The First 97 Mistakes are the Worst

The Perishing Land, a horror short story

A few days ago I was rifling through my Nook library. On a whim, I decided to open up The Perishing Land, my apocalyptic horror story that I offer for free on Smashwords. It took all of a second, on the copyright page no less, for an evil gremlin to attack me from the digital page. (Shameless self promotion: check it out here)

There was a typo. Right there, before you even got into the story, was the statement that the book was published by “W.E, Linde.” Notice the comma, instead of a period. This mistake is especially ironic, given that the Smashwords Style Guide makes a point to tell the writer that the Copyright page is the first chance to show how professional your work is. So right off the bat, my short story screamed “CARELESS MISTAKE.”

After the shock wore off, I read through the entire short story. Everything was fine, until I


got to page six. There, safely protected from Spell Check, was the statement that “The last of the military boasts” were leaving. The word is supposed to be “boats.” In disgust, I finished my review, and found no other errors. So I took part of an evening, corrected my master, and uploaded it to Smashwords. At the time I did so, 97 people had downloaded the story. I’ve received some great feedback on this story, but the reviews and ratings are nearly nonexistent. I can’t help but wonder if those careless mistakes turned off some readers. It may seem like a small thing, but I can completely understand a reader not wanting to give much of his or her time to a story – even a short story – that didn’t take the time to put up a decent copyright page.

The moral of the story is clear: editing is serious business. Too serious to stay in your own hands.

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4 Responses to The First 97 Mistakes are the Worst

  1. ztburian says:

    Funny, I make the same Kirk-face when I catch a typo in something I’ve written. The beauty of the digital medium is, mistakes aren’t permanent.

    • W.E. Linde says:

      The first thing I thought of when I was wondering how to visually depict the anger at finding a typo was Kirk. I am thankful that there’s a quick fix. It’s just a bit frustrating to come across them in the first place. Live and learn…

  2. My book on smashwords was downloaded 78 times. How can I get someone to give me some feedback on my ‘free’ story?

    • W.E. Linde says:

      I’ve just started learning this lesson (as in, very recently, as my short story only has one review). Authors I know who have had a lot more success in this area specifically ask their contacts on Twitter, Facebook, etc, to give honest reviews. After securing a decent number of these reviews, they seem to snowball. I’m taking notes, and plan to follow this strategy when I release my next book later this summer or fall. Good luck to you!

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