Clare, at 9/02/2006 12:40:00 PM  

    3. I get very, very few personal letters pointing out typos or errors in my books. Ninety-nine percent of the letters I get are from readers who enjoyed the books, and they usually focus on the characters and the plot, the romance and sensuality. Interestingly, when people do point out errors, they tend to do so publically, say, on blogs, and I only find out by chance. (Hey, wait a minute--post the good stuff in public and whisper the bad stuff to me! LOL)

      Theoretically, typos and other inaccuracies can be fixed when the book goes to the next printing, but making changes to print proofs is expensive for the publisher, so I imiagine they don't always do so (will they sell thousands more books if they fix the typo on page 52? Probably not.)

      Also, I don't always know when my book goes back to print until after the fact, so I don't have the chance to say "fix that." Reprinting is entirely a publisher's decision--if there are a lot of problems with the book, they'd probably come back to the author for corrections before a second printing--but then, if there were a lot of problems, the book probably would never make it to second printing!

      Me responding to readers: If there's a typo in the book and a reader points it out, well, there's nothing I can do about it, so I usually don't respond at all. (BTW, typos aren't always the author's fault--they can be introduced by typesetters at any stage--I've found typos in my final books that were not in the original ms. or even on the page proofs.)

      I've only responded to one reviewer who thought I'd been historically inaccurate, and I didn't agree, so I posted a "no, I'm right" reply to the editor of the magazine, and she posted my reply with the review.

      On the other hand if someone points out an inaccuracy, and they're right, then I eat humble pie and try to do better next time.

      That's my rambling thoughts for the hour! Interesting question, Sybil. Thanks.

      By Anonymous Jennifer Ashley, at 9/02/2006 12:55:00 PM  

    4. As an author, I don't think I have gotten any such letters, though I wouldn't mind, especially if the mistakes were mine. Mostly, thankfully, the letters I receive are positive from readers who have enjoyed the books and let me get away with any mistakes, lol!

      By Anonymous Jill, at 9/02/2006 01:12:00 PM  

    5. Great question, Sybil!

      Have I ever received emails from readers like this? Yes.

      Do I want readers to email me with typos or the like? Absolutely! Yes, yes yes! If you find it, please tell me.

      Do I respond to emails when readers point out typos or a comment about the book? Definitely. If the reader is going to take the time to email me about something they've found in the book, I'm going to take the time to reply.

      What do I do with the information? If the book isn't released yet, I notify the publisher so it can be fixed. In the case of ebooks, if it's been digitally released but not print released, I save that information for print proofs so the error can be corrected in print. Now I haven't had my first mass market release yet so I don't know what the process will be if errors are found in my book then. I just hope they aren't there *g*.

      If someone has a content issue and I researched correctly and find the reader's assumption is inaccurate, of course I'll thank them for their email and validate my research. Then again I don't write historicals so this hasn't really come up that often for me.

      By Anonymous Jaci Burton, at 9/02/2006 01:13:00 PM  

    6. Didn't Eloisa James have something like this happen with her first book? She slid a bit on the historical accuracy. Her readers took her to task. She's pretty open about the entire incident, fixed the mistakes in the next printing and is more careful now. I respect that. I always respect people more if they own up to the mistake - if they actually made one - instead of trying to deflect blame. James' career certainly hasn't suffered from the early stumble since she's now a NYT bestseller.

      As a reader - I've never written or emailed an author to question the accuracy of a fact. Frankly, until I started writing it never even dawned on me that readers wrote to authors all the time. Naive, I know.

      As an author - I'd estimate that I've gotten probably 50 emails regarding VIVA LAS BAD BOYS! where the complaints were on two points with regard to accuracy: (1) technically the title should be "Los" not "Las" if matched with Bad Boys; and (2) the "there is no way a casino would have a blackout like that" argument. On the title, the readers technically are correct but we knew that going in. The real answer is: the "Las" relates to "Las Vegas" and not the Boys part of the title, so all I can do is explain that and thank them.

      As to the blackout part...well, I admit that I don't take that one very well. I've been tempted to scream: "It happened and I know because I was there as the Acknowledgements section to the book says and the photos on my website prove!!!" But I don't because I really don't want to be known for being a big 'ole jerk. ::Sigh:: Instead, I remember that the blackout seemed unbelievable to me when it happend, thank the reader and explain.

      If someone ever points out missing pages, grammar mistakes or spelling stuff - well, Jennifer is right in that sometimes those things show up after you've checked the edits 400 times. But, you apologize, say "oops" or whatever and move on. If I'm wrong on the facts or history or something then people should tell me. That's part of my job to get that stuff right, and if I get it wrong I need to acknowledge that fact like James did. To the extent I get a chance to fix stuff like that in a second printing, I would.

