Today's topic comes from Rick Starkey. Rick asked:
"I sometimes read books of others and leave reviews. I know that errors can slip through the publishing process, but should these be mentioned to the author? Is it fixable in the ebook version? Can it be fixed before the print version is printed? Or is it something the author probably already knows about and has to accept?"
This is a tricky subject, and here's why. A lot of authors, including me, refuse to read the finished book once it's out in the world. The reason is we are afraid of finding things we'll want to change. There comes a point where you have to accept the book is finished. Personally, I don't want to read my book and find a missing comma or typo. I'd cry because I know how much editing goes into all my books. But…editors are humans too. We do occasionally make mistakes. It's been proven that the human brain can read misspelled words and even insert missing words into sentences. Things happen. Even after you have an entire team of editors reading your book.
So, do you as a reader point out an error to the author? Well, if he/she is traditionally published, the print and ebook probably released simultaneously, which means that the first print run is already done. Those books cannot be changed. Things can be updated before the second print run, though. But ask yourself how you'd feel as the author if you knew thousands of copies of your book were in the hands of readers and that those copies contained an error. It's not a good feeling.
However… Did you know that was coming? If the author is self-published and/or using print on demand, these fixes are much easier. Files can be updated and there aren't thousands of print copies all over with mistakes in them. So telling an author in this situation could be very helpful to the author and publisher (if there is one).
But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you do find errors and feel the need to tell the author, do two things. First, make sure you are correct. Are you 110% certain it's an error? Second, contact the author PRIVATELY. Let me say that again. Contact the author PRIVATELY. Do not tell them in a review on Amazon or on their FB wall.
So, Rick, I hope that answers your question.
If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.