To Err is Human, to Accept and Adapt is Good Business

Everyone says he loves you. Wait, that’s a different advice column.

Everyone says if you going to self-publish (or start a publishing company to publish your book and hopefully others), you need to pay people to do the things that matter–a professional cover designer, a professional editor, beta readers, and a professional social marketer.

I can take advice just like the next guy. So, I went on to Fiverr and found an amazing designer for my cover. I got a number of beta readers. I found someone to format my book and generate the files for ebook and paperback distribution.

I also looked for an editor. I really did. I saw how expensive they were and weighed that against the fact that I have an MFA in Writing, an MA in English, and years of experience as a Technical Writer. My beta readers were great content editors. I plugged every logical hole I or they could find. During the process of revising from these inputs, I started to like my book.

Yet, no editor appeared. So, I decided to put on a new hat and edit myself.

I did two passes–one forward and one backwards. I then passed the document off to the professional manuscript formatter. Then I did another proofreading. And, one last one.

I decided that it was time. I was going to launch my book. I was done, come what may. I set my sights on the next one, Book Two (which I’m hoping to put out early next year).

I pressed “publish”.

Then, the murmurs started rolling in. “I found a typo,” “I think you missed the verb tense,” “I know what you’re trying to say, but I think there is a missing word…”

I said to myself A few errors are ok. No one is perfect. I find errors in lots of published book. Keep looking forward.

I did not want to hear it. Book Two is outlined and moving forward according to schedule. My author copies arrived. My business cards showed up. My marketing plan begun.

Finally, I stopped and decided to listened. I opened up my book and started reading.  

There were more errors that I felt comfortable with. The product of my book was inferior. If I don’t fix it, my business will suffer.

So, I did another cycle of proofreading. I found and fixed more than a handful of issues. But, truthfully, not tons. But, enough. I asked people who contacted me about the errors that they saw. I asked for another proofreading from one of my beta readers. I made the fixes, sent the book back to my formatter, and uploaded all the different files to the distributors (it’s an easy process).

And, that is the lesson and the message.

Listen to your customers. Accept the truth (I went to market with an inferior product). Adapt your business activities and continually produce products that you worthy of your readers.

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