      Good question!

      By Blogger HelenKay, at 9/02/2006 01:29:00 PM  

    7. LOL! I made a doozy of a mistake that produced more than one letter from readers. It was with my second book A DIME NOVEL HERO, where I had the hero kicking a horse's withers. I can hear some of you laughing already--the withers is up between the shoulder blades of the horse. One reader, bless her heart, sent me an illustration of a horse with all the parts labeled. I'm not sure how that happened since yes, I really do know the location of a horse's withers. To this day, I get embarrassed about my faux pas.

      By Anonymous Maureen McKade, at 9/02/2006 01:32:00 PM  

    8. I was actually going to rant about typos on Monday, if my internet cooperated. I've just finished Ruth Wind's The Diamond Secret, and the errors! *shakes head in despair* Achellies' heel? OMG!

      But yeah, I have emailed (as a reader) authors about research errors.

      I don't on typos, because my writer friends have explained to me that it's unnatural that my first drafts are spelling error free.

      By Blogger May, at 9/02/2006 01:36:00 PM  

    9. No one has ever written me about errors in my books, but I seem able to find them all by myself. When I got the first printed copy of my first book, I sat down and admired it, then opened to a random page- just for the narcissistic pleasure, I guess. And there, right on the middle of the page, was a typo. Not huge, but it jumped off the page at me and I wanted to cry for a second. It wasn't in my manuscript, and it wasn't on the galleys (yes, I kept them). Just bad luck. Not all "editing" errors are the editor's (or the author's) fault.

      As to research errors, no one has pointed any out to me yet, but if someone did, I'd be interested. Hopefully the person would also send me some new sources of information for future research. But once the book is printed, there's nothing I can do. The publisher would be HIGHLY unlike to let me change the text then; if it's a small mistake, it wouldn't be worth the effort, and if it's a big mistake, it would cause big problems with revised pagesetting, etc. I believe Eloisa James was in a different position with her publisher when they allowed her to make major changes to her book, and then it was between hardcover and paperback editions.

      Now, as a reader, I have seen mistakes in books. I'm sure there are other mistakes I missed because I just didn't know they WERE mistakes. Some things I've thought were mistakes turned out to be solid facts. Truth sometimes is stranger than fiction. I've never emailed an author, though, because I don't want to (a) turn out to be wrong, and look like a moron; or (b) find I have mistaken deliberate artistic license for carelessness, and look like a moron. It's a novel, and if the story works for me, that's what I care about.

      By Anonymous Caroline Linden, at 9/02/2006 01:57:00 PM  

    10. Sybil, good questions!

      I think a book can have errors no matter how hard you try. The eye doesn't always link up with the brain, unfortunately. I remember in one of my early books, I was getting ready to send the galleys back and flipped through the pages, and there--still can't believe it was on the page after a gazillion eyes had read it--was my heroine opening the door to some fancy party guests wearing a "topless" dress!

      Do you want to be told?

      Sure, why not? But by the time I hear of a mistake, it's generally too late to fix it, so all hearing about it does is make me feel dumb. One of my beauties was in ROOM 33, where I interchanged names within a scene. Sto-o-pid, but not only didn't I catch it, neither did the copy editor.

      Have you ever received such a letter or email?

      A couple of readers called me on the name thing, a couple didn't like my using the F-word, but overall, my reader mail has been terrific. And it's wonderful how it can come on a day when the writing's a slog, and you're wondering what the heck your doing trying to be a writer. It is so much appreciated when a reader takes the time to write.

      What did you do with the information?

      I told my editor about the name mixup, but at that point there was no going back.

      Was the 'error' really a mistake and did you write back to tell them it wasn't?

      I always write back to readers--always. I love them to bits, whether they hate my using the F-word or not. I don't know if that would change--say if you got a rash of insulting/critical emails, or if you had a zillion books in print--but for now hearing from a reader is like a gift. :-)

      Can you request to have information changed if the book goes into a second (third... so on...) print or if the book is reissued?

      I believe you can certainly do this, but might not get it done unless the error was egregious. (Love that word!) If it's minor, I'm not sure a publishing house would bother. But so far I can't speak from personal experience on this one.

      By Anonymous EC Sheedy, at 9/02/2006 02:04:00 PM  

    11. I've gotten letters - one all the way from England that was sent to Harlequin and eventually found me. Just to tell me where I'd screwed up.

      I get a wee bit sulky, but not much, then I write back with a thanks.

