While waiting for the dogs to find the perfect spot in the yard to fertilize, I checked my weather app on my phone to see when we could squeeze in our morning walk. The display promised no precipitation for the next sixty minutes. Interesting answer, I thought, as I wiped the accumulating rain off the screen.

Mistakes happen. But how many are too many?

My books pass through three levels of editors. Three. We aim to achieve the industry standard of no more than one error every 10,000 words. Is that good enough?

Reading the one error per 10,000 words, many of you think that’s proof of standards slipping. After all, books that have been around for decades don’t have that many errors.

Except that’s the reason. Their first editions had more errors, caught and corrected for subsequent editions.

My favorite example of this is the King James Bible printed in 1631. Exodus 20:14 read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Subsequent editions inserted the critical word “not.”

So other than standing in the rain, what started this strange pattern of thoughts? I retrieved my daily ration of one handful of M&M’s and found this:

quality control problem

Maybe Ron and Lavender ate that malformed M&M while sitting in the “prominent corner” of the Common Room, a challenging feat when it’s described as circular in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Books I’m Reading

Lisa Gardner: When You See Me

Lisa Gardner has long been one of my favorite thriller writers. Her tough-as-nails Boston Detective D D Warren is a superb crime fighter. Couple her with FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy, and they are unstoppable. But when they dig through the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness, they discover a disturbing piece of evidence. Flora Dane and Keith Edgar, two wildly unique characters created by Gardner in previous books, join the search for Ness’s darkest secret yet.

I’ve cracked through only the first couple of chapters and can’t wait to stay up way too late tonight to devour this book.

Amazon affiliate links result in a small commission to me, though they have no impact on your pricing.

Interesting Links

The Shortest Papers Ever Published—If you’ve ever had to read (or write) research papers for publications, you’ll appreciate the brevity of this article. How about a two sentence paper? Or two words? Or, my absolute favorite, a paper on “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment Of A Case Of Writer’s Block”—blank. Really.

Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club App—The popular actress built her wildly popular book club on Instagram, but has realized the same problem most people do about social media—you don’t own it and it can disappear without warning. To avoid losing your audience, you need to migrate them to newsletters (have you signed up for mine?), websites (welcome!), or apps (not yet). Witherspoon is migrating her content to her own app, though promising to stay active on Instagram as well.

Who owns the rights to Jack Ryan?—Tom Clancy created a memorable character when he wrote The Hunt for Red October. Numerous sequels, movies, and even a TV series centered around the CIA character. Unfortunately for Clancy (and now his widow), that first book was published by the US Naval Institute. What followed over the years of changing legal entities and publishing, movie, and TV contracts leaves a muddled trail. A tangled court case is wrestling with a huge financial decision—who owns the rights to the character?

Gratuitous Dog Picture

Seems like all our friends around the globe are dealing with nasty weather this week. In our case, it’s rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. In our usual way, we continue doing our twice daily walks even though we get soggy wet, but we don’t get lots of other outdoor time. Roscoe watches the rain fall and wonders when it’s going to end.

Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and may you have a terrific President’s Day today. Just two more weeks of February. Spring is coming. Hang in there!

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  1. Jean Burkhardt on February 15, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I know the feeling Roscoe-so many of us cannot wait for nice weather and Spring! Rain-snow-ice-we are so over them!!!

  2. Debbie and Ruby on February 15, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Oh Roscoe, I agree with you. I would just like to see the sun. Looking at about a foot of snow this whole week. Maybe M&M’s would help!!

  3. Don Baker on February 16, 2021 at 9:18 am

    When commercial publishers started trying to reduce costs, the first people they cut were the copy editors and it shows.

    • D.K. Wall on February 16, 2021 at 9:54 am

      True particularly in the media markets. Saw a report a few months ago about how editing works so differently today at the big newspapers because the layers have been removed. A guy created an account on Twitter just to tweet mistakes he finds in the New York Times.

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