Part of me hates writing this. I invite you to decide that it’s too boring to read and move on. But… just look at you. Still reading. Here goes.
Melanie published her daily devotional a few days before her birthday last October. One would think there was a simple plan to follow for such a book: write one entry for every day of the year. That’s a lotta days, but, you know, there are easy numbers to follow to keep track. She assembled material from her own meditations and studies, and drew further material from her brother (the poet), and from me (the, uh… husband) and some others. There were a lot of eyes that went over that manuscript, proofreading. I’m proud of her work and she’s had good feedback from friends who have added it to their daily devotional reading.
Sunday at church one of those readers came up to her and told her, “Today is missing.”
When we got home we opened the book and stared at the page. Yup, August 4 follows August 2. But, wait. Our print copy is one of the very first ones we got. And we did make some corrections after the first round. What sits on my computer is the most recent of the revised files that we had. Surely we had corrected this blatant error in later editions?
Melanie went to work writing one more entry to add to the book text and handed it over to me, her book tech. We’ve been exploring the indie author opportunities of the Internet Age. So we are the ones who have to step up for any corrections we discover that need attention. All the glory and all the blame – I’ve got it for you here in these two indie writer’s hands!
Aside from the aggravation of being so late to catch this particular blooper, actually making the corrections was simple. The corrected e-book edition was available seconds after I uploaded the new file and it will get passed along to the various e-book retailers within days. If it wasn’t for me and my blog-blabbing, new readers would never know there had been a problem.
Things were a bit more tricky revising the paper edition. Page numbering and page divisions don’t matter much on e-books. But when you insert a dozen new lines into text being printed on paper, it bumps EVERYTHING that follows farther down by that much. Paper pages aren’t as flexible as e-pages. After I had inserted the copy for August 3, I had to start paging down through the rest of the book to see what I might have thrown off balance. Nearly every page for the rest of the month needed small tweaks to adjust to the new spacing. But, hey, this is the 21st century and nowadays this is all done on a computer file. It’s not like I had to (gulp) redo and RE-NUMBER 50 pages on a typewriter.
I was ready to upload the paperback edition to the printing service when I glanced at the back cover image. This had been Melanie’s first book. She’s written three more since last fall (and has at least three more cooking). I realized as long as we were doing revisions, I should take time to update the back cover and add pictures of her three other books. And then I thought I should add one of those “other books by Melanie Hoover” lists to the inside of the book, opposite the title page. Perhaps there was a silver lining to the cloud. These revisions were going to be worthwhile. They were all done fairly quickly and uploaded. Going forward, this updated edition is the version of the paperback that will be offered to shoppers who seek out the devotional (as a gift for friends! or others in your prayer group!).
At about this point I began to think of the Great Lessons in all this work to correct a stupid error. (I write devotionals, too, and Illustrations From Life™ are always handy.) It was those Great Lessons that made me grudgingly admit I probably had to write out this account, even though I hated having to admit we were so blind in all our proofreading last year.
I’m not saying this was the first time. It’s happened before. I’ll think I’ve seen all the facts. I’ll think I’ve carefully followed instructions. I’ll think I’ve got a handle on it. Then (and generally before a highly entertained audience of witnesses) I hit that banana peel. I chomp down on that apple and bite it instead of my tongue. Hate it when that happens. Hate it when people see it when it happens. Hate it.
What’s interesting is how often God then replicates the modern indie-publishing experience. He gives me another chance. Oh, there’s stuff to clean up, and evidence that cleaning up was needed. But I can, at least, re-type and re-set things enough that I can go on. All that confession, admission of error, repentance, acts of contrition and making amends – Ugh. I’d rather nobody had to see all that happen in me. It’s so embarrassing. On the other hand, maybe seeing me pick myself up off the floor, instead of staying broken on the ground, is a witness God can use for that one other watching person who has sometimes stumbled around and gotten a bit lost, too. Meet God’s Editor-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. He’s the one standing ready to do the rewrites and revisions and re-starts for our lives.
You may be thinking I should complete my acts of contrition by offering free replacement copies if you’ve already bought Melanie’s book. A) I told you that you should just skip reading this, and B) Yes and No. If you bought an e-book edition, I’ll send you another with the revisions, free. Send me an email and tell me what kind of e-book version you need.
If you bought a paperback copy, please accept my invitation to write a little note in the margin of page 160 that says, “Rick already knows about this missing date and he feels terrible about it.” Then look at it as a Free Holiday that Melanie is giving you from your daily devotional reading (from her book, anyway). And then buy your own replacement, if you need to. Those printed-paper books are expensive to produce and we are not rich authors, yet. But you can help us reach that goal! (And if you want to read the August 3 addition that Melanie wrote, check this Facebook link.)
Okay. Dusting myself off. Glad that’s over.
By the way, I made 16 revisions to this post before I let it go public. WordPress kept count. Seems like somebody always does!