      The part that's sad to me is that the economics of books these days mean less editorial - frustrating for the authors, for the editors and for the readers. If the books are out, there's not a thing I can do to make things better.

      I know I'm going to get mail about the Delta Force heros in my new series, but I did so, SO much research, only to learn that certain "facts" weren't facts at all. ::sigh:: What can a poor writer in the boonies do?

      Great dialogue, thanks!

      By Blogger Jo, at 9/02/2006 02:18:00 PM  

    12. Sigh. I just lost my huge response. Effing Blogger!

      I haven't had anyone contact me yet -- for typos and such, I think I'd just mark them down and reply with, 'oops' and apologize. I know I've looked over and over for them, but there will always be another. I've caught several in the trade anthology I was in, and when I get the galleys for the mass-market, I'll definitely be checking to see that they've been fixed. But that doesn't mean the mass-market will be error-free, of course.

      Historical inaccuracy, I would like to know about. I've researched as much as I know to research, but there are some things I just don't know that I don't know them (if that makes any sense). If someone wants to take the time to tell me, it really only benefits me.

      I'd definitely put up an acknowledgement of the error on my website (I already plan to have a huge list of notes in anticipation of some questions.)

      But even historical inaccuracy, such as a date, I've recently found might just creep in for odd reasons. The first part of my manuscript takes place in 1217, but the copy editor changed it to 1207. I understood the reasoning (to make the span of time between the two parts an even 800 years) but if I hadn't noticed the change, I'm certain I'd have gotten a ton of e-mail telling me I didn't know my history (particularly as the Magna Carta and baron's rebellion plays a large part in it).

      So, yeah -- I'd love to hear. It doesn't hurt anything, except maybe a little bit of my ego.

      As a reader, I've e-mailed a couple of authors and said, "woot, I love you!" but never corrected them on anything.

      Meljean

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/02/2006 02:27:00 PM  

    13. We do occasionally (speaking of typos, where's the spellcheck on this comment form? lolol) get emails about typos. On a couple of occasions, we've had emails from people who've said the books are "riddled" with errors and then offered themselves as potential employees. But when asked to provide specific examples in the book they point to, they never email us back. Hmmm. Draw your own conclusions there ;)

      But we do have readers who write to both us (as the publisher or editor) and the author to tell of a specific error. We welcome this. I don't think there's a book in existance that goes out error free, no matter how many eyes are on it.

      With ebooks, it's not quite as simple as you might think to change them (it involves reformatting the book in all its format, which is time consuming and tedious), so we tend to save the corrections and do them at the same time print galleys are done, or until there are several corrections to make. Sometimes,if the correction is minor (a missing letter or punctuation mark) we don't make the change at all, because truthfully, when you weigh the time involved to change all of the formats, versus a minor error, the minor error is the lesser of two evils.

      As for huge inaccuracies, I recently had another author email me (since i'm senior editor) about historical inaccuracies she'd seen in a book (she blogged about it recently, so you might be able to track her down). It was amusing to me (maybe because I didn't write or edit the book and because she ended up retracting one of her corrections, lol) and I passed them to the editor. It will be up to the author if she wants to change them, but again, it's just not always as easy as we'd like.

      I think, in those cases, it's a lesson to both the author and editor about the importance of research.

      By Blogger Angie, at 9/02/2006 02:36:00 PM  

    14. Do you want to be told?
      It all depends. I mean, if it's a question about WHY I did something ina story. Then Yes, I love to talk about it and I don't mind explianing something or getting into a discussion with a reader.
      If they just want to point out typos. I could do without hearing about it. It's just frustrating because I know the book has gone through so many hands and so many editors and copyeditors and prooffing, and things are still slipping through? It sucks, and there's nothing I can do about it after that so I hate to feel useless and stupid.

      Have you ever received such a letter or email?

      I got one email about an incorrect call in one of the poker games in BOUND. It was frustrating becasue I am not apoker player, and I had the poker book out when I wrote the scenes, and I had a guy that is a dealer and knows poker very well read the scenes for me when I was done, to make sure they were right. And he never caught it...but a reader did. *shrug* I feel I did do all I coudl to make it right, yet, I'm human...and I can't change it now...although I was tempted to make the mistake a contest question LOL I can laugh at my mistakes, most of the time .:)


      Can you request to have information changed if the book goes into a second (third... so on...) print or if the book is reissued?
      I have no idea, but if it goes to another printing I WOULD like to correct it now that I know about it.

      By Blogger Sasha White, at 9/02/2006 04:02:00 PM  

    15. No matter how many times you look at a manuscript it's always going to have something wrong in it. It's inevitable and you see it far and wide. So sure I appreciate it!

