A Perfectionist’s Nightmare

“There are two kinds of people in this world… ” Well actually I think it’s more than that.  Let’s go deeper – there are two kinds of AUTHORs in this world – perfectionists, and every one else!

Authors who are perfectionists by nature, are always going to struggle with the concept of their books not being 110% perfect.   The more relaxed author (see I’m trying to be polite here) is quickly going to get the idea that their book is ready to pubish when it’s 95-99% perfect. In fact, they are likely to throw the word perfect out long before even starting their books, let alone at that critical final sign off time.

But seriously, if it wasn’t for the more relaxed authors among the population, then Amazon would have a lot more storage space.  Art galleries would have more bare walls.   Songs would never be performed live.  Because perfection and the desire to attain it are the killers of creativity.  And while it’s possible to have editors, proofers, and in some cases many of them and countless (literally – we can lose count sometimes) runs back past the final book before that green light is given to proceed to print, there is still likely to be an error (or three, four, five… you get the idea) in a book.

The reason for that is that editors, and proofers are not perfect.  Add to that the English language is a subjective messy thing at the best of times – not to mention constantly changing it’s mind over placements of commas, dashes, and hyphens – and mistakes are made.

But, one thing that has to be said, is that a well edited, carefully proofed, and properly formatted book will have so few errors that most readers will struggle to find anything amiss.   The two or three smarty-pant’s people (out of every 10,000 readers)  who can be bothered writing to an author or publisher to announce proudly that they found a spare space between two words on page 53, paragraph four, or an extra c in occacion (yes that’s a deliberate one) on page 231, and a comma out of place on the acknowledgements page are the type of people who:

  1. Annoy the crap out of authors and publishers, not to mention editors – but they do keep us all focused on doing our best work.
  2. Are often thought to have far too much time on their hands and perhaps they need to direct their literary genius to writing their own books to see just how hard it really is to get it right.

If you are writing a book, and you are a perfectionist, then listen up.  Even the most high profile, top ranked authors in the world have books with an occassional error found in their pages, and that 999,999 out of every million of their readers still write great reviews of their books and are very forgiving of the ‘odd oddity’.

So please, let go of your perfectionist requirements and remember this – in this age of digital print and easy updating of files, your book can easily have all errors found fixed in a jiffy and the files uploaded again, and again and again if necessary.  But for heavens sake, please don’t let your quest for perfection stop you from getting your book out to your readers.

Trust that your readers will love your content if it’s good information, has excellent stories to support your information and is well edited, presented, and they feel they have had  value for money and time invested in reading it.

 

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