Ah, typos. I don’t know how you infect my writing. But you do.
If you look carefully, you’ll notice that I didn’t write any of them.
I once wrote a post about commonly misspelled words… and misspelled words. That was me, DONE!
After a copywriter I respect was regularly pointing out typos on this blog, I admitted that I needed help. So now, my copywriting gets proofread. Client work. Blogs. Email marketing. If more than one person (me) is going to read it, it gets proofread.
But then I start fiddling about (usually with my own marketing). I’m a copywriter. I can’t help it.
A new sentence here, a few adjustments there and BOOM, typos.
I think my fingers have a mind of their own. And they don’t like me.
Is it nice up there?
I know what it’s like seeing typos in other people’s work; our shoulders straighten a little as the corners of our mouth lift into a smirk.
Hmph. Incorrectly placed apostrophe. LOSER.
The moral high ground is secure.
But what’s your responsibility here? Should you point typos out?
Some people feel it’s inappropriate to point out typos. Like pointing out someone else’s shit parenting.
I love the Polish saying that translates to, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. In other words, not my problem. But that’s not how I feel about typos.
I want to be told but there are ways to point out typos and ways NOT to point out typos.
I’ve been told that as a copywriter I should be ashamed of any typos I allow to be published. That as a copywriter, my work should be flawless.
Comments like that make me feel like shit.
On the flip side of that scenario, a blog subscriber recently contacted me to let me know about two errors in the presentation slides for one of the bonus videos. (That’s right, when you subscribe you get my copywriting cheat sheet and three videos explaining my top three tips… but I digress.)
It was a wonderful email. It was polite and friendly. The overall content was praised, the production was praised and the specifics of the typos pointed out. Sure, I was cringing but I didn’t need to sit in my car and cry about it.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I am not perfect. When I write I am a flurry of ideas and words, scrunched-up paper and Post-it notes. I type so fast that keys have actually sprung off my keyboard in protest. I make mistakes but I do my best to minimise them.
How to point out typos
Calling out typos on social media is the equivalent of laughing and pointing like Nelson on The Simpsons. Even if you have the best intentions, it makes you look like a jerk.
Seriously. You’ve had a snicker at the blatantly wrong spelling, punctuation or grammar. You may have even shown it to someone close by so you could share a laugh. It’s okay. We’ve all done that.
But when you’re actually contacting the author, hop down from the moral high ground and be nice about it. They’ll appreciate it a lot more and you’ll feel like you’ve actually helped someone (rather than knocking them down a peg or two).
Being told you have a typo is bad enough but not being able to find the typo is torture! Pointing the author towards the actual error is a great help.
People make mistakes. Forgive them.
Editing your own work is hard.
And you might not be right. We all make mistakes!!
How do you do it?
I polled my buddies on Facebook, Twitter and Google + and it seems that most people would let the author know, privately, and want to be told, privately.
So what say you, good reader?
Do you let people know they have typos? How do you do it?
Do you want to be told?
Let me know!