      One of the people I use for proofing is someone who wrote me after Triad to point something out, in fact!

      But it's a double edged thing sometimes. I once had a review that claimed my book was filled with editing errors and made a suggestion that I seek out a new editor. I asked her to point them out as it wasn't anything I'd heard before. She said she would but I never heard from her again. As the book had gone through edits, critters, beta readers and two proofers when I got my print galley back, I was really curious to see what the errors were. Shrug. I take that with a grain but it's potentially harmful to lay out claims against an editor and a publisher in that way.

      Anyway, long answer but in short - yes I appreciate it! As a reader though I've never considered writing an author about it. I've written "I love your books!" notes though.

      By Anonymous Lauren, at 9/02/2006 04:08:00 PM  

    16. Hey, Sybil! Thanks for the heads up about this.

      Yes, I did have a reader once tell me there was an error in a book. It was the plural use of a name, ending in the letter S and she thought the apostrophe was placed incorrectly.

      However, it turns out there are two ways to do it and sometimes it depends on house style. I'm always happy to hear from readers, have no problem with them finding an error or even if they didn't like a book. I ALWAYS answer as soon as I can. And yes, I did notify my publisher and that's when I found out the apostriphe could be used either way--so I learned something in the process. LOL

      I can request that it be changed, definitely because I write e-books.

      Dakota :)

      By Anonymous Dakota Cassidy, at 9/02/2006 04:09:00 PM  

    17. I agree with the other authors who've replied - I absolutely don't mind having errors pointed out. But from the point of view of someone who has written several category novels, there's not much I can do with the info. Category books are only very rarely reissued (like if you're Nora Roberts), so the chance to change something just isn't there.

      That doesn't mean I don't want to know - because maybe the result will be that I won't make the same mistake in another book.

      By Blogger Nalini, at 9/02/2006 05:11:00 PM  

    18. As a reader, no, I've never written to an author about errors - typo or historical inaccuracies. First off, chances are I just don't pick them up. Second, even if I did, I'd figure I was wrong. Then if I was sure I was right and the book was wrong, I'd have to go research it. By that time if I was enjoying the book, I'd just say "oh well anyway" and proceed reading along. I hate having mistakes pointed out to me, specially if there is nothing I can do about it, so I figure they do too. The only time I write to authors - and I do very rarely actually - is if I really enjoyed the book and it has struck a chord with me

      By Blogger Kristie (J), at 9/02/2006 05:31:00 PM  

    19. I have emailed someone about an error but never got a reply back.

      And I did have one person email me about the way I'd spelled volcanologist in A Faerie Tale. It actually has two different spellings so I just emailed her and thanked her and kept it the way I had it. ;)


      From the publishing side of it, ebooks are pretty easy to change, and Angie pretty much hit the nail on the head, they email us, we change the mistake.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/02/2006 06:31:00 PM  

    20. Ugh, that was me, sorry. Blogger isn't cooperating.

      Tina Burns

      By Anonymous Tina, at 9/02/2006 06:31:00 PM  

    21. Great questions, Sybil. ;-)

      As a reader, I've never written an author about errors. Frankly, if I'm REALLY into the story, I don't see SMALL typos or punctuation errors (on first readings, at least). Authors and editors are human. I had a small paragraph show up in a newly-released e-book once that I'd marked for deletion on second edits. People make mistakes. And e-books are easy to fix.

      Do you want to be told?

      YES. I'm very particular about final product. And if it's something I've done unconsciously, I don't want to do it again. I've yet to receive such a letter or e-mail, however.
      I haven't done any historicals yet, though I've got a Victorian-era romance in the works. If I made a mistake, yes, I'd want to know. If it WASN'T a mistake, I might write them back--once--to POLITELY disagree, but that's it. No debating--and basically because I respond to every reader who goes out of their way to contact me anyway.

      Can you request to have information changed if the book goes into a second (third... so on...) print or if the book is reissued?

      I live for the day. LMAO!!

      By Anonymous raine, at 9/02/2006 06:37:00 PM  

    22. I have never had a reader write me about errors in my book. Most of the letters I receive are about how much they enjoyed the book and if there's a sequel. I did have a reviewer point one in an earlier work. I was a little bit embarrassed (how could I have missed that one?) and eventually changed it in the print version. I guess that's the beauty of ebooks. LOL. It can be fixed.
      I welcome comments, good or bad. I think a big part, too, is how it's delivered or said. I always make it a point to be polite, and I always write back.
      Great question, Sybil!

