Thursday, December 15, 2022

Every writer's worst nightmare

A post just came across the Love Inspired writer's forum as follows, in which an author experienced every writer's worst nightmare:

"So my upcoming release has a significant error in it right at the end. I actually killed someone and then have him standing trial a few pages later. It's a BIG mistake that no one caught. I've already gotten dozens of emails through my website and the book doesn't even release until the end of January. I know once it does, I'm going to get bombarded with emails and messages. Ugh!

"Have any of you found a brilliant way of responding to this? I'm already dreading the 'yes, I'm aware/sorry about that' apology tour that's coming my way."

Somehow this error escaped all the editorial filters on the way to production. Every last person responding to this author is wincing in sympathy and offering examples of their own mistakes that ended up in print.

That's why I'm not giving out the author's name or book title. I don't want to make her situation worse. But yowza, she has my sympathy. There but for the grace of God....


  1. Easy was not a mistake as obviously the character didn't really die. The circumstances of which will be fully explained in the forthcoming (and much anticipated) sequel.

    1. a la the Dallas Who killed J.R. plot.. it (or in this case,) or one part was just a bad dream.

  2. You probably have Don and Older Daughter pre-editing.
    That "standing trial" part should have been the Opening chapter readers get so often to tease them into buying the next book!
    That's an edit the publisher could do before printing. Especially since they fell down on the job. If not, it's an answer the writer could put forward. That the trial part was meant to go in the next book.
    Maybe something like that be done in such a way as to not step on sensitive toes.
    Weren't we hearing about publishing back logs not so very long ago? Maybe the release date will move forward for the fix.

  3. Can you make it a dream sequence?

  4. Yikes. Nothing but sympathy, Patrice.

    How is this handled, legally? Does the editing house have any responsibility? Sounds fatal enough to cause the release to be held.

  5. I always enjoy, when I find a mistake in a novel. Blue-eyed heroine suddenly has brown eyes, Susan is Sarah at chapter 14, dead men walking etc.

    Once I had a book where some bages were upside down! It was old one, I assume it is not possible in modern printing system, since everything happens in computer.

    So no worries, dear writers. Real bibliofils love all that. After all, the most valuable old books (and stamps) for collectors are the ones with some mistake in it.

  6. The author should make it a contest. She could say she was making sure everyone was on their toes and the first reader to inform her of the issue gets $100. Win for everyone!

  7. Don't mean to be harsh, but as a former book editor: HOW DUMB ARE THESE PEOPLE? that's just truly ridiculous negligence.

  8. I think maybe there should be volunteer groups for pre publishing reading of books. Those who do it for work 40 or 50 hours a week likely go into a daze at some point and miss things.

  9. imo - mistakes happen. o well. I've enjoyed your books so much that I have the new one on pre-order. And i've gotten hooked on the Inspired Suspense K-9 series. I'm into my second series there and loving it. Thanks for introducing me to this side of Harlequin
    Keep writing!! SJ now in California

  10. Hmm...I like the twin idea above or maybe a faked death or...a ghost trial! A trial in Heaven? Or Hell? Surely there is a save here. 😂