Autocorrect and Anatomies of Typographical Errors

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing, Roller Coaster, Touchwood

Cover, Touchwood by Karin Kallmaker

I’m always delighted to have older books reach new readers in new ebook editions.

It’s even better to hear from those readers that the stories still speak to them about love and life. The story is what came out of my creative energy and muse and the synergy of working with an editor.

It would not be the book that it is if I’d not had the expert and caring advice of Katherine Forrest and Christi Cassidy as editors.

This month my second novel, Touchwood, is available again in print and finally in digital formats by Bella Books. It may be that the intergenerational love story turned off a lot of potential readers back in 1991 as it is my least popular book in terms of sales. Of those who have read it, though, it is nearly always one of their absolute favorites. It’s good to see it again with new cover art and off in a new life.

Digital Glitchery

One frustration with the new digital editions is the inconsistency of the digital reader platforms and finding that, in spite of all the proofreading and care by yours truly and publishing staff, one version for one device no longer has any blank spacing, not between scenes or at the beginnings of chapters. Page numbers are suddenly embedded mid-paragraph and so forth.

A file can be fine when it last leaves my hands and turn out just right for several formats. How can one format go ga-binga? And then if a reader uses Calibre to transfer a format that can introduce a lot more visual errors–or it can go perfectly. I’m glad I’m not the person in control of the specifications!

Finally I Can Fix that Typo!

On the list of things I can control is finally getting to correct a mistake I’d made in Touchwood after all these years. When I wrote the book there was a little known to Americans flavoring agent called balsamic vinegar. Sacramento circa 1988… No Internet. Balsamic wasn’t carried in grocery stores. I’d only heard it said aloud on cooking programs of the day. It sure sounded delicious and was a good way to add aroma and flavor to a few sentences about a meal. I couldn’t find it mentioned in magazines I skimmed at the library.

Now if I’d asked a librarian I might have found what I needed, but my recollection is that I searched French cookbooks and finally found one that had a salad dressing in it that contained “balsalmic” vinegar. Flash forward to today and nobody uses plain old vinegar in dressings anymore (okay, maybe some do). Everybody uses balsamic. Fifty-year-old balsamic is one of the foods of the gods.

So twenty years later I finally got to correct balsalmic to balsamic. There were a few other little typos in the original book from Naiad Press and I fixed those as well. I hope that the process of scanning it didn’t introduced any new ones. *crossing fingers*

Thanks, Autocorrect

I have, however, encountered a brand new frustration with the joys of technology with my latest book, Roller Coaster. In it I incorporated a French phrase that is fairly well known. Not being a French speaker, I found the phrase in several sources, compared them, and since they were all the same as far as accents and spelling, I carefully typed it into my document.

Enter Autocorrect, which transformed rien into rein. I didn’t notice when it happened and so of course it made it into the final book. Dagnabbit!

My current work-in-progress has a number of foreign phrases in it, in a couple of different languages, so I’ll be watching you, Autocorrect. I’d turn you off, but you are useful for fixing my tagneld figners on common words like thier and nad and miniumm.

Kitty on the Keyboard?

On the list of things an author can’t control is an error that jumped off the page as I thumbed through my copy of Roller Coaster. The mistake wasn’t in the final proof so had to happen when the file was being finalized for printing. It looks like a kitty left alone with the keyboard – and a hundred YouTube videos demonstrate how much kitties like that- decided to add three more characters to the middle of a word. No doubt these were very delicately chosen to create a brand new word the kitty found pleasing: maondke. The name of a lost love from the kitty’s fourth or fifth life? A foreign delicacy the kitty desires? Or was this a ghostly kitty sending a message from the beyond?

If anyone can interpret “ond” let me know. Meanwhile, enjoy the new edition of Touchwood and its balsamic vinegar.

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If you’ve been waiting for a signed copy of Touchwood, you can order one from my webstore. Media mail shipping is included.