      By Blogger Beverly Havlir, at 9/02/2006 06:50:00 PM  

    23. Hmmm...

      I haven't received any such emails yet, but then I haven't had a historical pubbed yet. When The Black Dragon is released, I do expect at least one, just because that's the kind of thing I expect. I took a historical liberty in the book and although I'm hoping to add an Author's Note to explain it, I'm sure somebody will say something.

      In general I try to avoid situations that may cause problems. In my first book ever (never subbed anywhere) I had the heroine riding sidesaddle in 1265. Technically, this is actually correct(!). Original source materials from as far back as the 12th century mention Empress Matilda riding "like a man" and the scandal that caused. However, knowng that most people believe the popular myth of the sidesaddle being introduced in the 15th century, I removed it rather than worry about what someone might think.

      I research very, very carefully.


      I've never written to an author ab out errors, though. I generally either decide it's historical license and not a big deal, or I decide the book is junk and stop reading.


      I'd sure want to be told, though! If only to defend myself. But I'd much rather know and have a discussion than have someone write me off. I would love to have a discussion about that sort of thing-we history geeks tend to enjoy that stuff. :-)

      By Blogger December Quinn, at 9/02/2006 06:58:00 PM  

    24. I've never emailed an author for anything. Wait, that's not true - I emailed Jill Shalvis to ask if an upcoming book was a sequel to a book I was in the process of reviewing because if it was I would have plugged it. It wasn't.

      I've never emailed an author for anything book-related because at the end of the day I have too many other things to do. Though I did seriously consider emailing Stephanie Rowe to gush about DMBOMT. I fought through the urge though.

      By Anonymous Jay, at 9/02/2006 08:07:00 PM  

    25. Blogger won't let me delete my extraneous comment. Sorry, Sybil, I have no idea how that happened.

      By Blogger December Quinn, at 9/02/2006 08:27:00 PM  

    26. I love hearing from readers. I take the good and squirrel it away for a day I need it, and I do the same with the bad. If I'm getting the same complaint from a lot of readers then it's time to take a look at what I'm doing wrong.

      However -- I'm not changing how I write because someone doesn't like it. I answer all my fan mail unless my spam filter kills it first. The only one I haven't answered is one from a woman who sent me an email detailing every *mistake* she found in one of my books -- page by page. I didn't reply because, frankly, I was angry. Most of what she sent me were personal preferences. Some were grammatical and some were legit --I have no problem admitting that. But to point out a sentence and tell me I shouldn't have written it that way...well, it rubbed. lol. If I'm wrong, I appreciate being told, but my voice is my voice.

      Also, I've had reviewers and readers tell me I got facts wrong and I hadn't. One time when that happened I emailed the review site and they changed the review. It was all done very nicely.

      That said, I appreciate honesty. If my book didn't work for you, and you feel the need to tell me, fine.

      By Anonymous Kathryn S., at 9/03/2006 12:25:00 AM  

    27. OK, they say third time is a charm, right, and now I've read your little note, so...

      The only person to ever point out mistakes in my books is my Mom. I know in the e-version of A Walk on the Wild Side, a characters name changes at one point. It was supposed to be fixed for the print version but I admit I've been too chicken to look.

      I want mistakes to be pointed out in my books. A lot of them are "brain fart" moments that you want to kick yourself for and on any other day you (and your editor, and proofreader, etc) would have found, but for some reason that day, the errors weren't found.

      Other things, I'd be learning things that I didn't know so how can that be bad.

      I admit I'm not perfect.

      I blogged on my own blog yesterday about bad proofreading in public places (movie theater slides are THE WORST). I always want to tell theater managers about the mistakes, but the hubster usually calms me down.

      Still, shouldn't someone be told?

      By Anonymous Emma Sinclair, at 9/03/2006 09:51:00 AM  

    28. Hi Sybil--thanks for letting me know about this. :-)

      Editing is so tough for both writer and editor because we tend to see what we know should be there, rather than what is actually there. Our eyes often skim past errors because our mind’s eye has mentally corrected the mistake and glosses over it.

      First--as a reader, yes, I’m usually very aware of typos, editing errors and inaccuracies. Most books have a few but when they pop up with too much frequency it pulls me out of the story. I think this comes from my long history as an editor. Sometimes it’s hard for me to simply sink into a story without examining it to death. LOL

      Second--from an author’s standpoint, the answer is an unqualified YES. I absolutely do appreciate it when a reader brings an error to my attention. Even if the reader is incorrect and it’s not actually an error, I wouldn’t mind because that shows me they care enough about my work to read it and offer their support. I try to write and turn in my books as edit-free as possible but, inevitably, I’ll catch some really blatant mistakes and then my editors will find a few more.

