30 May 2017

Typo molehills deliberately made into mountains?

Remember Those Troublesome Typos I mentioned?

A couple of weeks back I posted an article about those troublesome typos that appear – as if by some mischievous act of magic – into our hard-worked work. We (authors that is) all have them, even the Top Big Writers at the Top Big Publishers; those pesky little slip-ups that sit there, hiding in the shadows then leap out, totally unnoticed, when the button is pressed to do the final print-run.

You may recall that I (one among many authors) was recently targeted by a troll-type spammer who advertises his proof reading business by sending out spam mail, mentioning his services and the typos he has found in XX book. These emails usually fall direct into the spam box, or even if they don’t their very nature screams ‘spam’ so are sent there forthwith via the delete or block button. Then, a short while later – hey presto, a derogatory comment, of 1 or 2 stars appears on Amazon as in:

“Out of courtesy, the author and the publisher were both contacted before this review was posted, but neither responded.”

No, of course I did not respond. I never respond to spam mail, especially when the theme and flavour is outright bullying.

This spam-person has targeted dozens of authors, to the extent that the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) recently issued an official Watchdog Warning against his unsavoury bullying tactics.

John Doppler wrote:

“During the first quarter of 2017, ALLi’s Watchdog Desk received several complaints about a company known as Proof Professor. The complaints were not about the proofreading services offered by the company. Rather, they described a troubling and consistent pattern of behaviour by Proof Professor’s founder, Matt Rance. In each case, Mr. Rance approached an author or publisher to offer their services, including a list of corrections Proof Professor could make to the prospect’s book. When the prospect politely declined or did not reply, Mr. Rance persisted, becoming increasingly hostile, even when the prospects made it explicitly clear that they wished no further contact…”


“The threat implicit in these reviews felt clear to their victims: pay me to fix your editing, or I will hurt your reputation. The actions we observed in the course of our investigation and the overall pattern of Proof Professor’s reviews seem to confirm this interpretation.”

Prior to the attack on myself I had been immensely proud of Pirates Truth and Tales, commissioned to write a non-fiction book about a subject I thoroughly enjoy, a recognition that I am a writer of worth, and actually being paid to write it – well, I was thrilled!

Then this roof person trashed my book.

I have attempted to make light of it, put on a brave face etc - the book does have a few major bloopers, some my fault (why on earth did I put Marie Celeste not Mary Celeste? Still, Conan Doyle made the same error…) and it does look like the publisher failed to do a final proof read to pick up those sly typos that wormed their way in. I did not get a final proof copy, the first time I saw the book in its final format was when it was printed and ready to go on sale, so yes, I am appalled, embarrassed and a bit cross that a proof read by the publisher was not undertaken – or maybe it was but the wrong file was printed? Either way there is nothing I can do about it until a new batch or the paperback is to be printed. 

But, let's put things into perspective here: are the errors really all that seriously appalling?

I am re-reading my book, searching for the 249 errors that this Proof Prof claimed to have found. I undertook this task with a heavy heart and a feeling of dread: how would I be able to continue marketing the book, hoping people would buy and read it when it was (apparently) littered with dozens and dozens of appalling errors? But face the inevitable I had to do, at least I would know to write the book off and wait for a second edition to be proud of instead... 


hang on a minute....

I am on page 250 (another 50 or so to go). I am the first to admit that it is not easy to spot your own errors (hence the essential element of using a professional editor) but so far I have found only 22 – that’s TWENTY TWO errors.

The remaining 227 must be contained in the forthcoming 50 or so pages… or … are totally unimportant and irrelevant!

Even assuming I’ve missed a similar amount of typos, that still only makes 44 errors out of 110,000 words. No, I’m not saying that is good, it would be nice to be typo free, but are minor things like a missing ‘ or, ‘off’ instead of ‘of’, or obvious editing slip-ups REALLY going to ruin the reader’s enjoyment as P.P. claims?

