An incredibly awkward way to go about a straight forward process… but at least they arrived at the right conclusion…
The very first edition of this book was rife with errors. Only a few technical errors, but plenty of spelling, grammar, and formatting issues. Isn’t that what the editing process is for? It sure is. We didn’t skip that part either, it’s just that we didn’t take it seriously enough. We relied on friends, family, and ourselves to read through the book, catch errors, and provide notes. We are hugely grateful for their help, because without it, that first edition would have been much worse.
After the release, emails started coming in pointing out problems. These emails were responded to as promptly and nicely as possible. People that take the time to report problems are excellent customers and responding to their emails with the utmost respect will hopefully keep them that way. Thanks to all of the editing help we received from many generous people, the next update produced a much higher quality, more accurate book.
At first, we tried responding to errata emails as they rolled in – checking and fixing errors sort of on the spot. With everything else going on, we soon decided to automate and simplify the errata process as much as possible. Our errata system is now threefold: 1) setup an official Errata & Changelog page to help streamline communique, 2) tag incoming errata email as such, and 3) check & fix all errata at the same time, during book updates. This system helps to save time by keeping things streamlined, efficient, and thorough.
After putting up the Errata submission page, we encouraged people to use it. Later, when the print book came out, we gave folks that did the most work in finding errors free copies.
With each update, the accuracy of the book continues to improve. At first, we were inundated with editing woes, but I think we reacted well to the the situation and ended up with a solid book that continues to evolve. Looking back, we probably should have been more thorough with the initial editing process.
Takeaway: Pay for a real editor.
Altogether, an interesting bit about the pros and cons of self publishing… http://digwp.com/2011/03/what-we-learned-publishing-digging-into-wordpress/