When Someone Finds a Typo in Your Book



I can still remember the first time I found a typo in a book.

It was (is) Mary Higgins Clark’s memoir Kitchen Privileges, I was about thirteen years old, and the typo in question was “nickle.”



Anyway, I would grow up to begin my post-college career as a professional proofreader working for a large health insurance company, and catching all kinds of typos in my day job was immensely satisfying. It was like scratching an itch. Or watching comedone extraction videos. (If you’re a sick weirdo like me, you’re welcome.)

But when someone catches one of my typos, especially if it’s in a professional document out in the world making money, it’s not a good feeling. It’s like I was caught with toilet paper on my shoe, or a booger hanging someplace it shouldn’t. The embarrassment of it makes my teeth hot.

Has it happened to you?

This Happens to Quite Literally Everyone

The good news is there are typos in almost all books, and neither traditional nor self-published books can escape the scourge of fat fingers and screen blindness. If you’ve realized your book that’s out on Amazon has a typo, or worse, received one of those Kindle notifications that someone else has found a typo in your book, consider it a badge of writing experience.

It tends to sting a little bit more, though, when someone else finds your slip-up first.

The Well-Meaning Dunderheads

Pointing out typos requires a little bit of chutzpah. However, I think people who aren’t aware of how that affects you, as an author who wants your book to be as good as it can be, mean well, most of the time.

Maybe they genuinely think you can fix it.

Picture them like your kindly old great-aunt who is always patting your shoulder with her soft, wizened hand and saying, “You should put on a sweater, dear, or you’ll catch a chill.”

The Clearly-Better-Than-Yous

Oh. These people.

Repeat after me: The ones who want to lord their superior linguistic skills over you by pointing out your errors have far too much inadequacy and sadness in their lives for you to waste even a little of yours thinking about them.

Are you going through a typo tragedy right now? Are you still smarting from the last time this happened? How do you deal with the sting of someone else finding your errors? Share in the comments below.