He highlights these errors on Amazon, making the book seem to be a heap of do-do:

- in the Timeline (p10) 1685 comes before 1684. [Yes a blooper that was missed]

- there are straightforward spelling mistakes: hansome (> handsome, p32); yeilded (> yielded, p34); rum and coke (> rum and Coke, p83); acolade (> accolade, p147).
- many proper names are incorrect: Isle of White (p268), You Tube (p283), Kings Lynn (p250), Kiera Knightly (p244). [Again, missed bloopers]
- verbs don’t agree with their subjects in terms of singular and plural: ‘the ship were in northern waters’ (p233); ‘The delight of this adventure story are…’ (p194); ‘Anne’s name and gender was widely known’ (p105). [Again, missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- plurals follow an indefinite article: ‘an East Indiamen’ (p144), and follow a singular demonstrative pronoun: ‘at the back of this books’ (p259).  [missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- there is consistent misunderstanding of how the hyphen is used to clarify meaning. [eh? Really?]
- ‘off’ and ‘of’ are confused (p164),  as well as homonyms such as ‘principle’/‘principal’.  [Again, missed bloopers on the publisher's part]
- apostrophes are misplaced and incorrectly reversed. [ditto]
- perfectly spelled words are nevertheless wrongly used to create an error: ‘as the ship goers down’ (p43), ‘[a] solution was set in placer’ (p177). [ditto]
- sometimes there is no spacing between words: ‘July1726’ (p284). [is this really a big deal? Worth trashing a book for?]
- the author twice misquotes the title of the book as ‘Pirates: Truth and Tale’ (p202, p319: the actual title on the cover and title page is '...Tales'), as well as styling one of her publishers, SilverWood as ‘Silverwood’ (p318). [publisher's error, not mine - but again is this really worth trashing a good book for? Do these really ruin the reading experience - assuming the reader even noticed in the first place?]

 Yes, P.P. is right, these errors are there; they should have been picked up in a final proof read that obviously hadn’t been done by the publisher, but is the reader really going to throw the book away in disgust because there is no space between July and 1726?

Has this guy really got nothing better to do than trash good books, upset good authors and rubbish their reputation - even their career - out of miffed spite because his original email was ignored? 

(And by the way, ‘The author’ (me) didn’t get the title wrong twice – the publisher only decided on Pirates: Truth and Tales a few days before going to press, I therefore had to leave it to their editor to fill in the gap in the text. Unfortunate4ly he left the company and obviously failed to do so...)

This Proof Prof, from what I gather, uses a software programme to pick up the errors. I assume he scans the book and runs it through his computer. To my mind, that is NOT editing, nor is it proper, professional proof reading because it is mechanical-based not human-based. (See my note at the end of this article.)

He mentions grammar errors, syntax errors etc, again all picked up by a soul-less pedantically picky machine. I have my own writing style, which does not conform to an English literary PhD level. I write in a chatty, informal style: I am happy to ‘Boldly Go’, not ‘Go Boldly’ because, even if it is, technically, incorrect, the former sounds more ‘human’ and friendly. I write to entertain, not to gain a literary degree. For the record, I went to Secondary School, I did not pass the 11-plus, I did not get ‘A’ levels, I have not been to college or university. I have got half a history degree – and a few bl**dy good novels under my belt – with or without pedantic typos.

Yes Picky Prof did upset me. In a nutshell he deliberately set out to trash my book and  p*ss on my parade with the intention of causing harm and distress – as he does with every other author he targets.

I have no quibble with a review or comment mentioning the missed typos – they ARE there, they are fact, but to do so in a snide, nasty, harassing manner? Well, that is 100% proof that this guy is nothing more than a cyber bully, and to quote Captain Hook, is 'not good form'. 

John Doppler said in his article: “While it’s evident that some of the books in question did have errors, that’s irrelevant to the manner in which Proof Professor solicited business. Harassment has no place in the business model of a reputable service, especially when it escalates to invading someone’s home and personal life.”
(Read his full report: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/proofprofessor-watchdog-advisory-complaints-reviews/  )

Has this horrid little man, 'P*ss Parader', damaged me? My reputation as an author, no. I think I have enough of an established readership for his pedantics to be of no consequence, but this particular book? Maybe he has because it has just been released in the US and with only two comments on Amazon.com, one positive and one his out-of-proportion sniping, readers who do not know my fiction might be put-off. Which is a shame because, although I say so myself, on reading it through again I have thoroughly enjoyed it! It is a good, entertaining book!

