Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why I hate pee-pee

Maybe it's a story all authors are familiar with at some point in their careers. I don't know. I just didn't think it would be this early in mine. I guess for lack of a better phrase, I'll just call it the "Lost Edit." Sounds kind of ominous, doesn't it? Well, here's the story.

As some of you may know, I published The Missionary Position in late June to Amazon's Kindle, and then on Smashwords for multiple eBook platforms. It was a fine and decent 'product,' but I recognized it could use some improvements when I had the time to make them. But time was a mysterious anomaly at that point in my life. I understood it existed, but only in the abstract and then only for those souls fortunate enough not to be bogged down in the same quagmire of study as myself. That's how my first foray into publishing TMP went.

Funny how it's not until you're in the homestretch of a project that the glaring mistakes you were completely oblivious to before suddenly become glaringly obvious.  Prior to hitting the publish button for eBook platforms, all seemed fine. Then I pressed the button and BAM! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a tense issue - a past tense/future tense conflict. Maybe not a big deal to some, but it bothered the hell out of me and I knew I'd have to fix it before the print edition came out.

Fast forward to August. I should have been studying for my Comprehensive Exams in anticipation of finishing my Master's degree. But I really wanted to get the print edition of TMP published sooner rather than later, so I poured myself into it at the risk of floundering on my Exams. Distracted as I edited? Probably, yes. Did I do as good a job as I would have done if I'd waited until after exams and didn't feel the pressure of other responsibilities tugging at my coattails? Probably not.

And so came the pee-pee. I shake my head as I think about it even now. Poor old Monk. Why did I ever make him say it? It was fine in the initial draft and publication. Yes, the language was coarser (he said "dick" instead of "pee-pee", if you're wondering because you read an earlier draft), but in a moment of doubt over who knows what, I changed the wording in an edit with the mindset that I'd let it sit and then come back and read it over again later (before publication) to see if it resonated okay.

Well, exam time came and I got rushed. By this time I'd completely forgotten about the pee-pee change, and the next time I read over the passage was when the book was published in paperback form...

...and, no, "pee-pee" didn't resonate.

Shit. That was my initial thought. Four letters that pretty much summed up how I felt about pee-pee. I guess it's quaint since both belong in the toilet. There it was, set in print forever. Now I've got a three-year-old's version of what he calls his junk in my book. Worse, I did a blind edit where I took the print edits and put them into the eBooks for updates. Now EVERYONE's got pee-pee in their books.

You're welcome, readers. You're welcome.