April 23, 2013
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Tips for Creative Types


(This page of text — which I have not closely examined for copy-edits — comes from The Smithsonian.)

I like things to be spelled correctly.   I like it when there’s subject-verb agreement.  I like not having to strain through punctuation errors when I read a book.

But do you know what?

If I get an e-mail from an author that says:

“Gina, was that interveiw at 9am EST?  It’s 9:15 and I still haven’t heard from them!”

Or an e-mail from a reviewer that says:

“I loved Astronaut Acadamy: Re-Entry — thanks for sending me a copy!  Can I do an interview with Dave?”

Or a manuscript submission where I read through the first two chapters of the book and find that one time, the author spelled ‘and’ as ‘nda.’

I don’t get upset.

Mostly, I don’t even notice.

Working in publishing, we at First Second spend all day staring at text.  Some days, I write multiple pages of copy, compose several letters, and send out hundreds of e-mails.  I hope I spell the book titles correctly 100% of the time.  Otherwise?  My subject/verb agreement starts getting a little shaky after e-mail 60 of the day.

You’ve probably seen something from me with a typo in it (like this blog, which I’m sure is riddled with typos).

Here at First Second, we do our very best to make sure that the books we publish have no typos in them.  We do this by reading and re-reading the designed manuscript, employing a copy-editor to read it, making the author reads it, and re-reading and re-reading after each new design pass with corrections.

That’s pretty important to us.

But we don’t put every e-mail or note we write through that same rigorous copy-editing process — what’s important there is the communication, not the spelling (though obviously we try to do our best on both fronts).

This is to say: if you sent us an e-mail and realize after you hit the ‘SEND’ button that there was a typo — don’t worry.  We’ll understand.  We do that sometimes, too.

(And while you’re at it, try to refrain from sending an e-mail saying, ‘OMG, most horrible typo ever, I am the WORST!’ unless the typo actually impedes us from correctly understanding your e-mail.)

One Comment on “ Words Cannot Express How Much I Don’t Care If You Write ‘It’s’ When You Mean ‘Its’ Every So Often in Your Casual Uncopyedited Writing or Correspondance Even Though You Know Better ”

  • Mary Pearson | April 23rd, 2013 6:38 pm

    Thank you. I don’t apologize for mistakes in casual correspondence but must admit I am secretly mortified with blunders like their/there mix-ups when I KNOW the difference. Sometimes I’m afraid my typing fingers are on auto-pilot and trying to bypass my brain.

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