20 July 2011

Thank You, Bliss Rowan

I don't think I've yet managed to put out a book which didn't have a typo.  The Silence of Medair had four, which I discovered to my horror when I re-read it after it was shortlisted for the Aurealis.  It probably still has a couple, hidden in plain sight.  I will stamp them out eventually.

I cringe at typos, and strive with each new book to improve the editing cycles the books go through to cut them out.  And I accept that I will always get affect/effect wrong, no matter how many people correct the drafts - I've reached the point that I think there is no right way to use affect/effect, and I've started to phrase certain sentences to use different words.

I also deliberately employ "not correct" grammar occasionally, though I don't use as many sentence fragments as I was once inclined to.  I will dangle prepositions, or leave out participles, whatever.  If a sentence sounds better to me that way, that's how it's going to be.  But that's a choice.

No-one likes to have errors pointed out to them (and sometimes I might disagree on what constitutes an error), but I always want to hear about them.  And they cut my esteem a little each time.  But today Bliss Rowan gave me a nice little comparative boost.

The last couple of months I've been reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels in chronological order.  I'm a little over halfway through.  Some I've read before, and some I haven't.  They were published from the 1930s to the 1970s, and a lot have been out of print.  A few years ago, ebooks were released of most of them, although there's a few still to come.  The copyright seems to be owned by different publishers, and the pricing is all over the place, but most are released by Bantam, and cost $9.99.

Bantam, it is clear, scanned these books, ran them through a spell-checker, but didn't bother to copy-edit them.  The last book I finished, If Death Ever Slept, was riddled with Mm for 'him' and Ms for 'his'.  And the next, And Four to Go, has introduced me to Bliss Rowan.

I've never encountered Bliss Rowan in a Nero Wolfe book before.  Miss Lily Rowan, of course, is a recurring character.  Today she has served the delightful purpose of making me feel a little better about those four errors in Medair.

Because Bantam is making my four, tiny, quickly fixed errors look damn good by comparison.  So thank you, Bliss Rowan.


  1. Bit rude charging a tenner for something that hasn't even been copy-edited.

    (Be assured that if I find any grievous errors in the copy of your novels, I will let you know on the QT)

  2. So, is reading my blog painful? My rebellion against the painstaking spell checking and grammar checking of my students theses is that my social typing has gone completely to pot - and I don't care anymore!

    PS I fixed 4 errors in this comment

  3. I don't write your blog entries, so typos there aren't likely to cause me embarrassment. ;D Plus, I don't have to pay to read them, so don't expect such a high standard.

    I'd say most books I've purchased have no outstanding typos, though a solid percentage have one or two. The thing which bugs me about the Bantam Nero Wolfe ebooks is that there's so many of the damn things, and they're so obvious, that's it's painfully clear that not a single re-read has gone into the release.


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