Errata, or “That List No Writer Wants To Make” 07/28/2011

er·ra·ta

2. a list of errors and their corrections inserted, usually on a separate page or slip of paper, in a book or other publication; corrigenda.

**

That word, “errata” is one every published writer must become familiar with.  The industry uses it to describe errors, and then list them.  Which brings me directly to my point.  I finally had the opportunity to purchase and take a look at my book Western Legend on the free Kindle application.  I don’t have a Kindle, but you can download their app for free and use it to read e-books on any PC.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me take you back a few weeks.  You see … either the Publisher got swamped, or they waited until the last minute to assign me an editor, because there was a palpable feeling that we were rushing to get this thing out on time.  Now come forward to the end of July, and me dreading taking yet another look at this thing in yet another format — I had already gone over the pdf, and the grammatical and sentence structure errors I found there, left me dumbfounded.  But I knew this would happen.  Stephen King had discussed this many, many years ago as being common place, and I still had that anecdote in the back of my head.  And to be fair, these errors cannot simply be thrown on the Publisher’s doorstep.  I went through it, too; wasn’t just the fault of the Publisher’s editors.

But, I was hoping for no nasty surprises in the Kindle version.

Keep on dreaming, Jimbo.  I’d had this gut feeling that something else was gonna pop up while reading through it.  And, my instincts turned out to be correct.  Moments ago, I was horrified to discover a glowing blue footnote link — which when clicked, leads to a blank page.  LOL !

Please see the following text in Chapter 4: An excitement on main …

**

“Ahhh…well, joined up for the War, in Florida — had myself a bout with malaria. Rode over to Navasota; visit some people. On my way up to Denver now, do some damage to the place.” 

“You keep a pigeon hole up there?” Virgil asked.

Tom nodded. “As well, yea.”[i]   <——– THAT RIGHT THERE !! 

That’s the little varmint !  

**

That was originally a number, in place as a footnote, back when the book was submitted with the footnotes intact.  The publisher mentioned nothing about their practice of not including footnotes when they agreed to publish the book, but that’s another matter.  So they moved them all to the back of the book.  Problem was, they had no context there.  Footnotes are external information, which have to be connected to the passage they reference, in order to have meaning.  And traditionally, they are placed at the footer of the page.  But, alas, word comes down from the Publisher, “no footnotes.”

So the publisher moved them to the rear of the book, and I naturally elected to simply remove them, altogether to avoid embarrassment.  And I can always replace them and resubmit the book elsewhere at a later date, so it isn’t really that much of an issue.  However, when the publisher accidentally left that little [i] there — they created an issue.  Some people will get frustrated when they click on something like that and get a blank page.  I did, and then spent several minutes trying to get back to where I was, in the book !

For those of you who’ve had this experience already, or for those of you who will eventually come across it while reading my e-book —  I humbly apologize for this error.  I know it’s irritating, because it irritated the shit outta me.

I had earlier found an additional error in the pdf, which also embarrasses me.  In Chapter 10: Street Fight, there is the mention of a small house, which figured prominently in the street fight in Tombstone, commonly referred to in pop culture as The Gunfight at the OK Corral.  The name of the house is actually “Harwood” house.  But due to some oversight, it reads: “Hardman.”  Given that there is a character earlier in the story named “Hardeman,” I can only assume that this was a change offered by Microsoft Word, that neither myself, nor the two editors I worked with caught.  “Hardman” is clearly the same as “Hardeman,” only without the “e.”  Clearly, when you’ve done the amount of research I did on this thing — even though it is just a pulp story — it is galling to find this kind of a novice error.  Lemme tell ya, folks, not a nice moment.

My point this hot and muggy Thursday is this: although I am very aware that this is not an unusual occurrence (I found similar errors in books I used for reference and research,) I am nonetheless, annoyed by it — as I’m sure the average reader will be, when they spot things like this.  So, if you have read my book and found additional items you believe to be errors, PALEEEEAASE do not hesitate to mention them in the comments selection below.

And now … for something completely different !

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