A Typo Taste of My Own Editorial Medicine


On Fridays, I’ve begun posting business-related writing blogs on LinkedIn, and last Friday’s topic was about typos.

Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

An editorial mistake here or there is not the worst thing to ever happen to your copy.

Don’t get me wrong. Good grammar and proper spelling are important. I’m definitely not trying to say otherwise. And there are occasions when a misplaced letter or wrong word choice can, indeed, change the meaning of a sentence. Sometimes drastically.

That’s why it’s always important to, at the very least, double-check your work.

But if somehow, someway, a typo does make it into your final copy, the world probably isn’t going to explode. Moreover, the majority of your readers probably aren’t going to notice it at all since they’re either A) too rushed to pay that close attention, B) don’t have a perfect grasp of good grammar and proper spelling either, or C) some combination of the two.

That’s why, in the end, it’s not the technical aspects that make or break your copy. Unless you’re addressing an audience of professional proofreaders, it all comes down to how clearly you convey your main message.

In the hubbub of the rest of the work day, I forgot about those words pretty quickly. After all, there were manuscripts to review and Author of the Month submissions to read and tasks to take care of. So by the time I went to bed that night, typos were pretty much the farthest thing from my mind.

That changed pretty quickly after I woke up the next morning. Puttering around the house (yes, 34-year-olds can putter) in an effort to put off filing my taxes just a little longer, I decided to check my email. It was there I found the April copy of Innovative Editing Insider sitting all fresh and new in my inbox, having just been delivered an hour or two before.

Now, I had written the copy weeks ago and put together the email days ago. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise to find it there. But I always like to check my mailings just to make sure they open up alright. Because you never know when there’s going to be a technical glitch.

Apparently, you also never know when there’s going to be human error. Like this one:

Dear Writer,

The April 2017 copy of Innovative Editing Insider is officially out! And since it's about designing the perfect storybook character, I'd say it's a must-read for anyone who's series about that novel manuscript of theirs.

Series?

Series?

Seriously?

What in the world was I thinking!!!!!

(For the editorial record, this is a case when multiple exclamation marks are warranted. In fact, I probably didn’t use enough of them.)

Well, clearly I was thinking “serious,” but that’s not what my fingers typed out. And it must have been a last-second copy change on my part, because it’s just as obvious – maybe even more so – that I didn’t re-read it before scheduling the stupid thing.

Sitting on the couch with my laptop in front of me, I stared at that giant, glaring typo with eyes wide and mouth agape until my own words from Friday morning came back to me:

… if somehow, someway, a typo does make it into your final copy, the world probably isn’t going to explode. Moreover, the majority of your readers probably aren’t going to notice it at all since they’re either A) too rushed to pay that close attention, B) don’t have a perfect grasp of good grammar and proper spelling either, or C) some combination of the two.

I’m not even going to pretend that the majority of my readers didn’t notice my mistake. This wasn’t a missed comma or a case of putting down “it’s” instead of “its.”

However, I suppose the world is still turning. In which case I proved my point. You all can now feel free to make typos without worrying that you’ll cause Armageddon.

Let’s just say that’s seriesly what I was going for all along.

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