If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wrapping it up: the final proof

A couple of weeks ago, I received the page proofs for Bad Policy.

I do not recall catching many errors in the material I read as a child. Perhaps publishing house professionals spent more time copyediting and proofing. Perhaps I did not read quite as critically as I do now. Over the last few years, I’ve read chatter from various internet groups and countless blogs lamenting the current state of the publishing industry as it applies to misspellings and incorrect grammar.

I know from my years as a consultant how difficult it is to produce a 200+ page document without error, and so I have been a bit forgiving with an error here or there. I know the cost of perfection is too high. However, finding something really egregious—especially homonyms—does subtract from my enjoyment and, therefore, perception of the book.

If I found two homonyms or several misspellings, I mentally pitched the book across the room. My thinking was that if the author didn’t care (as evidenced by these errors), why should I?

With this background, I approached my proofreading task knowing I would find some errors. I wanted to catch them all, so I read closely. Before this final read, I had read the manuscript innumerable times. My partner, Jan, had read it at least a half dozen. It had been criticized chapter by chapter by two critique groups. Several beta readers read it. The publisher and editor both read it at least twice.

I read it through again and found a number of issues but did not find the problem in this sentence: In the second grade, Sister Margarite beat it out of me, wrapping my knuckles bloody with the edge of a metal ruler she carried in the sleeve of her habit. Fortunately, Jan did.

On this very last time through the document, Jan realized I had used wrapping instead of rapping. I was amazed I had missed this, so I checked to see when this mistake first entered the manuscript process. That sentence was miswritten in the very first draft!

So when you read Bad Policy you won’t find that homonym error. I suspect that despite everyone’s best efforts you will find something else wrong, for which I apologize in advance. I suspect that in the future I will be a bit more tolerant of errant homonyms.

~ Jim

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E. B. Davis said...

Don't feel too bad, Jim. In my second manuscript, I wrote isle or aisle, which of course only goes to show where my mind really is most of the time! That homonym confused my beta readers a tiny bit. As one of your beta readers, I didn't pick that one up, but then I'm an auditory learner so I struggle to catch homonyms. The next time you ask for beta readers, you may want to ask what type of learners they are and try to get a mix of auditory and visual learners. Good luck with the book.

Gloria Alden said...

I caught the error right away, but I'm not sure I would have if you didn't warn us. I do seem to find more errors in books now than I've found in the past, but maybe that's because I'm a writer, or maybe books just aren't edited as well as they used to be.

Pauline Alldred said...

I could tolerate one or two homonyms in a book and not think the author was lazy and incompetent. Sure they should be caught before publication but it's an imperfect world. Maybe you explained your reaction to errors when you described your school experience. When I coach students who dropped out of high school I find they are often too paralyzed to write anything for fear of writing something unworthy.

kristi ansbach said...

I worry about having errors, too. I'm new at this so tell me what's a beta reader?


Ricky Bush said...

Although both my books went through several rounds of edits with my editor, a few irritating typos still existed in the galley proofs which neither of us caught in those previous read-throughs. I'm much more forgiving when I catch errors in published works now.

Terry Shames said...

I am stealing myself (excuse me, steeling myself) for my first publication, because I know there will be something I and the countless number of people who have red it (oops, read it) missed. Will that make me more foregiving (uh,oh, forgiving)? Probably.

Carla King said...

I have such an eagle eye for detail, but that one scooted right past me. However, what did catch my attention was that perhaps a comma was missing to help make sense of the sentence. Rapping took care of that, though. Great catch!

James Montgomery Jackson said...


Beta readers are people who read your manuscript after you "think" you have it done. They can give advice and comment on anything from plot problems, slow areas, too fast areas and the like to helping catch things like the homonym problem I embedded in Bad Policy.

You might find my blog "You Cannot Do That" helpful on the subject of Beta Readers.

~ Jim

James Montgomery Jackson said...


I swear commas have a secret life. They disappear from where they are needed and migrate to other parts of the story where they obfuscate rather than enlighten.

~ Jim

Kaye George said...

Yikes! I'm a reader who missed that! Yay for Jan's eagle-eye!

Polly Iyer said...

I caught it on the second read. I couldn't believe the typos I had on my first publications. They've all been redone, but just recently a reader caught two incorrect name spellings. MY CHARACTERS' NAMES. Sheesh! Besides my readings, two very eagle-eyed critique partners read this particular book, more than once. Funny how I catch theirs but can't catch my own. Bottom line, there will probably be something someone finds that you missed. Repeating the last line in Some Like It Hot, Nobody's perfect.

Dory said...

As a developmental ed who has frequently had to dabble in copy editing I thoroughly understand 'missing' writing glitches.

Content vetting and copy editing are two totally different functions. Each has a way of jumping out and slapping you in the face when NOT looking.

If I'm only interested in storyline or character interaction, a grammatical mishap gets in the way; trying to do both at the same time and a sense of pacing goes out with the trash. . .

I try to explain to writers what a 'clean' WIP is: some get it, some don't, and some 'think' it is. . . Either way, you're always gonna' find something, so enjoy the ride.

Warren Bull said...

Errors in writing are like ants at a picnic. You can never catch and eliminate them all so you just do the best you can.