      These are usually flat-out stupid errors that I’ve overlooked. When I discover them or they’re pointed out to me I simply cringe with embarrassment because I immediately recognize them as wrong. The most recent case is when my editor caught “shoe you out” when it should have been “shoo.” What a dunderhead! (Me, not the editor.) LOL

      I’ve only been contacted once by a reader about an error and I still remember my mortification. This was about six years ago. I had one of my characters clacking away on her finger cymbals…except that I typed the word “symbols” instead. Not once, mind you, but each time I made reference to them. Ack! Of course I knew better and knew the difference. What makes this worst of all is that I was the book’s editor. Yup. Ask me if that taught me a lesson or not. LOL This was an ebook. The error was changed immediately and redistributed to all booksellers. And, yes, I sent the reader a letter thanking her for pointing out the error. We had a good laugh about it and she’s still one of my loyal readers.

      By Blogger Daisy Dexter Dobbs, at 9/03/2006 10:03:00 AM  

    29. Alison! You married a fan! How LKH of you *g*. Should we worry? hee

      Pam: How great that you were able to fix it off an excerpt! Which book, if I can ask ;).

      Jennifer: See that is one reason I asked... I wouldn't have thought it was expensive to fix a print proof but I know nothing of the process.

      Jill: I am thinking reader send in the good letters more often than the bad.

      Jaci: Good luck with the MM! Even though I have a hate for RT it looks good. And isn't it time for you to write a historical ;).

      By Blogger sybil, at 9/03/2006 10:55:00 AM  

    30. HK: Yes Eloisa did, really twice if you think about the last book but that was a lil different. And she did something about both, which I think is grand.

      I have to admit I was thinking about that when I posted as well as your blackout ;).

      There are a few pages missing in a book or two in Mary Balogh books and she has them posted on her website. I think that is tre cool.

      Maureen: that is one of those mistakes I would have never caught... but that susian would have emailed you over ;)

      May: I will look for the post!

      Caroline: your A and B are the two big reasons why I wouldn't do it ;)

      EC: I promise to adore you no matter how many times you say fuck in your books. Honest, I am good reader like that ;).

      Jo: Good luck with the Delta Force books, since I know nothing about them I won't even notice ;).

      Meljean: Sorry... bad blogger, go to your room! If it makes you feel better you weren't the only one to lose their post yesterday. Or today...

      That sucks about the time change, you were able to fix it?

      Angie: Thanks! I knew you have the info on ebooks ;). I don't know if blogger has a spell check thing... will have to look.

      Sasha: did you tell the guy he missed it ;)

      Lauren: oddness, I would think she doesn't count *g*

      Dakota: hey! Maybe it is easier to do with publisher than other? Glad you learned you were right ;)

      Nalini: or Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard... but who knows maybe your categories will go into reprint now that you rock in paranormals ;)

      Kristie: me too

      Tina: sorry about blogger but thanks for trying again!

      Raine: Victorian-era romance... do tell

      Beverly: I can't imagine you ever being not polite.

      December: I agree it can lead to interesting discussion!

      Jay: I can so see you sending a wiggly email to Rowe ;)

      Kathryn: Which book got the page by page? Historical or paranormal? You know how historical readers can be ;)

      Emma: if it can be changed I agree with you... tell them... just don't tell the hubby

      Daisy: shoe is funny... hee glad she caught it for you.

      Thanks for all the great comments!

      By Blogger sybil, at 9/03/2006 11:46:00 AM  

    31. I really dislike books that are historically inaccurate, so I work very, very hard to ensure my books are representative of the era in which I write. However, I did make one blooper (I'm sure I've made more than one, but this is the only one I remember right now! *smile*), of which a reader very kindly pointed out. It occurred in Gabriel's Woman, and wasn't a major thing, thank the gods, but still, to someone who is a stickler about historical accuracy, it was a bit embarrassing. Toward the end of GW, I make a fleeting reference to helium filled balloons. Helium, the reader pointed out, wasn't "invented" until the early 20th century (GW takes place in 1886).

      In my defense, there is a c1870 painting in which a man with a tall canister (very much like the helium canisters used today) is airing balloons for children in a park. I remembered the painting when writing that scene in GW, and did a quick search on helium. Bingo! Helium had been discovered in 1868; hence, I assumed (I know, bad me!) that balloons could be filled with helium in the latter 19th century. Come to find out, while it had been identified and named in 1868, it wasn't used until the early 20th century.

      That same reader wrote that she was a costume designer for a theatrical company, and pointed out that the corset Victoria wore toward the end was wrong, as all corsets were strapless. I thanked her for correcting me about the helium, but wrote back that corsets did indeed exist with straps in 1886, as Victoria's corset was taken from a reproduction of Bloomingdale's Illustrated 1886 Catalog. It was a nice letter, and I was glad that we were both able to learn something from each other.