I wrote Pirates: Truth and Tales to inform in a light and entertaining way. It is a dip-in-and-out-of book, ideal for those passionate about pirates or those who have a mild interest. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and, damn it, no jumped-up snide little egotistical bully is going to spoil my enjoyment of something I am, overall, despite the very few bloopers, proud of!

All the same, I really would appreciate a few nice comments on Amazon if you have a moment or two to add one… Feel free to mention the missed typos, but maybe also mention how enjoyable and entertaining the book is?

And just as a comparison: I ran this article through an entire grammar and style check for Word.Doc using ALL the available features.

Apparently there are over 100 errors in the above text. Did you spot them? 
No, thought not.... that's because the check included very minor, picky issues that are, frankly, completely irrelevant. 
According to the software programme they are there, but no sensible human reader would notice, let alone care… 

(but if you do, well, I apologise for ruining your reading experience and quite understand that you’ve now smashed your computer in sheer frustration at my appalling writing….)

(Point proven, re Pirates T & T  though, I hope!)

Note: all typos in this article are there by accidental design... 

23 May 2017

The Fame Game by new author David Barker

Tuesday Talk today:
David Barker
I recently had two launch parties for my debut novel, Blue Gold. It’s published by Urbane, who recently won best independent UK crime publisher by World Wide Business Review. Two launch parties? Why not, I thought, it’s not often you get published for the first time. It’s about as Rock Star as I’ll ever get.
The first party was at Waterstones Piccadilly. Yes, the big daddy of UK bookstores. Which in itself caused a problem. There are at least three event spaces that are used on any given evening, and despite agreeing with the events manager beforehand which one I would use, they pulled a switch on me at the last minute. Not a problem in itself, except that I had issued very clear instructions to all my party attendees which now told them to go the wrong part of the six-storey building. Oh, and my event space hadn’t been hoovered yet and the person who was going to serve drinks was running late.

So, fifteen minutes before my launch party started, I was bustling around, trying to chivvy along the cleaner, get some hasty poster instructions done to guide my guests to this party, while also talking to an old friend who had turned up early for the party and couldn’t stay for long. Definitely not Rock Star. My plans for world domination (or at least a minor lift in my book sales) were looking decidedly shaky… Thanks to my lovely wife – who did most of the haring around at this point – it all went off fine in the end. Yes, a few guests went to the wrong place at first, but they quickly realised and managed to hunt me out.

It was lovely to see so many friends there from different aspects of my life. One of my writer chums – we were on the Faber Academy novel-writing course together – had her debut novel published at the start of the year. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land. It’s already a bestseller and is being sold across the world, with the full weight of Penguin’s marketing team behind it. It was fun – if a little envy-inducing – to compare notes in the pub afterwards about the differences in our marketing campaigns. Not that I begrudge Ali her success, she’s a brilliant writer with a distinctive voice.

My second launch party was two days later at Waterstones Windsor. You certainly can’t get lost in this store, although like the first party, there was a definite rush to get the store set-up for my party with only a few minutes to spare. I attend a Sci-Fi and Fantasy reading club every month at this store, so I know the staff well. I knew they were doing this on a Saturday evening as a favour for me, so I was keen to get lots of book sales through their till at least as part recompense.

I was fortunate enough to have an A-list film star come to this party (for his privacy I won’t name him here). I know that sounds unlikely, but he and his wife had moved into the road we live on at Christmas, and while he had been away for most of this year filming we got to know his wife. She was charming and very friendly and so we invited her to my launch party. As luck would have it, he returned from filming just in time and came along to show his support. I couldn’t believe my luck. Where were the journalists, the press photographers, to record this auspicious moment? Anyway, he was charming and I know that he came to my launch party to support me. That’s good enough.

This week, it’s back to real life and trying to market my book. As an author of an indie-published book, I know it’s not going to sell itself. The red carpet will have to wait.

