I was struck with a thought this morning as the Dread Thingonomicon continues a stately glide through its final development pass.
There are typos and grammatical errors in this book. When the final development pass is complete, typos and grammatical errors will still lurk in the book.
If 99% of the words and grammar in the Dread Thingonomicon are correct, that means 1% are not. In a book of 267,467 words, that equates to 2,675 errors (or 5.6 errors on every page). If, horror of horrors, 90% of the words and grammar in the Dread Thingonomicon are correct, that means an eye-watering 26,748 errors (or 56.2 errors on every page) lurk in the text.
But here’s the thing. In virtually any other facet of life, a score of 99% (or 90%) would be seen as exceptional. If one of my sons told me they got 99% in an exam, I would be unlikely to tell him he could do better.
If I worked on the Dread Thingonomicon until it was free of errors, I would never release the book. It would languish for all eternity on my hard drive.
As publishers, designers and writers, we need to be okay with the concept of less than perfect. Perfection is an impossible standard; your creation will never be perfect. In that vein, regarding typos in the Dread Thingonomicon I’ve decided to be okay with jolly good. I’m not going to give myself a heart attack, stroke or aneurism trying to hunt down every last mistake. Instead, I’m going to do a jolly good job, hope there are under 3,000 typos, and then I’m going to publish.