      As for typos. . . . In the old days, an author's manuscript had to be manually typeset. As a result - as Jennifer Ashley pointed out - errors that did not stem from the author routinely found their way into print. Jennifer also pointed out that it's unlikely a publisher is going to go back and correct a few typos, as it would mean the manuscript would have to be typeset again.

      I used to be much more critical of books that had blaring typos, but am much more forgiving now. Publishing is a business, and in the end, it's the Almighty Dollar that counts. Once my books are printed, I don't read them, simply because if I see a typo or a text change that an editor or production may have made at the last minute (and believe me, it does happen!) or else did not carry through corrections I made in the copy-edit, I get literally sick to my stomach. A perfect example of that occurred with the 1995 edition of Awaken, My Love. I used the word yantra, only to have the copy-editor change it to mantra. I changed the copyedited manuscript back to yantra. Alas, in the galleys it was still "mantra." I explained to my editor that there is a big difference between yantra and mantra, and to please make sure that the final print uses yantra. Needless to say, the 1995 edition was printed with "mantra."

      But to answer more succinctly. . . . I hope readers do write me (and other authors) about historical inaccuracies (although history is very subjective, and probably even though a reader is looking at one source which says such and such is wrong, an author's research books will say that it's correct), but a reader is better off writing to the publisher when it comes to typos, because that really is a production problem, and not the fault of the author.

      By Anonymous Robin Schone, at 9/03/2006 12:51:00 PM  

    32. If you do, why?
      Have you ever received a note back from the author?


      I emailed Eloisa James about an error that I found while reading the one about Rafe and Imogen. She mixed Imogen and Annabel's names or something like that, I think. Anyway, she emailed me back graciously and thanked me for pointing it out and offered to send me a free copy of that book with Josie.

      By Blogger Bam, at 9/03/2006 02:11:00 PM  

    33. Sybil, it was SURRENDER and had to do with the fate of the MacKinnon Clan at Culloden. They weren't devastated the way so many other hielan' clans were.

      Robin S. — I enjoyed reading your narrative about the hair-splitting of historical research with regard to helium. I found myself trying to decide whether to use the word "tumpline" after I learned it didn't enter common usage until a decade after the period in which SURRENDER was set. In the end, I opted to use it because I figured the men fighting on the frontier probably had a word for it before the term entered common usage. I thought I had seen it in a Colonial frontiersman's diary, though when I rushed through my notes I couldn't find it. (I was in the middle of galley edits.)

      So Sybil, why did you bring this up? Did you recently come across a book that made you think, "EGADS!"

      By Anonymous Pamela Clare, at 9/03/2006 02:14:00 PM  

    34. I see errors in books all the time, but unless the book sucked great big hairy donkey balls, I usually don't give them a second thought. Editing errors only piss me off if the book is crap.

      I generally only write to authors if I've really enjoyed a book they've written, it wouldn't occur to me to tell them about any spelling mistakes or editing errors that I'd found in the book.

      When it comes to hystericals, I'm pretty much a sponge, and if I'm told that Mary Queen of Scots was a saintly woman who was treated no better than a ho by the dastardly English, then I'm happy to go with that version.

      Hey Syb, you got Robin Schone on here, I'm about to release my Inner Rabid Fangirl, Sqeeeeee!

      By Anonymous Karen Scott, at 9/03/2006 04:32:00 PM  

    35. As author, yes, I've alrasy gotten a few email that pointed out a few typos that got left in the eBook version of Midnight Sun. I nearly died, but trucked on and (hopefully) caught them all in the print version. Did I appreciate it? Asoluetly! I even wrote back to those readers and thanked them for lettig nme know about them.

      As a reader, no, I've never written an author whsoe books I found mistakes in, typo or otherwise.

      By Blogger Rene Lyons, at 9/03/2006 05:47:00 PM  

    36. Sybil:

      Wonderful questions. Wonderful site.

      Do you want to be told?

