Ah typos. You gotta love em. Well, actually you don’t. I hate them. They frustrate me. They complicate my life. Someone on tweeter put it so well recently. They reproduce. And they are horny little buggers. You think you’ve got them all, every single one. And when you look back there they are again. One of the main problems with proofing is that we don’t always recognize the inconsistencies. And spell checker only catches the words that are spelled wrong, not those that are spelled correctly but used improperly. I personally have a big problem with wont/won’t. Easy enough to correct now that I know what to look for. Another big problem is getting rid of all the underlines and replacing them with italics. There is a difference in the formatting of a document sent to a publisher or an agent, and one ready for a reader to peruse. In the manuscript sent to professionals words and phrases denoting thoughts or names of objects like ships are underlined. I guess because it makes it easier on their eyes. But look in an published novel you can pick up from the shelves of any bookstore. No underlines. They become italicized. You would think that underline words would be easy to find and change. And you, my dear reader, would be wrong. I have gone over a manuscript a half dozen times changing, correcting, etc. I have formatted the manuscript to eBook format, checked it out, and found a damned underlined word. Remember what I said about reproduction.
Formatting is its own issue. I have uploaded documents to the major epublishers that I was sure were perfect as far as formatting was concerned. They looked very good on my computer. No problems with fonts, indentations, all the bolds and italics in the proper place. I have even checked the books on Kindle and Caliber, and raged at all the stupid mistakes it made to my formatting, moving things around, destroying the perfect alignment. So I have gone back in and corrected the errors, and then sent my perfect baby to the publisher website. And then the eBook version arrives on virtual shelves, and it’s a disaster. My first online review said all the good things about my book, then blasted me on formatting issues that I didn’t even know existed. I was heartbroken. But the only solution was to find out what went wrong and correct it, develop new strategies to make sure the past mistakes don’t become present and future mistakes.
So like most things I am having to learn from scratch. Learn the formatting in the background that ruins the reformatting to e format. Learn how to find those typos, and underlines and other undesirables. Zoom out of the page where I can ignore the individual words and look at the patterns of blue underlined, green underlined and red underlined words. And then zoom, see what needs to be done (I have found that not all grammar corrections are correct). Maybe that will get them all. Maybe a few will hide in the shadows and scurry back when I have passed to a new page. I wouldn’t put it past them. I have also found that there are a lot of proofreading programs out there, many of them very expensive, a hundred dollars or more. I am not quite ready to take a plunge into something that might not even do what I want it to. Maybe someday. Until then I will continue to do it on my own, with a new respect for proofing.