Find out more about Blue Gold and me on my website:
About the Book
"The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat - a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. 
When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. 
Freda's misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster - a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires' tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? 
As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon - and protect the future of 'blue gold'."
Want a sneak peak? Click here
Buy on 
Amazon UK £8.99 £1.99
Amazon US $7.60 $2.58
Live in Devon? Near Plymouth? 
Meet David at Waterstones Drake Circus, Plymouth on 2nd June from 11am onwards.

16 May 2017

Finding the real people between the pages of history

My Tuesday Talk Guest: Melissa Addey

Sometimes a strange thing happens when you write historical fiction. You’ll invent something – a scene, a description, which you believe is entirely fictional and also, perhaps, taking a bit of poetic licence… and then you find out it is true. This happened to me most vividly when I wrote The Fragrant Concubine

The novel centres around a real woman in China in the 1760s.
When the Emperor of China conquered her homeland of Turkestan (now known as Xinjiang), he summoned a local Muslim woman to the Forbidden City to become his concubine.  It seems she was a favourite, being given gifts and promoted before being buried with all due honours on her death many years later. But many legends grew up around her.

In China, they say that she was naturally possessed of a fragrance so bewitching that the Emperor fell in love with her. She was homesick, but he built her a mosque and a bazaar, gave her a cook from her homeland and trees to remind her of home and finally she forgot her sadness, fell in love with him and they lived happily ever after. Her own people, now known as Uyghurs, say that on the contrary: she was a rebel and was dragged to court against her will, leaving behind her family and husband. That rather than submit to the Emperor, she swore she would kill herself and kept daggers in her sleeves to defend her honour. At last, fearing all of this was too much for her son’s happiness, the Empress Dowager arranged to have her strangled by a white silk scarf. I wrote The Fragrant Concubine because I wondered which story was true: the sad one or the happy one. The novel is about what might have happened and tries to incorporate all of these legends. 

While writing the novel, I added a scene where the Emperor and concubine go hunting together, something that I knew was a bit bordering on the make-believe: although the whole court went to the hunting grounds, the women did not ride much, but it was important to my character’s storyline. Only after I had written this scene was my attention drawn to a small painting done at the time, intended as a private portrait for the Emperor’s eyes only. In it, the Emperor rides in the hunting grounds while at his side rides a woman whose clothing marks her out as a high-ranking concubine but whose hairstyle proclaims her a foreigner. It is likely, historians say, that the portrait is indeed of Rong Fei, the concubine who in legends became the ‘Fragrant Concubine’. 

I have recently finished writing a novella to accompany The Fragrant Concubine, which I give to my readers. In it, I described a new concubine, one of two lead characters, as looking like a young ruffled eagle, angry at her capture. Checking the meaning of her Chinese name a few days later (I don’t speak Chinese), I found that it means intelligence… and eagle. 

The other thing that can happen is when you ‘see’ one of your characters in a modern person, and this too can be fascinating. A few weeks ago I went on a research trip to Beijing. It’s a busy place and I took my family. My children drove me pretty crazy on our first day visiting locations. In the exquisite park that is The Garden of Perfect Brightness (the title of my work in progress, a prequel to the two I’ve already written), my five year old boy insisted on climbing on rocks perilously dangling over deep water or wading into the muddy edges of the lakes to try and ‘fish’ using a twig. He was annoying me because I was worried for his safety as well as feeling that I didn’t have the luxury of looking around me and soaking up the ‘atmosphere’ of this key location for my next novel. But I then had a sudden realisation that the character of the boy prince (who would one day become the Emperor Qianlong from my previous two books) that I was writing grew up in this sport: and what does any child do when given the opportunity to explore such a place: climb rocks and hunt for fishes of course! I watched my son in a new light after that, seeing in him another little boy who, three hundred years ago, would have explored this very place.

These moments are mysteries, but pleasant when they happen. It makes me feel as though, after researching a historical era and its characters thoroughly, something has floated to me across the centuries, that I have found the people beneath the dusty textbooks.  

Helen: I thoroughly enjoyed The Fragrant Concubine - it was reviewed on Discovering Diamonds. In fact I enjoyed it so much I chose it as my Book of the Month!

About Melissa Addey
I grew up on an organic farm in Italy and was home educated. I spent fifteen years in business, both in new product development and mentoring entrepreneurs before going full-time with my writing. I now live in London with my husband and two young children and am doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey.