      I've received emails before about certain historical inaccuracies in my books. These I very much appreciate especially if I am on a series and I can do something to fix the problem. Finding grammar errors are cringe-inducing and unfortunate for me as the writer because there is nothing I can do. I have discovered that no matter how many times and how many people go over each draft of the book, trust me we are talking a lot of people, it stills seems as if errors slip through the cracks. No author wishes for her/his book to be filled with errors. One error is too much, and I've made a few doozies that can never be changed. But in the end, my goal is always to write the very best story I can. I am always passionate about my books and can only hope no book I write, especially if it has an error will be construed by the reader as something that is half an effort on my part. I abhor mistakes. More so because I do soooooooo much research on a book to get things right. (I had a huge mistake in, In My Heart.) If anyone read that book, they know what it is. It doesn't matter how it came about, but it did. LOL. Now I have to live with it. But I still loved that book. So bottom line. Mistakes do happen. But they do not happen because publishers and authors are lazy and do not care. We love our readers. :-)
      ********************************

      Have you ever received such a letter or email?

      Yes I have and I prefer this mode of communication rather than on a public forum, especially when a reader points out a historical inaccuracy, which 99% of the time is not. It is that 1% that is really important and I will correct the problem in a series book where I can still do something.

      *********************************

      Can you request to have information changed if the book goes into a second (third... so on...) print or if the book is reissued?

      No. It is difficult enough to try and get something changed once it reaches the galley stage. I'd have to wait until I get rich and famous and the book gets re-released by a publisher, THEN maybe I can make changes. LOL.

      By Anonymous Melody Thomas, at 9/03/2006 06:23:00 PM  

    37. I've been lucky (so far) not to get any letters pointing out mistakes in my books. Would I like to know? If it's a typo, no - most books have a typo or small error somewhere. If it's a research mistake then yes, I'd like to hear about it, as long as the reader was polite and supported her point with personal experience or a reference to a research book or website.

      When I spot a research issue in a book I'm reading, I'll sometimes think about telling the author, but I never do. I did have a nice fantasy conversation with Dan Brown midway through Angels and Demons, tho...

      By Anonymous Joy Nash, at 9/03/2006 07:08:00 PM  

    38. Sybil, it was a historical. But it wasn't the history she had a problem with. It was style. I would have responded if she hadn't basically told me how I SHOULD be writing! lol.

      By Blogger Kathryn S, at 9/03/2006 08:18:00 PM  

    39. As a reader, I'm probably one of the most critical people you'll find. I absolutely HATE inaccuracies, typos and grammitically incorrect sentences.

      A good example of this is Christine Feehan's Dangerous Tides, her lates Drake Sisters novel. Every other page was some inconsistancy or typo. It pulled me out of the story like you wouldn't believe. I'm UBER anal about things like that.

      But I've never emailed an author about it. Why? Because I know they can't do anything about it after it's in print. I feel like my emailing them to point out a mistake would be nothing but an insult. If I were test-reading for an author - or something similar - I would have no problem pointing out issues like that. I just don't see the point in saying something AFTER the fact.

      Actually, now that I think on it, the occasional typo doesn't bother me. It happens. How could it not. No matter who you are, when you type there are going to be errors. And I understand that editors and authors alike have a lot to deal with, so it makes sense that they can't catch everything.

      But the big things? I just can't stand them. A book I might have loved I'll give a bad review for constant errors.

      I know I'm the minority here, though. I'm just extremely anal. Most of my friends don't even NOTICE half of the things I do. LOL I suppose it's just my curse. ;)

      By Blogger Holly, at 9/03/2006 10:27:00 PM  

    40. Syb, you are the bomb. Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Robin Schone. It's like the who's who of romance can be found here.

      I tried commenting before and was rebuffed by blogger twice. I don't email authors because I got the sense a few years ago from some message boards/mailing lists that authors were participating in that they really weren't interested in negative feedback.

      I remember Dallas Schultze on the Laurell K Hamilton yahoo group actually mocking reader email she received (who does the reader think she is. I'm the writer not her). And I know of one NYT Bestselling author who has her emails screened and does not read the negative emails at all.

      So no, I am not sharing my unhappiness with the author personally. I do share it with the rest of the internet world though.

      By Anonymous Jane, at 9/04/2006 09:36:00 AM  

    41. Jane, I used to love Dallas Schulze, oh how my idols fall!

      Syb, I hate Beta Blogger.

      By Anonymous Karen Scott, at 9/04/2006 05:57:00 PM  

    42. Do you want to be told?

      ***Well, yes and no. I'd like to know, but on the other hand, the book's finished and printed, I can't change it now (probably.) It depends on the error, I guess.

      Have you ever received such a letter or email?

      No, but my father in law pointed out some things to me. And I KNOW there is a HORRID HORRID HORRID and embarrassing typo in Passion Model that haunts me to this day but I can't change it. I know about it and yet not one person has emailed me to say they noticed.

      What did you do with the information?

      Nothing from my FIL but say "thanks for telling me."

      M
      www.meganhart.com

      By Blogger Megan, at 9/04/2006 09:23:00 PM  

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