PG asks an additional question – Do typos in indie-published books matter?
From Fast Company:
A few months ago, I posted a question on LinkedIn: “If someone who is not a professional writer has a couple of typos in their resume, why does that speak to anything more than being human?” 1,270 comments later, it’s abundantly clear to me that people have some pretty strong opinions about this.
The reason I brought it up is because I’ve read thousands of resumes while hiring for my company, and every so often I’ll catch a typo, which plenty of hiring managers and recruiters have told me is a pretty big red flag. For many, a single typo is an automatic veto. If someone isn’t going to pay attention to details here, the logic goes, where else won’t they pay attention?
“It’s a total disqualifier for me,” one user wrote. “I am always interested in candidates who are willing to put that degree of effort into the detail of their work.”
“Warrants a giant red X,” declared another.
“I asure you that I have the rite skills, kwalifications and ecksperience to add valew to the bisiness,” a third cheekily weighed in.
After reading through hundreds of the comments that poured in on LinkedIn–including plenty that were more generous-minded than these–I’m still not convinced that a resume typo is as a big a deal as it’s sometimes made out to be. Let me explain.
. . . .
Looking for a job is a daunting task. You usually have to apply to dozens of jobs to get a single interview, but you’re also told that every resume and cover letter has to be personalized to each company. And that’s just table stakes. This means that in between your current job (if you’re lucky enough to have one), you also need to think and perform at the level of a professional writer while looking and applying to open positions.
You don’t have to bemoan that challenge as categorically “unfair” (which I don’t, by the way) in order to see hiring managers’ one-strike policy as a little extreme. “[Typos] are unacceptable,” one commenter averred. “They create an impression the applicant does not care.”
But is that impression accurate?
. . . .
This might’ve made sense around 1985, but we’re now in a world where much of our work output is digital, where websites and even social media posts (Twitter being a silly exception), are editable. The ubiquity of the “edit” button is a humane concession to life in an attention economy where attention spans themselves are fleeting. It’s an acknowledgement that speed and the ability to multitask are the most critical skills.
Being responsive–and knowing how and when to revise or update your work–is the better test of someone’s “attention to detail” than getting everything perfect the first time.
. . . .
The fact is that not everyone has the money or time to spare to give their applications an expert-level polish–but they’ll almost certainly be competing against candidates who do.
Link to the rest at Fast Company
PG notes that in 1985, he was using WordPerfect (may it rest in peace) in his law office. He is pretty certain that a separate spell-check program was necessary in the WP 4.0-4.1 era and checking for spelling errors was definitely part of PG’s workflow for creating documents.
With automatic spell-checking programs available (even unavoidable) everywhere in 2018, PG thinks a typo (which was a no-no that required retyping a résumé – by hand – in the 1970’s) may say something about a contemporary job applicant’s overall tech savvy and social awareness in addition to the applicant’s basic writing skills.
The OP says, “The ubiquity of the ‘edit’ button is a humane concession to life in an attention economy where attention spans themselves are fleeting.” But doesn’t a typo indicate a problem with recognizing the need to use the edit button which is something other than making a typo and quickly correcting it?
What are you hiring an applicant for? Is a keyboard involved in the job?
Is the applicant’s attention span important for her/him to do the job?
Is there a reason why the applicant would have been unable to use one of the ubiquitous spell-checking tools in creating the résumé?
(PG will admit that, while he still likes to see the accent marks in résumé, the absence of those characters on a contemporary English-language keyboard make resume an acceptable substitute. Résumé would give an applicant a couple of bonus points if PG were involved in the hiring decision, however.)
Perhaps PG (who works in a profession where a single word can make a big difference) is being too picky. He can certainly imagine applicants for some jobs with excellent talents beyond writing (artists and some types of engineers, for example) who shouldn’t be automatically excluded by a typo in the résumé, but it would not be possible for him to forget the typo during an interview with that applicant.
However, back to his question at the top of this post – Does a typo in an indie-published book matter? If an author gets 79,999 words right and one word wrong, is that acceptable? Ten words wrong? Twenty? Will references to it show up in Amazon reviews?
Or is it something readers will not care about or overlook?