You can get The Consorts novella for free at www.melissaaddey.com/free and view images from my recent research trip to China on the slideshow link. 

Also of interest: 
Those Troublesome Typos by Helen Hollick

9 May 2017


 by (a somewhat embarrassed)  Me... Helen Hollick

"I'd rather readers and reviewers laughed with me - not at me!"

Back in the distant days when novels were written with pen and ink on paper, or laboriously tapped out on a typewriter, typos were a rarity in the published book, for the simple reason the print-face had to be set by hand – and usually a skilled hand. The person checking the ‘proof’ was equally as skilled. Add to that, their (sic) were no spellcheckers to accept their instead of there.

Inevitably, typos appear despite rigorous proof reading by editors and authors. What is annoying, for an author, is when he or she has diligently done his/her best to proof read for errors but there in the published version instead of being full of pride, said author is awash with disappointment because the book is littered with errors. I say disappointment, in fact the feelings range from acute embarrassment to outright rage. I know. I'm feeling it at the moment.

Indie and self-published authors have, for years, been mocked, abused, denigrated (choose a derisive word out of a substantial list) because (as those sneerers have oft said) the quality of writing and production is poor and editing is non-existent. Those of us who are respected indie authors (and in my case reviewers – I recently founded Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction) have worked darn hard to prove these accusations wrong. 

We produce good books, we review good books. We expect and intend to publish  professional quality good novels. But we are only human. We are not machines. When I am writing it is the content, the plot, the scene, the character that I am focused on, not the right direction of an apostrophe or of/off - or whatever. I try my best to correct the errors. My team of beta readers try their best. My editors... well, you get the picture. But I hate to admit this, well sorry folks, I am not perfect!

I do take care with my novels. My original indie editions, published by a company which went bankrupt (the managing director turned out to be a con man) were a mess. The correct way to publish an indie book was, I can tell you, a very sharp learning curve! Things still don't always go right though.

I’m not saying there are no typos in – let’s say, Sea Witch, the first of my nautical adventure series, there are a few (possibly more than a few). Reading it through on the Kindle recently I spotted a couple of howlers:  james not James, and Jaw not jaw in the middle of a sentence, as example. (How on earth did they get missed?) But, sorry, I am not spending money on re-editing and reprinting. I can't re-edit myself, and it costs a lot to hire editors, money which has been set aside for the next book, not for one that has already sold several thousand copies and been in print for about nine years. The errors are there, they are now as much a part of the story as is my Jesamiah. I'm not proud of the errors, but, well they're there and there they'll have to stay. 

Having said that, the advantage for the indie writer using POD (Print on Demand – i.e printed when an order is placed, as opposed to many being printed in one go) is that it is possible to do a re-edit and reprint if desired. Errors, for us indies are our responsibility, and we really do try to ensure the end result is 'spotless', but as I have shown, not always  achieved. Some readers tut and moan and complain about typos, most realise they are not intentional errors or don't even see them because they are engrossed in the story. 

I've just discovered that the Kindle version of Pirate Code, for some reason has chunks of text in italics - the error isn't in the book, so I assume its down to technology. 

And then there are mainstream/traditional books. You would expect a professional publishing house to produce quality edited and published books wouldn’t you? Hence this article, my red face, disappointment and annoyance. The last two shrugged aside with  difficulty.

Book. Good.
Face. Red
My latest book Pirates:Truth & Tales, is not an indie book but was commissioned by a publisher, paid for by them, and in-house edited. It is littered with errors. All, so I have been informed by a 'reviewer', 249 of them. They begin on the copyright page, increase a few pages later and go downhill from there.

- in the Timeline 1685 comes before 1684.
- spelling mistakes: hansome, yeilded, acolade…
- verbs don’t agree with their subjects in terms of singular and plural: ‘the ship were in northern waters’, ‘The delight of this adventure story are…’
- ‘off’ and ‘of’ are confused
- apostrophes are misplaced and incorrectly reversed.
- sometimes there is no spacing between words: ‘July1726’
- the author twice misquotes the title of the book as ‘Pirates: Truth and Tale’

I have made light of this public exposure of my embarrassment on Amazon because, well, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it - the exposure or the errors - so no point in ranting and raving. And, I guess, out of 110,000 words the typos could be worse… (Can anyone do the math? What % of 110k is 249?)

