Set aside one edition, slap a huge MASTER COPY label on it, and in it, in red, note all of the errors, typos, phrases that could be improved, ideas that might be inserted, structural changes that subsequent editions need, and so on. Then, a couple of months before you sell the last of the first-run copies, make the changes and modest design switches in the second edition. Keep asking others how the book could be improved in the next printing. No book ever sees print life without a flaw, so the master copy lets you gather all of the improvements in one place when it’s time to upgrade the second-run manuscript. It also helps you get those flaws out of your mind while you bask in the miracle at hand—a book you actually wrote and produced.
(When I was half my age and even fuller of puff I self-published The Query Book, my first. Despite the fact it was ugly and too large, I was super proud that it had no errors in it. In a workshop months after its release someone asked me how they could be sure that their book had no errors in it. I explained about getting a proofreader, then added, “Of course you can always send a copy to your smartest cousin and tell her that you’ll pay her $1 for every legitimate error or typo she finds in your book.”
Five days later I got a tongue-in-cheek letter from one of the attendees saying that, to her regret, she wasn’t my cousin [nor very smart] but if she were I would owe her $9. Then she listed nine errors in the book! Loose-lipped pride before the fall. I sent her a check for $6 and a blank certificate bestowing SMARTEST COUSINSHIP on her. Three of the “errors” weren’t, just different synonyms than she would have used, but the other six were indeed corrections, though none in spelling. Thus my master copies were born—and a pinch of humility was temporarily injected.)
Incidentally, if you are selling e-books and they are being digitally downloaded from your shopping cart system as they are bought, should errors be brought to your attention, you can correct the file immediately and repost it for delivery in its new format within minutes. Is all of this important? You bet. Experts are judged on every facet of their supposed expertise. It dims the light when others describe you as “pretty smart but can’t write (or spelle) worth a dam.” It’s an unneeded distraction that costs you in confidence and referrals.
[This blog is a modified excerpt from my 1/08 newsletter called “Writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers: How to Create Your Own Highly Profitable Empire!” Please check here for more information about the free monthly newsletter, plus the three free writing- and publishing-related reports that are immediately available with the no-charge subscription.]