Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Launched and Soaring


Launched...with the help of toy rockets and parachutes, Moonpies and Tang.


I felt like the Cheshire Cat wanting to fade away into only a plastered-on smile. I had made a significant error in a date and there it was, first line, first page. Bang! Printed, chiseled in stone. Fifty copies and an advertised launch date I couldn't get out of.

In the greater scheme of things, this shouldn't be all that big of a concern. In the smaller scheme, however, that day, it certainly was. My heart fell into the pit of my stomach the minute a friend called me to point out the error. Everyone needs a friend who has her back and I am eternally grateful for the tremendous favor she did in that simple call.

Immediately I revised the manuscript and triple checked all the other dates as well as names, something I had done over and over and over, or so I thought. Proven fact, typos (and negligence) exist, and my error is the the evidence.

While the error was easily repairable, my reputation as a nonfiction author would be called into question. I made the decision to go on with the launch. I found sticky notes of the Cheshire Cat and attached them to the page above the incorrect date, along with the word oops, to let the reader know of the mistake. Truth matters.

Then I lowered the cost to below my cost, and forged on, giving the customers a chance to wait a week for the corrected version if they preferred. No one did.

But I have copies left over that I can't sell. Won't sell. What to do with a stack of books???


Maybe I'll make school visits and let the children read the books, explaining up front about my error as part of the lesson. And then do my thing as a former fourth grade teacher who swears by the whole language approach to reading instruction.

Meanwhile, yesterday the new shipment arrived and the first thing I did after I ripped open the top was check the date in the first line on the first page. It's correct.
And there it is! Available on amazon, or from me, and eventually at special stores here in Lenoir. Back on Earth: When Men First Landed on the Moon. Illustrated by Bobbie Gumbert, written (and revised) by me. < smiling like the Cheshire Cat >

Catch of the day,



  1. You are very BRAVE to admit the error and the heartbreak to everyone. Even traditionally published books get published with errors so you're book is no exception. Some errors are more easily fixed than others. I have a suggestion about correcting it on those left-over bad copies. See below.

    It's amazing how many times we can go over and over a manuscript before publication checking for errors of all kinds and miss the most obvious. I guess we should be grateful that our brains skip over things and read what they want....except if it's a crucial fact that does matter in a non-fiction book.

    My suggestion with the books you have with the incorrect date is to try to match the font and print the correct date on labels then cut and paste the correct date typed on the sticker. Do the entire date - month, date, year - to make it more consistent. Then when you explain the error, the incorrect date is covered up.

    Onward and upward, my friend.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Sandra. I'll give it a try!