I am NOT making excuses, and I am not whining or whinging  (well OK I am, but read on…) I made it VERY clear to the publisher that I have an acute degenerative eyesight problem. Believe me, trying to correct nit-pick errors on a printed page with distorted, misted vision is no picnic! Over and again I asked for assurance that the text would be edited, checked and double-checked. Over and again I was assured that it would.
Maybe I am the fool to have trusted the assurances?

Some of the typos are because of my sight (I can’t see that those ‘r’s and ‘s’s have crept in, and ‘. ,” and double letters ii or ll are hard for me to spot.) I rely on a good editor, although I hold my hand up to a couple of senior-moment bloopers: ‘Sloan’ should be ‘Sloane’, ‘Jeffries’ should be ‘Jeffreys’ and what on earth made me put ‘Marie’ Celeste not ‘Mary’ Celeste? Old age is creeping up, obviously. And my favourite treat is rum and raisin ice cream … the printed blooper is ‘as a desert’. *Laugh*. Well I blame that one on the rum!

Small publishers usually do not send out a final version for a last check. I only saw a pre-proofed PDF typeset version, I only got to see the final version once it was printed and published. So not my fault. I didn’t get to see it before publication.
That is not much comfort, mind you.

What do I do? What can I do? 

Not a lot.

I have contacted the publishers who have apologised, although that isn’t a great deal of help to me – the book is out there, for sale, dotted with highly embarrassing errors.

Production seems to have gone awry because the editor looking after my book left shortly before the final stage. Errors such as ‘the ship were in northern waters’ and ‘The delight of this adventure story are…’ were introduced because of this editor’s editing. My original sentences were cut, and the remaining words not double-checked for continuing to make sense. So not all of these are my fault - even if they were they should have been corrected by the publisher's copy editor and the proof reader. According to my notes the ones I picked up from the PDF file were corrected.

The publisher’s representative has said:
I’ve put a note on the file so that before it goes to reprint or paperback the book must be proofread before being released again. In the rare instances where I’ve seen a book with no proof corrections, we tend to find that the corrections are made but then the version that gets uploaded basically just isn’t that corrected version. We have all kinds of checks to make sure the right version goes up – which is where I figure the staff turnover might come in… so it looks like this was some unfortunate combination of errors our end.”

He goes on to say: “[in such instances] Options are recall, pulp and re-release (prohibitively expensive for small publishers in these straitened times) or wait until reprint. And if you print a lot [usually 1000 or so] because you think the book will do well, you can inadvertently let down the author because it means more copies to sell before reprinting.”

 “Sorry again about this – one of the worst things in publishing is how the good things in a book are rather invisible and the errors are glaring, so to have situations like this where you have a bunch of errors makes me very sad, and you have every right to be annoyed. “

So it’s good that the publisher thought the book would do well and have done an initial large print-run – but that means a lot of books with a lot of errors in them. Luckily, judging from Amazon I have some lovely reviews (and I will be delighted to get some more – even if they do mention the (not my fault) typos…) 

So it looks like an incorrect file was uploaded for printing, but the damage is done, not helped by one review on Amazon.co.uk by a company called 'Proof Professor' savaging the book for what is blatantly a promotion for business gain. I don’t mind the mention of these errors – they are there, they are an uncomfortable and highly embarrassing fact, but this particular person from this company makes a regular habit of dissing various authors in exactly the same manner and style. These authors receive spam emails or messages offering a proofing service. When the spam is ignored – surprise, surprise, a bad review appears. A couple of weeks after I ignored him… guess what appeared? Yep. A ‘review’ highlighting the missed errors in 'Pirates'. Errors which I already knew were there, I didn't need his 'kind' offer of telling me about them!

