Friday, December 10, 2010

Frazzled Friday, Every Good Book Has Errors

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Here is my story, and I am stickin' to it. 

Every book I have participated in producing, which numbers in the bunches for the Lenawee County Family Researchers and about 5 that I have done myself (three small booklets about Lenawee County and two family histories) has errors.  Every single one of them.

The users of our Lenawee book let us know of errors.  One time we produced a Burial book, we were 2 years just typing this buggar, and within days of publication we discovered that 90 pages of the index had disappeared into the computer mists.  It took us another year to find and fix the problem.  We printed a revised index and mailed it (no charge) to every single person or library that had purchased it with our sincere apologies.

The other classic story involves the very first book I published, a family history.  I had worked for several years researching this clan when one of the cousins approached me and asked, "what can I do to help you so we can get this done?"  And, so it started.  She gathered photos, she pushed family to fill in group sheets, she went door to door, she and I spent days haunting cemeteries and courthouses and libraries. 

On January 1st of 1997 I eagerly set a publication date for summer of 97, the family reunion, first weekend of August.  I spent the next 7 months working on it non-stop, 8 to 14 hours a day.  I ate, drank, slept, dreamed, talked, and walked that family book for 7 full long months.  I even took it with me on a few short get away vacations.  Friends from the LDS Family History Center in Westland Michigan helped me, writing and reading letters in Polish and so many other things.  Son # 2 worked in a print shop, he gave me hints and then printed the book. 

Come August, with the ink literally still wet, we delivered the book at the family reunion.  Son # 1 gets his copy, opens, starts reading and in 30 seconds flat finds a spelling error, turns to his ole mom and in his surprise, asks, "MMM, Mom, didn't you run this through the spell checker?"

And, Carol learned a great lesson in the humility of writing a book,

There will always be errors.



* Graphic courtesy of freeclipartnow.com

4 comments:

Dorene from Ohio said...

Carol,
I like to think of errors as adding some character to the item :)

Barbara Poole said...

Carol, Don't be too hard on yourself. I imagine most people haven't done a book (me included). Your hard work is appreciated by many, I'm sure. But son #1 had a good point, spell checker is useful. Enjoyed laughing along as I read your post, and you stuck to it.

Nolichucky Roots said...

Amen! Blessings on you for knowing that and pushing on. Some of us (umm, me...) get paralyzed by the need for perfection. Gonna clip this and post it next to my desk.

Greta Koehl said...

When I realized that just about everything I write of any significant length - at work, at home, wherever - will have errors, it was very liberating. I just try to minimize the errors, but I stop correcting when I realize that I am getting diminishing returns.