I submitted the second edit of “Saturn in Retrograde” last night. I have a bad habit of holding onto them until the very last minute, which I’m sure the editors just love. This time, there were some questions the editor had about the repercussions of the sequence of events. I made some tweaks to clear a couple things up, but it is, after all, a time travel story. There are bound to be paradoxes, and I didn’t worry about them too much. It’s not a comedy, but it’s intended to be lighthearted fun. The editor seemed to think it all came together nicely at the end, with a lot of weird little moments sprinkled throughout the story (foreshadowing) suddenly being explained, and that’s what I was shooting for.
Only a few hours after I submitted my edits, the galley proof came back to me. Now my job is to go through with a microscope and try to catch any dropped words or incorrect words — things that always seem to be missed, no matter how many times you and the editors go through the text.
There is a misconception (and a rather petty one) that eBooks are always badly edited. While I have certainly come across a fair share of eBooks that are, it isn’t necessarily the case. When compared to mainstream publishers, I do think eBook publishers tend to have more errors, but this is largely because mainstream publishers have a much slower schedule, putting out just a few books per year, whereas eBook publishers may put out hundreds of books in a year. This isn’t because eBook publishers are “book mills,” as the critics like to call them. It’s because the returns on eBooks are much smaller (initially, although the shelf life of an eBook is much longer than a paperback or hardcover), and if your competitors are putting out hundreds of books a year, you can’t afford to just put out a few.
I do find editing mistakes in mainstream publications. It happens. If it happens a bit more frequently in eBooks, it’s not because the editors aren’t good. It’s simply that they have a faster-paced schedule. However, the great thing about eBooks is that, if a mistake is found after publication and reported to the editors, it can be changed fairly easily, so that the next person who downloads it won’t see the same error. In fact, if you purchase an eBook, most publishers will allow you to download it again, so you have a chance of getting the “patched” version.
What I don’t get is the attitude that, if you discover a few editing mistakes in a novel, it totally kills the pleasure of reading the novel. What kills the pleasure of reading a novel for me is the novel itself. If it’s written awkwardly, so that I simply can’t read more than a chapter without being constantly aware of the stilted prose, or if the characters are simply unlikable, or the plot is dull. Typos…not so much.
But of course I don’t want typos in my own novels, so I’ll spend the next few days trying to prevent that from happening.