But don't take my word for the nastiness of this person! ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) has issued this warning click here :"The threat implicit in these reviews felt clear to their victims: pay me to fix your editing, or I will hurt your reputation. The actions we observed in the course of our investigation and the overall pattern of Proof Professor’s reviews seem to confirm this interpretation."
"While it’s evident that some of the books in question did have errors, that’s irrelevant to the manner in which Proof Professor solicited business. Harassment has no place in the business model of a reputable service, especially when it escalates to invading someone’s home and personal life."

And another puzzle: why did Proof Prof pick on this particular book of mine? He had to buy it, I don’t give freebies. Why didn’t he ‘review’ the cheaper (much cheaper) Sea Witch, or Harold the King, or any one of my (much cheaper) books?

I wonder… could it be because there are not so many typos in these books, so he couldn’t pick on me, make his harassing hurtful and potentially damaging trollish spammy unpleasant comments about them? (And promote his business into the bargain?)
 Just a thought…

Fortunately for Pirates Truth & Tales, the publisher’s bad job of production hasn’t stood in the way of my entertaining writing. The queen of pirate book reviews, the highly professional Cindy Vallar gave it a very fair 5 star review – AND she mentioned the typos, but realised them for what they are: “There are enough misspelled words – not including the differences in spelling between British and American English – and missing words that readers will notice. But there is far more to recommend this book than these minor problems.”

But I now have a dilemma. Do I shrug, smile and take it on the chin, making light of this almighty cock-up, or do I sit here and wring my hands, not mention the book ever again? Like heck I won’t! I enjoyed writing it – and all I can suggest is, buy a copy and laugh at the silly typos. Maybe I should run a competition for ‘spot the bloopers’?

Oh, and yes the title was muddled. Again, not my fault! The publisher didn’t decide on a final sub-title until  the book was ready to go to print. In fact, on Amazon, Goodreads etc, it initially appeared as a completely different sub-title! I only knew the final version myself when the book was delivered to me.

One huge comfort about all this, I am not alone. The big publishers have been slammed for messing up with errors: Penguin, Harper Collins, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster... so have the big authors. Fleming's first edition of Moonraker is worth a bomb because of a typo. So is a certain first edition Harry Potter novel. Maybe one day I'll become a really famous author and the books with errors in will become collector's items!

The most famous blooper was in the 1631 edition of a Bible when the word 'not' was missed out from that commandment about committing adultery...  One of Henry Miller's novels is littered with typos (had I better check... is that Miller or Millar?) Twilight has typos, and so does one of the Game Of Thrones novels. Well, frankly if the Starks, Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen can live with bloopers, then so can I! (Or rather, if the people who made the bloopers manage to stay alive, despite the revenge of the Starks, Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen... )

I’m wondering, though, perhaps my pirate book was perfectly OK when it went off to be printed, but I do say some not very nice things about some famous pirates such as Charles Vane, Blackbeard and Edward Lowe… 

Hmmm. I wonder if their ghosts sabotaged the file?

"Errors?  I don't care... as long as you mention me...!"

Please do feel free to leave a comment below 
(preferably supportive and encouraging *laugh*)

and if you feel brave enough to read my books I have no objection to an Amazon review mentioning the typos, but maybe mention the entertaining read, the story, the characters etc., as well?

All errors is my own and are probablee delibrate. (sic)

6 May 2017


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January 15th: Tuesday Talk: that little matter of 'vacant-eyed women' and over-egged schoolboy innuendo in historical fiction. Is it time to make a stand against unnecessary sexism? (including short articles on the role of women in history by Annie Whitehead, Alison Morton, Lucienne Boyce. Main article byKristen McQuinn


26th December : The last of our Discovering Diamonds 'A Story Inspired By A Song'... we're at a wedding reception today - but what's the song that inspired the story? Thank you to everyone who followed our stories (especially those who left comments!) and thank you to the authors who took part:

A story inspired by a song!

Novel Conversations : a conversation with a character from a novel
In conjunction with IndieBRAG

Every Tuesday: Tuesday Talk on my main blog: Let Us Talk of Many Things:
An occasional look at life here in Devon : Down 'Ere In Devon 
My (also occasional) Devon DiaryLeaning On The Gate Diary
The Chittlehamholt Community ShopBrowse the shelves
Taw River Show Jumping (Devon) Facebook Group  (apply to join the group)