Bear Legs in Pumps

Proofreading is important, but I’ve given up on perfection. When a dear friend and proofreader found BEAR legs instead of BARE legs in the manuscript for THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. HYDE AND HER FRIENDS I laughed until I cried.

Having found obvious typos, missing words and the wrong homonym in all too many professionally proofed books, I no longer expect — or aim — for perfection. But I do want to avoid howlers like BEAR for BARE when describing the heroine of a romantic suspense novella dressing for an important appointment. Since the second proofreader missed this one, while catching glitches that escaped the eagle eyes that found the BEAR in the protagonist’s mirror, I’m crying uncle. Proofreading is important, but… I’ll never be perfect in this and many other things, too.

Oh, well…

Are you more forgiving now, in the age of ebooks? Or, are you holding on to the astonishment I used to feel when I found bloopers in hardcover books put out by major publishers? Not long before I got my Kindle, I found a HE for SHE several hundred pages into a hardcover mystery and I contemplated the possibilities of the mob boss’ nephew married to another man. It might have made the story more interesting — as the book was riddled with clichéd characters. But alas, it was a simple mistake — one that happens all too often.


How do you feel when you find them?




  1. In our social media need to point out everyone’s glaring errors, I think we have forgotten something more important. Story seems to have taken a back seat to the need to point out other issues.

    I read a reviewers blog recently where they claimed that how an author uses a comma is a deal breaker for them. They then claimed that it was a crime against literture that a publisher would allow an author to stand by they own work.

    Granted errors like bear instead of bare can be annoying, especially when missed by several people. But sometimes our brains do freeze a little.

    For me, story is always the most important. I strive everyday to write a story better than my last one.

    • Candy Korman

      I’m finding that I’m getting to care less and less about a missed word or a silly glitch. I read all too many of them and I’d probably die of a stroke if I reacted each time. And yet, I’m told that some people won’t read Indie books because they are not edited properly and that others will give bad reviews for a single mistake. Having found all too many in books that received the best kind of professional editing, it’s just too weird.

      Perfection is the enemy of the good and it’s certainly a time suck. Proofing is still important to me, but… Do I send out my blog posts to be proofed? Nope. Do I look ’em over before hitting publish? Yes.

      I’m looking for balance and I’m so glad my proof reader caught BEAR for BARE in the new Monster.

  2. -grin- You should have left BEAR legs in! Such a lovely typo. It conjures images of a gorgeous woman from the waist up, and a hairy, bandy-legged one from the waist down…in heels no less. 😀 Could have given the Hyde transformation a whole new slant. 😀

    In general, though, I’m still horribly aware of typos in what I read, especially my own stuff. I cringe every time I discover one. That said, I’m a Baby Boomer and I remember when trad. published books did NOT have typos, not even one. Things have changed a hell of a lot since then so I doubt most readers would even blink.

    • Candy Korman

      I blink. And then I keep reading if I’m enjoying the book.

      The proofreader — of the hairy bear legs — tells me how much she hates all the typos and mistakes on the internet. I told her she’d better relax with it or it’ll be impossible for her to follow her passions to the blogs and fan sites that she is beginning to enjoy. We had a really interesting discussion about the tolerance level. Mine is much higher now, but I still notice. When I find one in my own work I try not to get crazy, but … Ah well… I still haven’t shaken that quest to be perfect.

      • lol – your proofreader sounds as if she might be of my vintage. 🙂

        Typos will never stop me reading a good story, but each time it happens I’m jerked out of the flow. If it happens too many times I get annoyed. But that’s just me.

        • Candy Korman

          That particular proofreader is exactly MY age… LOL… a little bit behind you but not by much.
          My dad also proofs and he’s from an entirely different vintage — one that always sought perfection and LOVES commas.

  3. To me, a good story and good proofreading and editing go hand in hand. In general, I think people are getting too lazy about finding and fixing mistakes in their works, and we know such issues can make or break self-published pieces. Your work is an example of someone who takes great care to balance interesting stories and making sure to fix any glaring errors before publication. You’re the package deal, so to speak 😉

    • Candy Korman

      I make a clear distinction between editing and proofreading. Editing is a much deeper process. I’ve had people ask me to simply proofread and they really want editing. I’ve also been in the weird position of just wanting that final proof — that naive eye that is needed to find BEAR vrs. BARE — only to discover that the proofreader wanted to re-write me.

      “No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”
      H. G. Wells

      My dad is a writer and he’s always been a good proofreader. Back when we worked together in advertising we proofed and proofed and proofed everything. This included reading text out loud very slowly to make sure that our eyes didn’t fill in a missing word or “fix” a problem. He usually likes what I’ve written (although some of mysteries are too mysterious for him and paranormal elements are outside his comfort zone) but he still feels compelled to massage my language so that it is closer to his own. I used to get angry. Now I laugh. His compulsion to rewrite me is hilarious.

      Anyway, I do get things proofed. I also know that things will slip by. Until I can afford multiple rounds with a pro… or I get a conventional publisher with the appropriate budget, I’m just going to do the best that I can. I wish I could be perfect. I haven’t quite managed to forgive my own glitches, but I’m getting better at not worrying about them in what I read. I see them. I may even make a mental note, but I don’t give up if the book is basically well-written and the story is good.

      Of course, most books that are basically well-written and have good stories, aren’t riddled with typos. Sprinkled maybe, but not riddled with them. That’s where the care in writing comes in.